It has been close to three years since I was last in Japan, and I miss it dearly. Some say the best French food is in Japan, where Japanese chefs, with their obsessive attention to detail and quality, create masterpieces combining their French culinary training with Japan's abundant, diverse, and amazing produce. While there is certainly some truth to that, there are also many Japanese chefs who move to France, bringing a similar hybrid ethos but from a slightly different angle. In Paris, there are many, including 1-Michelin starred Restaurant Pages from Japanese chef-owner Ryuji Teshima.
Ryuji Teshima opened Restaurant Pages in 2014 with his pastry chef wife, Naoko. Before moving to France, Chef Teshima studied both culinary arts and wine service in Japan. Soon after, he moved to Epernay Champagne (Les Berceaux - 2 stars), before moving to Paris to work at Lucas Carton (1 star). His interest in meat brought him on yet another journey, working weekends at Hugo Desnoyer (famous butcher in Paris) to learn the art of dry-aging and cutting meat. Executive chef Kenichi Handa is chef de cuisine.
Our friend, a very well-traveled businessman who knows Paris like the back of his hand, chose this restaurant as a place for us to meet up. He was drawn to Pages because it reflected the Japanese French combination that many of us love.
Our meal began with unleavened bread. The server brought over some not-quite-yet-risen rolls.
"It will rise while you peruse the menus, then we will bake them!"
Soon afterwards, freshly baked bread arrived, along with a few other amuse bouches.
Degustation: the Tasting Menu
And thus began our evening degustation tasting menu from November 2021. The dinner tasting menu is 150€, while the lunch is 65€ for the normal lunch or 95€ for the lunch tasting. Special seasonal "add-ons" are available from time to time, such as truffle, caviar, or certain Wagyu beef.
Slightly torched scallops, celeriac, and a citrus leaf.
Bretagne lobster tail served with a brown butter sherry yellow wine from Jura.
Monkfish and cockles served with local lettuce in a fragrant dashi broth.
Have you ever seen such a perfectly seared pigeon? Likely due to it being grilled on the Binchotan (Japanese white charcoal grill).
Two different types of steak with a small waffle on the side. Though I can't exactly remember anymore which two we tried, I believe one was Japanese Wagyu.
Cheese + Desserts
A beautiful layered dessert consisting of hazelnut, coffee, jasmine coffee, and a coffee jelly served with a side of coffee ice cream.
Restaurant Pages - General Thoughts
It was a pleasant, enjoyable meal with friendly service and tasty food executed with precision. The food is decidedly more French than Japanese, though we could certainly see some influences. Portions are not small, and I was pretty stuffed near the end.
The exact details of the meal are now a bit foggy in my mind, but I distinctly remember that the service was very attentive and the food was executed well. No particular dish stands out in my mind (no crazy "wow" dishes), but everything was very nicely done. The restaurant certainly deserves its Michelin star.