For Saturday night in Paris, I did a search on the Fork to see what popped up, looking for a gem in case one of the other reservations didn’t happen. Well, as it turns out, all of our reservations panned out, but we were so intrigued by the restaurant I found that we kept the reservation. Sola is a japanese fusion restaurant helmed by Yoshitake Hiroki with two floors, the bottom being a cave where diners eat on the floor without shoes. We didn’t get to eat in the cave, but we had one of the most thoughtful and well-crafted meals we’ve ever been served.
The other thing that Sola has beyond great food is an incredible Japanese Whiskey and Saki collection. Having been drinking Bordueax wine for 12 days at this point, I was ready for some whiskey. I did try the Japanese whiskey (three times) at the Trianon as it was so welled priced, but Sola had options on the menu I’ve never encountered. So I deviated from French wine for a moment for a pre-dinner whiskey (and an after dinner one as well). Interestingly, very few of the staff actually drinks so recommendations were sparse.
As for the food, I will let the images speak for themselves, but it was a refreshing reprieve from traditional French cuisine. It had just enough Japanese flair to make it unique from every other meal we had in France. It was mostly fish, with a few vegetable dishes. Not a single ingredient overwhelmed the menu. My favorite savory course was a ravioli of sorts. As it wasn’t as artistic as the other dishes, the photo doesn’t do it justice.
But there was one dish that was simply amazing, and it was a dessert. I think if it as a strawberry shortcake magic, but that’s not what it was at all. That is just the feeling it invoked. It was tart and sweet, and brought me to a place of total peace. It surpassed my favorite dish (at least for now). I catch whiffs of things that remind me of it, Madeleines from Jules Verne later brought me back to the following day.
Service was impeccable but friendly. We didn’t “connect” with any servers through personal conversation, but they answered all our questions, explained the food with delicious detail, and told us stories of the kitchen. We were also given a quick tour of the kitchen where we met the pastry chef. We later met Chef Hiroki outside as we were waiting for our cab.
Overall, this gem of a restaurant is now on our must return list. I can’t imagine it will remain as low profile or as easy to get reservations, but we will be back. Food wise this was our favorite of all the French meals on this trip, although it fell second in experience to Arpege on Monday night.