Pascade is a new Paris restaurant offering something a bit different. Opened in November by Michelin-two-star chef Alexandre Bourdas of Restaurant SaQuaNa in Honfleur, it presents everything in a sort of dish-shaped crêpe, called a pascade, that is traditionally served at Eastertime in Bourdas’s native Aveyron.
Located near the Place de l’Opéra, the restaurant makes a fine first impression with its starkly elegant decor. All the fittings seem to be custom-made; the cast-iron-edged dark-wood tables, for example, have holes cut into them, each of which holds a stainless-steel tube containing silverware and a napkin for each diner. And, instead of forcing customers to sit on stools at high tables, as so many recently opened Paris restaurants do, it offers a choice of high or normal tables (worth mentioning when you reserve if you have a preference).
The food was delightful all the way through, beginning with the bowl of bite-sized biscuits studded with bits of sausage, which we quickly gobbled up. I have only one complaint about those crêpes that the restaurant’s whole concept (or should I say gimmick) is based on. They are lovely and light and crispy, but they are sweetened, which works well with the desserts but is disconcerting when served with
savory dishes like my delicious and unusual lamb stew, accompanied by bok choy, fromage blanc, black cardamom and pomelos.
The ingredients in my companions’ main-dish pascades were equally interesting and flavorful. Chloe had the excellent steamed lotte (monkfish) with spinach, lime, coriander, lovage & coconut
foam. While it deserves the top rating of the three main courses, Nick’s dish of ham slices with sucrine lettuce, endives, céleri rémoulade, chicken broth, garlic and paper-thin slices of fried bread, was another winner.
As you can see from the above descriptions, the food at Pascade is inventive and flavorful. I plan to go back to try the original version of the pascade, with chives and truffled oil, that was a major hit at Bourdas’s Honfleur restaurant and inspired the idea for this one.
We shared two luscious desserts, both served in pascades, of course: a caramel, ice cream
and fresh passion fruit concoction topped with a fine chocolate-covered square cookie, and prunes in Armagnac with cream, nougatine and yuzu.
It would be nice if the chef decided to stop sweetening the savory crêpes, but even if he doesn’t, there is no need to eat them – their contents are perfectly satisfying on their own, and you’ll get the added benefit of fewer carbs. By the way, there is no division on the menu between starters and main courses. We found that one course per person was plenty, but hearty eaters could always order a second.
The staff at Pascade is wonderfully friendly and highly professional; you get the feeling that they are happy – even thrilled – to be working there. A special gold star for the sweet young woman who is perfectly bilingual in French and English.
The prices are fairly reasonable, and the hours (open in the afternoon and early in the evening) make it convenient for dropping in for a late lunch or for a pre- or post-theater dinner.