I'm always game for a new address, and when John Talbott wrote his highest rated review of the year and called this new table "some of the most interesting cooking since Ze Kitchen Galerie" and Condé Nast Traveller proclaimed Manger as the "best new restaurant in Paris", how could I resist?
Located in the same part of the gentrifying 11th as other foody shrines Septime and Bones, this long and lofty restaurant is spacious and luminous, the staff (many comprised of unemployed people learning the restaurant trade) friendly and welcoming, and the menu, from thirty something chef, William Pradeleix who worked with Darroze at the Connaught and at a Jean Georges outpost in Bora Bora, is nicely turned out, fresh innofensive food for the arty bobos that filled the dining room (3à something PR chicks giving the maitre d' the bise, 50 something photographer with his teenage Justin Bieber mopped stagiere in tow..). Apparently a few high ranking Michelin star chefs have given their input, the Plaza's Michelak has remote controlled the dessert menu, and produce is top notch, but it just didn't hook me: the daily starter of carpaccio of foie gras terrine with strawberries and tiny fava beans was, fine, but unremarkable, the foie gras just a touch boring, the mackerel with corn, mango and coriander served with a side of pilaf rice acceptable, but I just couldn't feel the whizz bang talent my esteemed colleagues detected. And although they are doing good things for people in need, I'm on ze fence with this one, and Pradeleix is no Ledeuil. Maybe they need a bit more time..