Shan Goût opened in March 2009 and was immediately tapped by François Simon as the newest Place To Go. The resulting critical stampede made me cynical, so I avoided Shan Goût for awhile. Then Braden and Laura, two very accomplished eaters, tested it out. Their praise was unwavering, and included the important words “best ravioli ever.”
With so much love in my heart for the dumpling (ravioli is the generic French word for gyoza-type goodness), it wasn’t long before I had a reservation at Shan Goût. I started the night with an apéro at the Baron Rouge, a loud-talking wine bar near the Marché d’Aligre. I recommend the same for you, followed by a multi-sigh stroll along the Promenade Plantée.
When you arrive at the restaurant, you’ll see that Shan Goût really isn’t much in terms of decor. A few hangings, red lanterns on the ceiling, and a Buddha at the register. Seating that looks like it may have come from a convention center sell-off. Napkins rolled with a black ribbon and fastened with a paper clip. But none of this matters because you are waiting to eat the “best ravioli ever.”
And so, that ravioli? It wasn’t the Best Ever. But it was nice, and surprisingly delicate. I could taste (or the waiter told me) that the wrapper was freshly made. And yet my taste buds were searching for something… was it MSG? This place uses old Szechuan recipes and no artificial additives. Was my palate unable to appreciate non-chemical Chinese?
Thankfully, no. The dishes that followed were less anemic. Some were actually hit-you-over-the-head tasty. Here’s a run-down (55€ for 2, including beers):
Mapo: sautéed tofu with “tang” sauce, pepper and red chile
22, Rue Hector Malot, 12th arrondissement, 01 43 40 62 14
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