Roseval was named the best Paris restaurant of 2013 by Le Fooding. I always take these awards with a grain of salt, but needless to say, it has been on my list of Paris restaurants to visit for a while, but between time in the United States and life, I didn’t get there until recently. The reservations were made weeks in advance, and once the day arrived, along came a small stomach virus for me. I debated canceling, but only for a brief moment. I’m sure it will pass, I thought. No more delays. So I ventured to the 20th Arrondissement—where there’s been a slow influx of cutting-edge chefs setting up shop to avoid the high rents in the center of town and to try something different.
Roseval is set on a quiet corner, just off the bustling rue de Ménilmontant and across from the beautiful Notre Dame de la Croix Church. The restaurant is tiny, with just a handful of tables wedged together beneath exposed brick and wooden beans. The service was friendly, including dish delivery and explanation by the young, handsome English chef Michael Greenwold, who created the restaurant with Simone Tondo. While young in years, both have done time in notable Paris restaurants like Rino and le Chateaubriand.
The menu was a no-choice four-course tasting menu that began with a bang. Mussels were arranged with chewy croutons in a sweet onion and lemongrass broth that I was sure would cure anything that ailed me. We flagged down a waiter halfway through the dish to ensure we had enough bread to soak up the amazing citrus sauce. A crisp, lean white fish arrived next on a bright green bed of parsley purée that again had us fighting over bread to enjoy every last taste on the plate. We moved into the meat category with a rare duck served with a mix of sautéed mushrooms, homemade cheese and flakes of seaweed. It had all the flavors I like in a dish with umami, sweet and salty notes.