Fulgurances, Paris |A Consistently Delicious Showcase for New Gastronomic Talent, A-/B+

July 7, 2016

Fulgurances - facade with flowers on balcony

The superb modern Franco-Israeli cooking currently being served (until November 2016) by Israeli born chef Tamir  Nahmias at the restaurant Fulgurances in eastern Paris proves that the most important recent gastronomic development in the city is its emergence as the world’s premier culinary talent cluster. To wit, in the same way that ambitious young computer engineers and software developers head for the Silicon Valley in California, Paris has emerged as the quintessential venue for talented upcoming chefs from all over the world.

The ever accelerating internationalization of the city’s culinary talent pool has not only renewed the gastronomic  pre-eminence of the French capital in the 21st century, but the trend has also made Paris an edgy and profoundly original place to eat. And perhaps the best news of all is that this fresh talent is adding a new layer to a gastronomic landscape that may never have been as rich with possibilities, since the spectrum of choices in Paris, from proudly traditional bistros to intriguingly avant-garde pop-ups is unique for a major European city.

Fulgurances - Tamir Nahmias

Tamir Nahmias

Tamir Nahmias is a perfect example of the young talent migrating to Paris. He worked for three years as second to Gregory Marchand at Frenchie, and also cooked with Adeline Grattard at Yam’Tcha and Pascal Barbot at L’Astrance. And now he’s in Paris to stay, because, he explains, “It’s the most exciting place to cook in the whole world, both in terms of the sophistication of the restaurant-going public and their openess to innovation, but also the quality of the produce, the gastronomic culture of France, and the spectacular community of chefs in the city.”

With this background, Fulgurances, which was opened last October by Hugo Hivernat, Sophie Coribert and Rebecca Asthalter, the same team that publish the gastronomic review of the same name, is the ideal transitional setting for Nahmias as he prepares to open a restaurant of his own sometime later this year (in French, a fulgurance is like a lightning bolt, or a revelation). Nahmias’s stint running the kitchen here–Fulgurances works on the basis of a six-month showcase, allows him to refine his impending menu and also build a clientele before he hangs out his own shingle.

Fulgurances grilled octopus 2

On the basis of the 44 Euro prix-fixe dinner I enjoyed at this charming restaurant the other night, the inhabitants of the 11th Arrondissement–Nahmias plans to stay in the neighborhood, are going to be very lucky indeed, because his very personal metissage of the Israeli and French kitchens is stunningly good and perfectly calibrated. Since I love the big bold flavors of all the kitchens of the eastern Mediterranean–Turkish, Syrian, Lebanese, Israeli and Egyptian, I worried they might be toned down too much here in deference to the perceived timidity of the French palate. Happily, almost every dish we tried preserved the integrity and authenticity of Israeli food at the same time it endowed it with a winsome refinement and casual elegance.

Fulgurances - Tamir Nahmias - Beans and cherries

Fulgurances beet pureeNahmias’s prix-fixe evolves regularly but begins with a series of mezzes that included the night we were there a supremely tender grilled octopus tentacle with a griddle lemon and some Israeli ketchup; green beans with cherries, almonds and fresh herbs–a wonderfully summery combination; and a superb hazelnut and za’atar garnished beet-and-yogurt puree.

Fulgurances - red mullet and white asparagus

Fulgurances cumin-braised lam with wheat and lentilsGarnished with a light vinaigrette and capers, grilled white asparagus and red mullet with salad was a pleasant dish, but the stand-out among the main courses was a luscious cumin-scented roasted shoulder of lamb served on a bed of wheat berries and green lentils. The tender meat was wholly redolent of the spices in the glaze that glossed it, and fresh herbs, including mint and parsley, and some appealing freshness.

Fulgurances - apricot tart

An outstanding selection of natural wines by the glass was served with our meal, which concluded with a beautifully made apricot tart, and over coffee, I couldn’t help but reflecting that aside from Nahmias’s brilliant cooking, the other reason I’d enjoyed this meal so much was the warmth, professionalism and enthusiasm of everyone who works here. What Hivernat, Coribert and Asthalter have done is unlace the corset of aloofness that too often afflicts young restaurants in Paris, with the result that the ambience in this casual dining room is a reflection of the fact that their customers are warm and contented. It was also clear that this table has become a neighborhood favorite, which creates a good demographic ballast for the kitchen to work with.

Fulgurances is a delightful restaurant, to which I look forward to returning for Nahmias’s cooking before he opens his much anticipated new place, and for the pleasure of discovering the chefs who follow him. It’s also one of the best value meals in Paris right now.

10 rue Alexandre Dumas, 11th Arrondissement, Paris, tel. (33) 9-81-09-33-32, Metro: Rue des Boulets, Open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, Closed Sunday-Tuesday, 19, 22€ lunch menus, 44€ dinner menu, www.fulgrances.com

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  • Richard Ulevitch

    Wanted to follow up. Exellent mean (food, ambiance, service) in September with Tamir Nahmias cooking. Will be there again in December but with a new (to be announced) chef. Definitely will provide comments after next meal at Fulgurances.