If being close to the source of the food you are serving is a promise of quality, then what better place to have a sushi bar than in a fish shop itself? This is exactly what fishmonger Patrick Fernandez has done with his poissonnerie (fish shop) and adjoining atelier du degustation, Ebisu. This is no ordinary fish shop, since Fernandez has been trained in the 350 year old Japanese art of ikejime, a tradition of ‘harvesting’ or killing fish in the most humane way possible that not only improves the texture and flavor of the fish but also means the fish can last longer (up to 15 days for raw consumption), age better and develop an umami flavor.
Fernandez, discovered ikejime in 2015 and since has become part of a small revolution to bring the technique to France, a movement started by Japanese keiseki master Toro Okuda who opened his own restaurant Okuda in the 8th back in 2011, and who taught Fernandez all he knows. Fernandez and his wife, Thy, opened Ebisu in April of 2018, the first poissonnerie to offer ikejime in the capital.
The technique consists of 4 swiftly executed movements that paralyze the fish and allow the blood to drain out, which reduces the flow of cortisol and lactic acid into the fish’s flesh (caused by the stress of harvesting) that can negatively affect its flavor. Not all the fish sold or prepared at Ebisu are killed using this method, however those that are not come directly from small day boats in Brittany, that assure a high-quality catch.
Fernandez makes almost weekly trips to Brittany (depending on the availability of that week’s live fish catch) to fill his tanks with fish caught in the bay of Quiberon, to bring back to his shop for sale. The price is of course higher for live fish chosen from the tank and killed using the ikejime method but the freshness and quality is incomparable. Numerous Michelin-starred chefs in Paris agree, who source their fish for their restaurants from Fernandez, including Yannick Alleno and sushi master Yasunari Okazaki from L’Abysse (notably the best sushi I have eaten outside of Japan), Takuya Watanabe from Jin, and of course Master Okuda.
The menu in the atelier de degustation is simple and firmly fish focused, offering just a handful of entrees, such as a seaweed salad with tender squid and creamy mussels, tossed in a rice vinegar vinaigrette, or a plate of briny Brittany oysters. To follow, choose from an assortment of sushi, maki, sashimi, a generous combination of the three in the Assiette Ebisu, or a chirashi bowl (a bed of sushi rice generously topped with an assortment of sliced sashimi). The 25€ menu for a starter, main course and dessert is exceptionally good value, although we were less enchanted by the quality of the dessert on the day we dined.
If you are a lover of fresh flavorful raw fish and sushi, here is an address that you won’t want to miss.
EBISU | 30-34 Rue du Chemin Vert | Paris 11 | Tel: +33 9 50 76 38 66 | Métro: Richard Lenoir or Chemin Vert | Restaurant open Wednesday & Thursday 11.30am-3pm & 5-8pm, Friday & Saturday 11.30am-3pm & 5-9pm. Closed Sunday, Monday & Tuesday. Fish shop open Wednesday – Saturday 9am-1.30pm & 4-7.30pm. Closed Sunday, Monday & Tuesday | Lunch: fixed 3-course lunch menu 25€ | 3-course lunch menu 25€, Lunch and dinner 17-55€ à la carte. Reservations recommended (online possible via The Fork) | Atmosphere casual.
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