Le Royal Monceau
Le Royal Monceau
Matsuhisa, Nobu Matsuhisa’s first foray into the Parisian dining scene since his Nobu there closed in 2003, is an absolute winner. During a recent meal there at the invitation of the restaurant, we were very impressed by the dining room, the level of service, and, of course, the food.
Before its turnover in March 2016, the dining room, located in the chic Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris Hotel was home to La Cuisine (which now only serves breakfast and brunch out of the space), and the room hasn’t changed too much: large domed lights tower over curtained booths, tables have ample space between them, a large sushi bar dominates the back of the space, the ceilings are high, and the lighting is very dim. Romantic? Check. A magnet for celebrities? Check. Possibly requiring the use of a flashlight to read the menu? Check.
The menu is expansive, so we suggest you check it out online before visiting and come up with a game plan. There’s a selection of tapas, sashimi, appetizers, ceviche (Nobu trained in Peru, so there’s lots of Peruvian influence in his cooking), tiradito, salads, tempura, hot entrées, skewered kushiyaki, tobanyaki (cooked on a hot ceramic plate), charcoal grilled sumiyaki, soups, and, of course, a wide variety of sushi and sashimi.
We decided to try a handful of different categories while also hitting as many Nobu classics as possible (with some guidance from the patient and helpful waitstaff), and ended up with a varied and really enjoyable meal. Edamame was cooked and seasoned properly (as expected) and served as a good thing to nibble on while perusing the menu. Slices of yellowtail sashimi were kicked up by sliced jalapeños and a pool of yuzu soy sauce. Truffle oil vinaigrette and thin matchsticks of aged pecorino made a spinach salad surprisingly addictive. Also addictive was the rock shrimp tempura tossed in a creamy, slightly spicy sauce. Both Nobu and Morimoto have mastered this dish, and we’re very grateful for that.
No visit to a Nobu restaurant is complete without his famous miso-glazed black cod, which is marinated for days before being caramelized on the grill. It’s a light, flaky, sweet, salty umami bomb, and it’s a must-order. Black Angus tobanyaki was a traditional sliced filet, buttery and perfectly cooked. Wagyu beef nigiri with truffle, a major splurge at €80 (about $90), was certainly delicious but also difficult to eat, as the wagyu was oddly chewy due to being sliced with the grain. For dessert (if there’s still room), don’t miss the black currant Mont Blanc, a flavor bomb of meringue, currant, chocolate, which was certainly a satisfying way to end the meal. The sommelier picked out a bottle of sake that served as a spot-on complement.
If you’d prefer to leave your meal in the hands of the restaurant, two options are available: the tasting menu (€130 Euros, or about $142 per person), and the eight-course signature omakase, which includes some more luxurious menu items and will cost you €170 ($185) per person.
Not only is Matsuhisa a welcome retreat from traditional French fare, it’s an upscale and very cosmopolitan restaurant in the heart of one of Paris’ most exclusive and luxurious hotels. It’s not cheap, but it makes for an absolutely stellar night out.