Sous les Cerisiers : Franco-Japanese Fusion

Text: Brendan Seibel for Vingt

Considering the West’s proclivity toward drowning Asian dishes in salted sauces, the concept of Japanese-French fusion cuisine would probably drive many chefs to seppuku. Deftly ducking the perils of gastronomic disaster, Sous les Cerisiers sprinkles rather than smothers its lovingly prepared menu. While the delectable dishes may inspire the same empathy and sorrow of the fragile cherry blossom’s short lifespan the restaurant will endure the highly competitive Parisian gourmet scene through a combination of culinary craftsmanship, innovation and flair.

This careful balance of tradition and influence comes courtesy of Sakura Franck, a Japanese expatriate who traveled working the kitchens of the world before landing in Paris. Years of teaching honed her creativity, an occupation she continues to employ at Sous les Cerisiers today. Her comfort, respect and understanding of both cuisines is revealed in the menu. Dishes carefully marry the tastes of east and west, adorning the bright and clean flavors of her homeland with the vibrant sauces and ingredients of her adopted country.
At first glance the menu seems as small as the number of tables. However, the intriguing concepts of foie gras sushi and duck in sake sauce quickly appeals to the gastronomic heretic in all of us. Two giant prawns, stripped to the tail and laid in a light orange sauce, waltzed between the fresh flavor of the crustacean and the sweetness of the citrus. Steamed daurade was presented sans head, prepared in a traditional and unobtrusive Japanese fashion accompanied by rice. Dessert flipped the tables, the French stepping to the foreground with the Japanese as moral support. A rich moelleux au chocolat enjoyed the essence of the east through a sweetened green tea sauce.

Design and presentation are important to both the Japanese and French cultures. Franck collaborated with Norwegian designers Ralston & Bau to create a unique dining experience. Initially bright and open with broad windows, the room withdraws, growing softer. Intimate lighting creating the illusion of privacy without sacrificing space for partitions. Adding a little fun to the elegance is the use of opera costumes as decoration, both for seats at the rearmost table and along the front walls.
Due to the small size reservations are recommended. The bilingual staff provides formal service without rigidity, and Ms. Franck may step away from the stove to say hello. An expansive wine and sake list is complimented by what is probably Paris’ most comprehensive tea selection. Not an every night occasion but a unique experience in a crowded field, from the delicate fusion of flavors to the artistically designed dining room.

Sous les Cerisiers,12 rue Stanislas ,75015 PARIS, tel. 01.42.77.46.24,

Mē Montparnasse Bienvenue/Vavin/Notre-Dame-des-Champs

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