Sunday, September 27, 2009


KGB (kā'jē-bē') n. 1. The intelligence and internal security agency of the former Soviet Union.
2. Hot new restaurant in Paris’ 6th arrondissement.

While the Cold War references are hard to ignore, this KGB is a far cry from Russian intelligence. The K stands for Kitchen, the G for Galerie and the B for “Bis,” which, in French, means the annex to an address (“13, bis” would be the equivalent of apartment “13A” in English for example). This offshoot of William Ledeuil’s Michelin-starred Ze Kitchen Galerie, is just down the street from its mother restaurant on the quaint rue des Grands Augustins in St Germain-des-pres. The restaurant features Ledeuil’s famously fabulous cooking – think: modern French cuisine with an Asian twist – only in a more relaxed, casual setting with more relaxed, casual prices to match. The KGB also offers “zors d’oeuvres,” small tapas based on the chef’s daily whims to sample before the main courses arrive. Some recent favorites have been a langoustine thai broth with shellfish, a cream soup with mushrooms, raw black tiger shrimp with ginger and radishes, a lamb croquette and a beef ravioli. The bite-sized portions are enough for just one mouthful, but a great way to sample a variety of textures an flavors before the main event begins. While the new spot has only been open for a few weeks, the KGB has already changed its menu to gear up for the changing season. The chef offers a market special every night based on the freshest ingredients of the day – last night was a pan-fried red mullet fish served with delectable vegetables and citrus fruits. Cod, rabbit, lamb and squid tempura are among this month’s entrees. Many of the main courses are served in piping hot “cocottes,” ceramic pots offering one-dish wonders to regale your taste buds. Make sure to save room for the adventurous, and always delicious desserts – poached pear with curcuma and a white chocolate-peppermint ice cream or roasted figs with cherry ice cream, for example – which are très petit, but the perfect way to end the meal with a small sweet note. A few “zors d’oeuvres,” an entrée, a dessert and a glass of wine will cost you around 50 euros per person, a small price to pay for one of the tastiest, most interesting meals the city has to offer. The chef’s last name “Ledeuil,” in French means “mourning” and, when you walk out the door after dinner, you’ll be mourning the end of one of the best meals you’ve had in awhile. Make sure to reserve ahead – though the KGB just opened, it’s already packed every night. If you’re six or more, ask for the chef’s table in the back of the room, which offers a more private, “VIP” dining space. A Michelin-starred chef, a trendy yet relaxed décor, delectable cuisine and not-so-lavish prices (all around the corner from chez moi, may I add)? I can’t KGBelieve it !

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