Roseval is one of the new breed of restaurants in Paris that eschews the traditional for something different. Run by non-Parisiens in a small, cozy space located in the low-key and slightly out-of-the-way neighborhood of Belleville, it doesn’t fit the bill of a typical French restaurant, and it doesn’t really want to. In that way, it has a lot in common with the Brooklyn restaurant scene, where people with beards and man buns are free to make whatever food they want in whatever setting pleases them. Unfortunately, they’ve also adopted that similar indifferent hipster attitude. I always felt a bit of a tension between us and the server, who scoffed at our wine choices at times and was there just going through the motions.
The 5-course pre fixe menu of 55 euros is good value, and it sort of follows a New World theme that incorporates a lot of ingredients and inspirations from everywhere. The bonito fish, which is common in Japanese cuisine, made a surprise appearance here swimming into the waters of France, in the form of a smoky, fatty filet subdued by smoked ricotta and cherry. The scallop is a classic staple in many countries, but Roseval gives it a refresh with some tart pomegranate seeds for flavor. Duck is of course very French, but here it gets paired with a cured eggplant that gives it almost an ashy flavor, severing ties with its confit/l’orange past and forging a new identity. The best course was the langoustine, which arrived in an impeccable potato soup, creamy and classic in the best sort of way, while the weakest was the turbot, a poor man’s version of the farm-to-table fish creations that have been done much better elsewhere. Sometimes the experiments work, sometimes they don’t, but it’s clear that Roseval feels a sense of joy in being given the freedom to do what it wants. Now if they only brought that same sense of joy to their customer service…but some habits in a country die hard.
1 Rue d’Eupatoria, 75020 Paris, France
+33 9 53 56 24 14