King Risotto

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After his success in opening the “3 B’s”–the restaurant cum bar-lounge establishments Barfly (B*fly), Buddha Bar (8th arrondissement) and Barrio Latino (11th arrondissement)–in Paris during the 1990s, Raymond Visan turned his attention to another corner of the city and opened Barlotti, a restaurant featuring Italian cuisine.   Opened in October 2002, the restaurant adds a touch of the plush and posh to the Place du Marché Saint-Honoré in Paris’ 1st arrondissement.  Occupying a corner on the north side of the square, its exterior (which features a summer sidewalk terrace) looks deceptively ordinary.  But step inside and you are immediately aware that this is not just another Paris eatery.   The restaurant seats 230 people and makes full use of three levels of space measuring a total of 1000 m².  The eye is immediately drawn to a large shaft of natural light supplied by the establishment’s most exotic feature:  an atrium with Mauresque influences that spans all three floors.  Of special interest are the ruby red chandeliers of Murano glass that add a splash of drama to the geometric carvings in the sandstone-colored walls.   Diners can enjoy Italian and other apéritifs in the upstairs bar, including a selection of Bellini cocktails consisting of sparkling Italian prosecco and a variety of fresh fruit juices.  Wednesday through Saturday nights, the bar is transformed into a lounge where those with a party spirit enjoy sounds spun by a trio of DJs who animate the evening until 2 AM.  As for the music in the dining room, it has been entrusted to David Visan, creator of the Buddha Bar CDs that have enchanted those who frequent les lieus branchés (the hip places) of Paris.   Descending to the sous-sol (lower level), choose between a secluded alcove and the wide-open space beneath the atrium to partake of fine Italian cuisine.  Prepare yourself for a menu that features roughly 40 dishes that are a tribute to the Italian culinary tradition.  All the standards are represented: Chef Daniel Pereira prepares antipasti, pizzas (lunch only), carpaccios and pastas with the utmost care.  And beginning July 1, this 28-year old culinary innovator invites you to experience his new menu of risottos.   A North Italian tradition, risotto is a meal unto itself.  The rice is sautéed prior to being cooked in hot broth, and is stirred continuously during the process.  Properly served al dente, it should never be sticky or soggy.  Risotto must be served immediately after preparation, so to construct an entire restaurant menu around this delicacy requires the utmost confidence in both the kitchen and wait staff.   Chef Pereira has created a menu of eight savory risottos that he is offering only for the evening service.  They consist of the following:   Risotto Milanese (parmesan and saffron)Risotto with asparagus and fava beansRisotto with prawnsRisotto with spicy Neapolitan sausageRisotto with crudités (raw vegetables) Risotto with black (summer) or white truffleRisotto with black ink and grilled octopusRisotto with Taleggio cheese   Each recipe is prepared with Carnaroli rice, which some consider to the best of Italian superfino grains.  A wide selection of Italian wines, by the glass or by the bottle, is available to accompany your meal.   To round out his menu, Chef Pereira has also dared to extend the domain of risotto to the dessert section of the carte.  Among six of his whimsical creations, you may select three to culminate your dining experience:   EspressoButter caramelTiramisuCherryWhite chocolate with bitter chocolate saucePeaches roasted with rosemary   The staff at Barlotti is cordial, knowledgeable and eager to serve.  The cuisine is top notch and the ambiance is not to be matched anywhere in Paris.  To dine at Barlotti is to experience creative elegance and epicurean excellence à l’italiènne.   Barlotti35, place du Marché Saint-Honoré75001 ParisTel : 01.44.86.97.97Fax : 01.44.86.97.98Metro : Pyramides, Opéra, Palais-Royal, TuileriesOpen every day from 12 noon until 2 AMBrunch – Sundays and holidays     Monique Y. Wells is co-owner of (www.discoverparis.net) Discover Paris! – Personalized Itineraries for Independent Travelers as well as the author of (www.parisfoodforthesoul.com) Food for the Soul – A Texas Expatriate Nurtures her Culinary Roots in Paris.
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