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"Everyone remembers their first taste of Paris. This will be his." - Author, Kristin Hannah

I've been telling my kid for years that one day, we were going to go to Paris together just to eat. Because Paris truly is a city for food lovers. And when we go, we are going to eat every crêpe, baguette, cheese, macaron, foie gras, pain au chocolate and croissant we could get our hands on. Yes, I realize I listed a lot of bread. Don't judge us. And this past New Years, that's exactly what we did - we went to Paris and ate all the bread, and all the cheese, and all the things. And it was glorious. Yes, I gained 10 pounds in 6 days, but I think that's a feat to be proud of!

For our first night in the City of Light, we made reservations at MONTÉE in the 14th arrondissement. This was 10-course, art-worthy dinner by Chef Takayuki Nameura. And. it. was. phenomenal.

The restaurant is small, elegant and very understated. Like a clean palette to let each of the dishes shine. The service was absolutely impeccable - attentive and friendly but not overbearing or stuffy.

At the start of the meal, you did receive a little menu that listed each course. But it was fairly vague and only listed a few key ingredients, so you weren't entirely sure what you were going to get. I usually don't like to look at the menu during a tasting menu, so I can experience the food without any prejudgement or bias. Just let every bite be an adventure for the senses, and then I can be honest with myself on whether I enjoyed the food or not. Once I finish a course, then I like to know what I ate, whether thats referencing a provided menu, or having someone from the wait staff provide you with details. I'll be the first to admit that I am no culinary expert, just a lover of food, so in all honestly sometimes I don't even know what the listed ingredients are.

For this course, there was a provided menu, so I did get to peek at it post finishing each course. But after the amuse-bouche, I was so excited about what was to come in the meal and so wrapped up in the experience of it all that I'd forget to take pictures of everything before diving in. Sorry, but also not sorry.

There was a few stand out dishes that I did not photograph, but were worth mentioning because in theory and by name, they were perfectly expected, like a Crab Avocado Roll, but the bit was like nothing you've ever had before. It had these varying textures that kind of surprised your mouth, yet flavors that so perfectly balanced and complemented each other. It was just a little morsel of a bite, but I could have eaten 50 more pieces. And this Foie Gras dish, served with sliced bananas, was absolutely drool-worthy. I would not have thought those two elements go together so elegantly, but the bananas helped complement the richness of the foie gras so well; every bite just melted in your mouth. It was exquisite.

But one of our favorite courses was dessert, pictured below. You really can't do dessert wrong, in my experience (which says a lot about how I feel about desserts), but this course was next level. It was unexpected, and so unique. The wait staff places a bowl in front of you and tells you this is Caramel Popcorn. Huh? It is indeed popcorn, which has been pulverized into this extremely airy and fine-textured powder. If you weren't careful and breathed directly on your spoon, the powder would fly off everywhere. Burried beneath the powder was little pieces of caramel, which you scooped up with a spoon. When eaten together, the textures were like nothing you expected. And then the combined flavor was exactly as the course is named. So delicious. So fun.

This meal was truly unforgettable. If you are looking for unique French meal with Japanese influences, then MONTÉE should not be missed. We are definitely going to have to plan a return visit (but also so we can eat all the bread, and all the cheese, and all the things!).

Contact info:

Restaurant MONTÉE


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