By Elena del Valle
Photos by Gary Cox
A street view of Le Chiberta
It was lunch time on a quiet winter day when we first discovered Le Chiberta. As we entered the restaurant through twin glass doors we encountered welcoming faces. A young lady took our coats and within minutes we were seated at a comfortable corner table near the entrance, next to a window.
Although the simple decor in black and charcoal gray revealed little about the food we might expect we had high hopes for the restaurant, owned by Guy Savoy, one of the city’s best known chefs. In the past, we had dined at Restaurant Guy Savoy, the chef’s eponymous restaurant, with quite positive results and were looking forward to trying out Le Chiberta, a budget friendly alternative.
Our server Francois
We were the first guests to arrive at the restaurant with capacity for 80 situated in a quiet small street very near the famed Champs Elysees in Paris, France. Slowly others from near and far arrived. We shared our section of the dining room (there were several sections) with three tables of two and were looked after mainly by Francois, an English speaking server who was friendly and very helpful.
The artwork added texture to the decor
At our table the only decorations were the meal service and a simple steel colored salt and pepper set. While we awaited our lunch we observed the interior décor, which was somewhat similar to the familiar Guy Savoy sister restaurant. It was the work of Jean-Michel Wilmotte and was meant to emulate an informal club style. Across from our table there was an over large oil painting. We noticed bottle-lined walls in the adjoining dining room and hallway. These were understated and juxtaposed with contemporary works of art by Bertrand Lavier and Gérard Traquandi.
Champagne and amuse bouche bites
We began our lunch with a glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne. Soon two amuse bouche bites appeared and shortly after that a bread basket with two types of bread and Saint Malo seaweed butter arrived. We left our selections in the hands of the chef who delivered a well balanced and refined meal. He served: Amuse bouche Crème de carotte à la citronnelle-gingembre gambas rôtie aux épices douces; Terrine de foie gras de canard artichaut et figue royale de foie gras chutney de kumquat et mangue; Filet de daurade royale à la plancha écrasée de potimarron, salade amère jus au sarrasin; Suprême de colvert rôti, cuisse confite fricassée d’épinards, artichauts et trompettes de la mort jus salmis; Brie truffé et mascarpone salade de mâche; Tout clémentine; and Le cube chocolat-café. It was served with white: Beaune Longbois 2008 Domaine Berthelemot; Condrieu Chauson 2007; and Domaine du Monteillet, S Montez wines; and red wines: Château L’Argilus du Roi 2007 Saint-Estèphe and a dessert wine, Maury Mas Amiel vintage 2008.
The prawn and ginger carrot soup
The first course, a favorite and we learned after we finished every bite, one of the restaurant’s specialties, featured a carrot ginger soup in a glass bowl with a single prawn skewered by a lemon grass stick. The next course was foie gras with artichoke and fig in the middle, accompanied by warm foie gras cream served in a small glass with kumquat and mango chutney. There was additional chutney with a tiny bite of sweet tuille to accompany the dish; warm toast were served with it. It was served with a citrusy light white wine.
The dorade with mashed pumpkin
Dorade fish (a favorite) served with mashed pumpkin and a foam came next. It was accompanied by an oaky white wine. Wild duck from the forest served very rare with marvelous mushrooms and a little spinach came next. It was accompanied by a lovely 2007 Saint Estephe red. Truffled brie with home made truffle filling served with black truffle shavings and a salad of baby mache with a vinegar dressing was the perfect follow up to the wild duck. A tangerine palate cleanser followed the cheese and a wonderful chocolate cube and coffee ice cream dessert completed the meal. It was served with a velvety red dessert wine.
The chef at Le Chiberta the day we visited the restaurant
It can be challenging to find a satisfying meal without spending a fortune in that very touristy area of Paris. Le Chiberta, established in 2004, combined a desirable location with excellent food and attentive service in a pleasant setting. Kudos to Chef Guy Savoy and Stéphane Laruelle, Le Chiberta’s executive chef.
Le Chiberta (Le Chiberta, 3, rue Arsene Houssaye, 75008, Paris France, Telephone +33 1 53 53 42 00, Fax +33 1 45 62 85 08, www.lechiberta.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) is now part of very our short list of options anytime we are in the mood for well a prepared yet unpretentious meal in area of the Champs Elysees.