Dining in Aida was like travelling to Japan. The sober and discrete exterior and interior, warm but reserved (in a good way) service and delicious cooking with ingredients of the highest quality. It is also the only Japanese (teppanyaki) restaurant in Paris to have a Michelin star which makes reserving a table there quite difficult. (Well, as I’ve mentioned before, because of my constant travelling I rarely book restaurants even one week in advance). So this time I called at 8 pm and to my surprise, they had two places at the counter. There was a small problem though. It was the first working day after the Easter holidays and Aida’s fish supplier was closed, so the restaurant had a limited amount of fish. But I didn’t worry about that too much as what I wanted to try there was the chateaubriand teppanyaki for which Aida is famous for.
The restaurant doesn’t have à la carte menu, instead- Aida san (Koji Aida is the chef) offers omakase which costs 140 euros per person. As there was no fish that night, the omakase price was reduced to 100 euros per head.
The dinner started with veal and oysters tartare. Generally, I don’t like raw meat, but I didn’t really feel it because of the iodic nature of oysters. A surprisingly refreshing dish.
Flan with lobster. The flan was topped with jelly and lobster pieces in it. Normally flan is a dessert, but this time it was “salty” and you could feel smokiness. (I didn’t figure out where the smokiness came from though).
One of my favourite dishes from Aida’s san omakase menu was marinated vegetables. He took a big plastic container with various vegetables and composed small plates out of them. You should have seen what care and attention he was picking and slicing the vegetables. In fact, I don’t know if they were marinated or slightly boiled and cooled after, as they still had al dente texture and were served with spinach sauce.
Grilled oyster on a white toast- it was slightly fried on the teppanyaki griddle. Delicious.
Potato purée ball with mushrooms inside, warm jelly and slightly heated al dente green peas. I hope I have explained the dish well enough…
Strawberry and tomato “gazpacho”. Like in most of the dishes at Aida, the mixture of tastes was very pure. All you could feel was the distinctive taste of tomatoes and distinctive taste of strawberries. The philosophy of Japanese cooking at its best.
The teppanyaki of chateaubriand served with fried garlic. If it were wagyu or Kobe, it would have been the best teppanyaki I had since my trip to Japan.
The dinner was simply perfection. Nothing was “forced”, everything was light, the true gastronomy of the 21st century.