Since opening its doors last year, Neva Cuisine has been gaining rave reviews and a growing number of loyal converts. The Mexican-born chef Beatriz Gonzalez, along with partner and pastry chef Yannick Tranchant, turned the rather sleepy area of Quartier de l’Europe into an exciting destination for anyone craving a contemporary French meal.
Eighteen-year old Gonzalez arrived in France in 1999 to attend Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon. She spoke little French, but this didn’t deter her from taking in everything she could learn about French cuisine. Her early years saw her in the restaurant Carlton in Cannes in 2000 (then called La Belle Otero), and then joining the team of Lyonnais chef Pierre Orsi, building up the competences she needed to succeed in gastronomic cuisine.
After a brief sejour in Italy, she returned to France and worked at Senderens in Paris and later joined the Michelin-starred La Grande Cascade in Bois de Boulogne as sous-chef before making the decision to open her own restaurant.
Neva Cuisine’s menu, which changes at least one dish per week to keep the choices fresh for its patrons, focuses on traditional French cuisine. Gonzalez uses ingredients from France, showing her love for the French markets and utilizing the seasonal produce in her dishes. Desserts are prepared by co-owner Yannick Tranchant, a pastry chef also from La Grande Cascade, while her husband, Matthieu Marcant (also a trained chef) mans the front of the house. The modern and inventive dishes, priced reasonably for their high quality, were an instant success.
The restaurant’s ambiance is sober and chic, from the beautiful ceiling mouldings and Art Nouveau chandeliers to its parqueted floor. The food, though, is a huge contrast to the subdued surroundings. Each plate is a feast to the eyes and the palate: colourful, lively and rich.
The menu is a vast variety of anything you could be craving, from langoustine to Noix de Saint-Jacques. The ravioli entrée is light and tangy, stuffed with shrimp in a ginger-infused sauce. A must-try is the chef’s ris de veau, a sweetbread served with seasonal mushrooms. For fish lovers, the cod bursts with flavour while remaining a relatively simple dish, served with block of potatoes, dressed salad and a salsa in a little shot glass.
The servings are evenly portioned out and not very heavy, leaving enough room for Tranchant’s desserts. One of the most talked-about item on the dessert list is the deconstructed chocolate sphere, where a server pours warm chocolate over the sphere which melts to reveal a surprise. The surprise changes periodically: it could be a Belle Helene pear, pineapple confit or a scoop of ice cream, but whatever you get is a delight and certainly ends the meal with fireworks.
Judging from the number of newbies and regulars filling up the 40-seat bistro on a mid-week evening, it seems that word of Gonzalez’s inventive and modern take on the French classics has spread through the grapevine of Paris foodies, so don’t miss out on this gastronomic experience.
Fixed price menus are at 29€ and 37€, without drinks, and supplements may apply.
As of this moment of writing, Neva Cuisine’s website is not working, so reserve in advance by calling 33-1-45-22-18-91.