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Paris: Jadis

Jadis (“in times past”) may seem like an odd name for a brilliant new bistro by one of the most talented young chefs in Paris, but after a meal there, you’ll get it. Guillaume Delage is an intensely disciplined classicist who reveals his cards with a quote on the menu from the late, great Edouard Nignon: “The chef who knows and understands the past well, who is inspired by it, will in turn become an innovator.”

At Jadis, in the far reaches of the 15th arrondissement, that means a double menu listing traditional French dishes on the left and market-driven creations on the right. Past or present, Delage’s cooking is lean, clean, and muscular. There’s so much precision in everything he does—whether it’s creating a gently tangy lemon sauce to meld a sauté of lamb’s feet and button mushrooms, or constructing an intricate retro checkerboard terrine of artichoke hearts and foie gras—that every meal reinforces the perception of him as some sort of intensely drilled culinary athlete.

An oyster velouté with shavings of Cantal cheese and a brilliant pairing of Puy lentils with sea snails and smoked bacon show that Delage is not just an A+ student, but he also has a nascent gastronomic imagination of his own. For main courses, a perfectly cooked lamb shoulder on a bed of plump white mogette beans, revved up with black olives and fine slices of dried tomato and served in a copper casserole (a vieille France dish if ever there was one), contrasts brilliantly with ocean perch in a wasabi sauce with a side of velvety sweet potato purée and Delage’s funky sauté of cockscombs, duck hearts, kidneys, and other gizzards.

But nothing demonstrates Delage’s work ethic better than a galette du roi (flaky, buttery pastry with a frangipane filling) that the waiter gravely warns will take 20 minutes—a mere nanosecond for something so good.

Jadis 208 rue de la Croix-Nivert, 15th, Paris (01-45-57-73-20)



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