Gaya Rive Gauche pre-translation
By: Darrah de jour
Gaya Rive Gauche, world renown chef Pierre Gagnaire’s witty makeover of the already existing fish-institution, caters this time around to more casual, less expensive dining, without cowering on taste. Coined as one of Paris’s most experimental chefs, at the forefront of the fusion movement, Gagnaire uses seafood as a medium to express his creative and whimsical sensibilities.
Portions are small and artfully presented, such as a seafood gelée encircled by white beans and draped with Spanish ham, or cod “petals” served in a martini glass with soba noodles, mango, and grapefruit.
Variations on tradition include nouveau fish and chips: a fish “sandwich,” filled with a mushroom herb salad accompanied by purée of cèpes. Grilled sole and buttery scallops (served in their shells) are highly touted, as are the magnificent filets of sea bass, served straight from the skillet on a bed of mushrooms and shallot butter.
Decorated by Christian Ghion, the interior is equally eccentric and plays along well with the menu. Tables are plastic with a seaweed motif, there’s a glass bar illuminated by yellow lights, a capricious white rug with blue circles, and paper placemats.
Sit with the chic and intellectual crowd on the ground floor, with all of the character and more elbow room than the upstairs, which boasts more seating, but with long banquettes. Or, if you’re in a hurry, sit at the bar, which features compressed air stools, and order the amazing “croque-monsieur noir à l’infusion de crevettes grises” (toasted ham and cheese sandwich with infusion of shrimp, €13). All the while catching a glorious view of what goes on in the kitchen.
Address: 44 rue du Bac, St-Germain-des-Pres, Paris
Keep in mind: Reservations essential.
Open: Noon-3pm Mon; Noon-3pm, 7-11pm Tue-Sat., No lunch Sat., Closed Sun.