Rice & Fish
22 rue Greneta, 2nd
M° Réaumur Sébastopol
Tel 01 73 70 46 09
If you read my review of Sushi Shop, you'll know that I was pretty darn happy to find their "close enough, California-style sushi". Well, guess what? I finally have a better recommendation!
Meet Rice & Fish. This unassuming little two-person outfit near Montorgueil opened a couple months ago, and apparently it's already packed to overflowing at lunch. Luckily for fans, they've just decided to open for dinner as well (Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings – my husband and I happened to show up for their third dinner service ever, and we were the only customers).
The restaurant isn't much to look at, at least not yet. It has a snappy logo but no sign over the door, and the inside is sparsely set up with the usual red and black lacquered tables of Parisian sushi joints, plus a few Japanese prints and some abstract art on the walls. We did appreciate the plastic puffer fish in the window.
I first heard of Rice & Fish from Paris Food Intelligence, where blogger Adrian commented that "the food is decent, though not surprising in any way" – a fair description of our appetizers. We ordered some edamame, which were fine (€2.50), and a couple of seaweed salads (€1.50 each) that ended up being small cucumber salads with a few strips of seaweed on top. (Using seaweed from the Finistère up in Brittany was a nice touch.)
Why am I so enthusiastic, then? Because the sushi was wonderful and very surprising indeed in Paris, even if it might not have stood out in San Francisco. We ordered a Krunchy roll (tempura shrimp, avocado, cucumber and secret sauce), a spicy tuna, a Chenille (unagi, avocado and cucumber) and the daily special, which happened to be a Cajun-spiced crawfish roll. They were just exactly what we have been missing since we were last in the States a year and a half ago – very good but not transcendent versions of typical rolls you might get in California.
The Krunchy was spot-on, as was the Chenille (which especially impressed my husband with the knife work on the avocado). The Cajun special was unconventional but tasty. Only the spicy tuna was a bit of a disappointment, mostly because I had such high hopes for it – it was ok, but more salty than particularly spicy or tangy. All of the rolls were a bit heavy on the rice; it didn't overpower the other ingredients, but it did leave us too full to try the tempura ice cream.
A few other offerings include the Rasta (asparagus, wakame, gobo and sesame seeds), the Thai (shrimp, avocado, Thai basil and green mango) and the New York (smoked salmon, red onions and capers), with prices from €5.50 to €8.00 per roll. I also have a feeling that sushi chef Andy would be willing to make your favorite roll even if it's not on the menu – he mentioned that we could have ordered the Krunchy with scallops, for example, though there was no mention of scallops anywhere.
Whether or not you should go to Rice & Fish is an easy call. If you're an American visiting Paris for a week, skip it and go eat something you can't get back home, and if you're looking for the best possible sashimi in town, there are probably better options. If, on the other hand, you live in Paris and you just can't shake the craving for a nice, big, crunchy, saucy creation, this is your place. Period.
Now if someone will just open a taco stand, my life will be complete.
Note: Credit cards not accepted.