Fulgurances

Eggplant and eel at Fulgurances

It’s been a hectic year and I haven’t gotten out as much as I’d like to, in spite of a long list of places I’m trying to visit in Paris, and a more I plan to check out this fall. Early in the summer, I reserved a table at Fulgurances, intrigued by the food of Israeli chef Tamir Nahmias, former executive chef at Frenchie. His cuisine is infused with the flavors of the Middle East; tahini, pickles, lot of tomatoes and eggplant, long-cooked meats, and a generous hand with fresh herbs. All of which appeal to me.

Paris has taken a turn in the last few years with younger chefs and talent emphasizing freshness, sourcing ingredients from small-scale farmers and local producers, and a liberal use of vegetables on their menus.

Tarama at Fulgurances

Fulgurances has been open for about a year and doesn’t have a fixed chef. Instead, chefs are welcome to come and cook for a period of time, whatever fits their schedule. A fulgurance is something that comes at great speed, and has a dazzling quality. In this case, it’s a chef arriving and exciting us with outstanding food.

Chef at Fulgurances

I had to change the reservation I’d made in the early summer a number of times, then ultimately cancel it, which was unfortunate, but too much was happening at the time. Thankfully I finally made it to Fulgurances with my friends Ann and Elizabeth for dinner, and liked it so much, I went back for lunch a few days later, when the light was better to take some photos: The daylight was coming into the restaurant, which provided a better backdrop for the food. A few dishes were some of the best I’ve had in Paris.

During the day, Fulgurances is filled with natural light (when the grisaille, grayness of Paris, decides to let up), and I took a seat at the bar to eat and watch the cooking. Chef Tamir Nahmias will be there through the end of November 2016, until he leaves to open his own restaurant, at an unspecified future date.

I started off with a bowl of taramasalata that was a revelation, served with red onions and a variety of cucumbers, including lemon cucumbers and what are called Mexican cucumbers. When I asked the chef where he got them in France, since I’ve never seen either variety of cucumber at the markets, he told me he sources many of his ingredients from a farm near Tours. I loved the pairing of the fresh, cool cucumbers with the super-smooth fish roe paste. And I used the hearty bread they serve to make sure I got every bit.

Although it wasn’t on the lunch menu, I had fond memories of the beet hummus I had with my friends at dinner, flavored with savory za’atar. But the houmous de haricots cocos de Paimpol (fresh shelling beans) I had at lunch was just as good, if not better, topped with agneau confit, long-cooked lamb (below). The chef and I talked about how good tahini was so important in hummus and he agreed, which almost made me hand over some of the sesame pastes that I’ve stocked up on during trips to Lebanon and Israel, to help him with his sourcing.

Hummus with lamb

Meanwhile, I’m getting less-adept at taking pictures, while jotting down notes, remembering every course and wine I try, while dining out and drinking wine with friends, which is why I understand bloggers who bring along a photographer to restaurants to take pictures for them. Unfortunately you’re still stuck with me and my picture of the outstanding hummus (above), that doesn’t do it justice. I wanted to return just to reshoot that photo (and of course, dive into another bowl of it), but haven’t – yet.

Caponata at Fulgurances

The other entrée that day was Caponata served on a crouton with a soft-cooked egg resting on top. Like the Sicilians do, Chef Nahmias cooks his eggplant in plenty of olive oil, with the soft cooked egg creating a runny sauce was broken with a spoon.

eggplant and eel at Fulgurances

Because I’m an enthusiastic eater, he prepared for me a dish of smoked eel with tiny roasted eggplants and purslane (above), that paired the slithery creature from the sea with the cushiony plants.

Octopus at Fulgurances

He remembered I didn’t eat octopus from the other night I’d dined there, but he did let me snap a picture for those of you brave enough to tackle the tentacled beast.

Fish with potatoes and capers at Fulgurances

The other main courses that came out of the kitchen that day were the raie (skate) cooked in browned butter on a creamy cushion of potatoes, capers, and mustard. There was a pluma of Iberian pig with grilled corn, peppers, and tomatoes, which made me remember all those summers in New England where fresh corn was so abundant.

It’s nice to see chefs in Paris using it and perhaps in the future, it’ll find a bigger audience. In fact, I saw some fresh corn on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis the other day and a Frenchwoman was checking it out, wondering how to prepare it. “À la vapeur,” I chimed in, “Steamed,” then added, “avec beaucoup de beurre, et du sel.” And we each went home with a bagful of ears.

Chocolate tart at Fulgurances

Desserts for the day (the menu changes from meal to meal) was a straightforward, yet excellent chocolate tart with pears and almonds. I don’t like when people mess around too much with chocolate, so it was nice to enjoy the bittersweet chocolate tart in its simplicity, accompanied with poached pears and an oval of just-churned vanilla ice cream.

Cannoli dessert at Fulgurances

Even better, though, was the cannoli filled with whipped goat cheese and honey ice cream, served with ripe, fresh figs and a drizzle of acacia honey. My friend Elizabeth, who lives in Rome, snickered about my Frenchified pronunciation of can-nol-LI, but thankfully the authenticity police had the night off because it would be a shame not to enjoy this excellent dessert, no matter how you pronounce it.

The wine list at Fulgurances is filled with natural wines, which I often find a little too cider-y for my taste. But the Le Bégou I had from Maxime Magnon, that the friendly waiter suggested, was a great choice with lunch to go with all the dynamic flavors in the food.

Cannoli and figs at Fulgurances

Another welcome fulgurance in Paris is the new wave of coffee roasters and shops that have spread across the city, and restaurants serving nicely made coffee, too. Here, the coffee is from Lomi, which comes out with a delicate foam on top, in small cups, making it the perfect ending to the meal.

Coffee at Fulgurances

Fulgurances
10, rue Alexandre Dumas (11th)
Tél: 01 43 48 14 59
Métro: Rue de Boulets

 

Related Reviews

Fulgurances (Hungry for Paris)

Fulgurances (Patricia Wells)

Fulgurances (Paris Update)

Fulgurances (Paris by Mouth)

 


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32 comments

  • September 27, 2016 3:35pm

    Amazing photos. It looks so good.
    I’m from corn country and the second hardest thing about living in France (after a lack of Mexican restaurants in Carcassonne) is the lack of good corn. I find it at the market sometimes, or cooked in vacuum packs in the supermarket, but it’s routinely disappointing. Where did your corn come from?

    • Faith McLellan
      October 4, 2016 1:17pm

      Agree with the above! I am from the American South and the absence of corn here is a tragedy. If David can get great corn introduced to the French, I will nominate him for a very special Legion d’Honneur!

  • September 27, 2016 3:55pm

    Yummy!

  • September 27, 2016 4:27pm

    The food looks a amazing. What an interesting concept to not have a permanent chef, seems to work well though.

  • September 27, 2016 4:59pm

    insanely beautiful food and the pics aren’t so bad either! : )

  • September 27, 2016 5:10pm

    I’m so glad you went back and took photos in the daylight! The food is as beautiful as it was delicious. What a fun night! I”m so glad Ann chose this place and you’re lucky you got to go right back.

  • Nathalie Caton
    September 27, 2016 5:20pm

    It’s in the 11th (not the 12th).

  • Barbara
    September 27, 2016 5:32pm

    My mouth is watering. I’m in agony here in Stockton, California.

  • Carolyn
    September 27, 2016 5:33pm

    Wondering why you don’t eat octopus – is it for ethical reasons?

    • tunie
      September 28, 2016 9:14pm

      I’ve never been able to eat them after learning that they are apparently about as intelligent as a 5 year old child and able to recognize and bond to people with affection, (they flash colors that indicate happiness), so that would make sense. Amazing animals, really!

  • September 27, 2016 5:37pm

    Wow, the presentation of those dishes is superb!

    This year is the first year I’ve found corn on the cob regularly in the supermarkets, and it’s been rather good quality.

    I’d be interested to know who the market gardener near Tours is that they source their interesting veggies from (since I’m in the Touraine).

  • Rachel
    September 27, 2016 5:40pm

    Drooling here. I see purslane in several of the photos. Yum. The purslane season is just ending here in NC. It’s a very welcome weed that volunteers each summer coming up in the flower beds against my house. Lucky! My favorite summer purslane dish uses it as a green and crunchy counterpoint in a just-tender beet dish with grated ricotta salata and a wine vinegar walnut oil dressing.

  • merryf
    September 27, 2016 6:01pm

    this sounds delicious. Coincidentally my husband and I will be in Paris in 2 1/2 weeks and this sounds perfect for us. I love what Israeli chefs are doing with their cuisine! thanks for the recommendation!

  • September 27, 2016 7:09pm

    Looks delish; the tart and cannoli are personal favorites I need to make soon.

  • Kay
    September 27, 2016 7:15pm

    Sounds so delicious, and every dish is extremely appealing–except for the octopus, so bare and tentacly. I share your aversion.

  • September 27, 2016 7:20pm

    Sounds good David. We are in Paris for three weeks and have found RAW on rue de Turenne to be fresh and delightful. Also restaurant H and restaurant D’Aki. All three are very small and worth the effort to seek them out.
    Best,
    Paul

    • September 27, 2016 8:40pm

      La Table d’Aki is one of my absolute favorite restaurants in Paris. Exquisite! I’m so delighted you went there.

  • Tricia
    September 27, 2016 7:31pm

    Wow, most of my favourite things – eel, aubergine and purslane sounds divine. Then figs and cannoli, chocolate and pears. Must go there later this year, thanks for delicious photos!

  • September 27, 2016 8:41pm

    Your photos capture the food beautifully! I especially loved the chef’s abundant use of purslane! :)

  • Deborah
    September 28, 2016 2:03am

    RE: your photos–your wonderful descriptions make up for any lack in the images (that frankly I don’t see or care about) ’cause like I said, your words are much more important. To me, anyways. The thought of someone bringing a photographer along is a bit much! Again, to me. Love your blog, David, and you’ve made many improvements over the years to the blog/site. Thank you!

  • Deb
    September 28, 2016 4:45am

    It’s great to see the purslane! It is at home everywhere, in many different cuisines. At our farmers’ market in Peekskill NY it is very popular.

  • September 28, 2016 7:33am

    I will be in Paris for 4 days at the end of this week. Hopefully I have time to have lunch or dinner at Fulgurances . It looks great, especially the chocolate tart.

  • Evans
    September 28, 2016 9:20am

    I’ve been there.

  • September 28, 2016 10:57am

    So glad you had a good meal – when we went the mezze was just one happy surprise after another. Especially the octopus!

    A British friend and I decided the cannoli tasted like a British brandy snap, usually filled with whipped cream – ever tried making them? We both had childhood memories of burning our fingers as we wrapped the biscuits around wooden spoons as they came out of the oven.

    Bonne semaine!

  • Lee
    September 28, 2016 6:54pm

    What does eel taste like? Is it fishy or sort of bland?

  • AJPeabody
    September 28, 2016 8:48pm

    Oh for goodness sakes, try the octopus. It doesn’t taste like it looks. I like it best grilled and served with a garlic lemon vinaigrette. It does not resemble seafood, more like a mild meat.

  • June2
    September 28, 2016 9:16pm

    Would kind of love a recipe for that creamy looking potato dish with capers and mustard. I only see vinaigrette’s online!

  • Lea
    September 29, 2016 4:11pm

    Loved seeing the dishes made with purslane – my favourite!
    The story how to prepare sweat corn made me smile. Fun imagining someone eating hot, buttery, salty corn on the cob for the first time :)

  • September 29, 2016 6:36pm

    Oh my…. I think I hardly EVER felt so much ‘wildly in love’ as I did with this resto…. And those photos!! What is your problem, David? You were surely just looking for yet another visit and wanted to use the photo op excuse, didn’t you?! Your hummus looks beyond heavenly.
    Honestly, I think I would have eaten everything you photographed that day, even the octopus (well maybe not) – I’m marking this place and hope to visit one day.
    Thank you for thinking of us.

  • September 30, 2016 1:49pm

    As always, your pictures make me want to go to places. I need to try that TARTE AU CHOCOLAT. Looks exquisite.

  • debbie bently
    October 4, 2016 9:42pm

    Loved seeing the dishes made with purslane

  • Amber
    October 6, 2016 1:15pm

    This is my first time commenting, although I’ve been reading this blog for years now, since I was little. The recipes here were one of my earliest inspirations to start baking. Anyway, despite what you mentioned above about the pictures, I really enjoy the photos that you include with your posts. I like how it’s not always perfectly staged or professionally composed, because to me, food should be accessible and enjoyed by all and the photos should reflect that.

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