The Season in Your Mouth

For creative dishes in a relaxed, modern environment, Chamarré is the place to be. Its spacious interior is based around an elegant water-and-wood theme, with curvy, comfortable furniture in shades of slate and violet, blown-glass centerpieces resembling jellyfish and dreamy droplet chandeliers. But this isn’t “Enchantment under the Sea”—the decor is subtle enough to merely evoke a calming atmosphere, perfect for a quiet dinner for two.

The four-course lunch menu at 32 euros is both a treat and a deal, as the food reflects the season and satisfies without weighing you down. I was started off with an amuse-bouche of crème de carottes with a foie gras froth, which in its gentle and light butteriness was more an idea than anything else, like eating an idealized memory of the flavor of popcorn.

The starter course of the day was fresh mussels bathed in a warm sweet-potato soup. Hidden inside the savory sauce was the taste of summer, and with it the nostalgia or hope of a day spent seaside, all provided by yielding mussels. It struck me as an interesting idea for the last days of winter, looking toward the spring.

The bonus of this lunch formule was the presence of an extra main course. Why choose between fish or meat when you can have both? First there was a crispy baked hake featured in another transitional dish—the crunchy fish with wintry carrots united with flavors of Chinese grapefruit and spicy rocket to usher in a new season. Next up was the filet of duckling, well dressed in a beet and molasses sauce and encircled by roasted pumpkin squares and carpaccio-thin slices of radish over dots of what tasted like Sriracha sauce, which were welcome bursts of color in an otherwise dark dish.

52, rue Lamarck, 75018, phone: 01 42 55 05 42. Open daily, noon–2:30 pm and 7–11 pm

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