Everyone’s talking about Rino right now.
When I showed up last weekend, Rino was populated only by chef Giovanni Passerini, sommelier Pietro Russano, a cook and a half dozen diners. To be fair, the place only seats about 20 but given all the bandwidth of electronic praise it’s been receiving, I was surprised the place wasn’t packed.
Not that I minded.
A sucker for unusual sparkling rosés from the Loire, I said yes to an apertif and then considered the menu. The only real choice to make was between four or six courses. Six, please.
In short order, a parade of very pretty plates began. First was a fantastic escabeche of rouget with white asparagus, deliciously seasoned — I love a good use of bread crumbs — with a few leaves of tender mâche strewn here and there. I could have made a meal of the sardine ravioli in fennel consommé that came next, and a thick, trembling cut of cod with pil pil sauce and chard finished these fine fish courses. A sauceless but succulent duck breast came with roasted endive, the edges of the chicory caramelized, delicious.
The wine list is short, interesting, and full of bargains. The most expensive was €40 and we got it – a 1999 Valreas from Domaine de la Grande Bellane. Too much for the first few dishes, it was heavenly with the duck, not to mention the cheese course.
Dessert was a faux cheesecake that was light as air and heavy on the gelatin. I was more pleased by the blood orange financier served a few days later at lunch. Yes, I went back, girlfriends in tow, and as we were finishing the little cakes chef Passerini came out and asked if we might try the lemon tart he was working on. Of course we would.
“À bientôt,” he said to us on our way out, rightly confident that we would return.
Rino 46 rue Trousseau, Paris 75011, 01 48 06 95 85, open Tues-Saturday