Though there are quite a few places where you can get sushi to go—or on a conveyor belt—I’ve struggled to find good-quality Japanese cooking at a Paris restaurant. So it was with jubilation that I accepted an invitation to a fairly new Japanese restaurant in the 16th Arrondissement called Kura.
Sleek dark wood covers the floor, tables and armless cushioned chairs. There is a counter with a view of the small open kitchen if you’d like to watch the live action, or you can sit in the Japanese-screened back room if you have a large group or want some privacy.
Lunch offers several menus of sushi, sashimi, fish and meat options, all in the above-20-euros range. Dinner is more serious business, with a 55 euro chef’s menu that drops to 45 euros on Sunday nights. You can order à la carte at dinner, but if you’re going to have at least two courses, it makes more sense to order the menu.
I went to Kura on a Sunday night, a notoriously difficult evening to find a proper meal in Paris, let alone a Japanese one. I ordered the chef’s menu, which started with a seafood amuse-bouche filled with an overly creamy salmon salad. I relaxed upon receiving a large plate of carpaccio of barbus, a flat sea fish, drizzled with sweet miso. The fresh seafood kept coming, with several generous pieces of tuna and daurade sashimi. The fish was all top notch.
We then had a choice of mains, and I opted for the recommended lamb chops. They proved to be juicy and flavorful, and a nice transition after the courses of fish. We weren’t done yet, though: oddly, a miso soup followed. I had never seen soup served after an entree, but it did cleanse my palate and primed me to re-enter the world of fish, now with pieces of tuna, salmon and daurade. Though I was a little perplexed by the serving order, I found the nigiri a lighter, more refreshing way to finish the meal than the meat.