When I heard that Lorenzo Sciabica, the chef at the new Italian restaurant Pastore (“shepherd” in Italian, located on Rue Bergère, “shepherd” French), in Paris’s ninth arrondissement, had formerly worked at Osteria Ferrara, owned by one of my favorite Italian chefs, Alberto Ferrara, I hastened to book a table there.
It felt like a good decision as soon as we walked in and saw the clean, stripped-down decor, with marble tabletops set with real napkins and knife rests (classy touches often absent in reasonably priced Paris restaurants), with a few splashes of color in the Tuscan-ocher designer chairs and yellow-painted posts.
The wisdom of the choice was further confirmed by two wonderful starters chosen from the short menu, served after an amuse-bouche of tasty focaccia with fantastic olive oil.
The deep-fried ricotta balls were light as a feather (unlike their more commonly seen cousin, mozzarella fritta), without the slightest trace of grease. They were paired with a luscious red-pepper sauce.
The fig salad came with tiny, flavorful yellow datterino tomatoes, which seemed to melt in the mouth. Also thrown into this delicious mix were an excellent feta cheese, toasted hazelnuts and mustard greens.
The main courses were just as well thought out and prepared. The spaghetone (fat spaghetti) with langoustine and friggitelli (sweet Italian chili peppers) was wonderfully rich and briny, with a generous helping of langoustine.
The homemade rabbit-stuffed ravioli with potato cream, olives, capers and tomatoes was pleasingly gamey.
The only non-pasta main course we ordered was lieu jaune (pollack) with perfect green beans and stuffed zucchini flowers, another total success.
The shared dessert, a walnut semifreddo with figs, caramelized apples and caramelized walnuts, was another stunner.