Out of all the places we planned to try in Paris the most anticipated meal was at Agape Substance. Jose met David Toutain and his wife Thai while dining at La Grenoiullere a few months back and since that encounter has learned a great deal about David’s immense prowess and inventiveness in the kitchen. There is a lot of buzz around this man. Most people say that he is the up and coming chef to watch. After our dinner at Agape it was clear that all these accolades were well deserved.
A little background on Chef David Toutain. This man has been everywhere: Alain Passard’s L’Arpege,(link to our post) Paris, France; Marc Veyrat’s La Maison de Marc Veyrat, Annecy, France and Andoni Luis Aduriz’s from Mugaritz, (link to our pics) Spain. The culmination of these experiences landed him a coveted job as Chef de Cuisine of Corton (links to our post) in NYC. After his time spent working in nyc and living in Bushwick David received an opportunity to be the head chef at Agape Substance, where he has been for over a year.
Agape is located on a busy Parisian street packed with nightlife and restaurants. If you don’t pay attention you may just walk past the unassumingly tiny place…we almost did. Once we entered we were greeted by a charismatic guy that insisted that he take our scarves in addition to our coats cause, according to him, we would be way to hot. That was odd to me given the fact that the room temp seemed pretty average. After we got to our table we quickly understood his reasoning … We were essentially eating at a table in the kitchen! Before he even got settled in, Jose’s eyes lit up, the camera came out and the documentation began. We knew we were in for quite a night and decided to go all out, tasting menu,wine pairing and all! So glad we did, I suggest you all do the same.
What we loved equally as much as the food was the voyeuristic experience of seeing how the kitchen worked and operated. Let me tell you, we thought Yam’Tcha kitchen was tiny but Agape may have had them beat!! It was incredible that 8 men could work in such a small space without going crazy, swedish chef style! Everyone is in someone’s way at all times. Despite operating in what was the kitchen equivalent of a crawl space there was indeed culinary magic being made before our eyes!
Our first bite was a fantastically curious one. Imagine being told that you could eat your kitchen sponge…intrigued yet? That was what the first taste was like from a visual standpoint. It was bizarre yet clever and wonderfully tasty. The first bite set the bar very high and the last bite crescendoed at a peak of precise excellence. This perfect flow and flavor orchestration is something that most great chefs have difficulty achieving.
All the small starters were brilliant! Jose especially loved the mini pizzas.
The Foie and Eel dishes were incredible! Each of the proteins bathed in a wonderful sauce that complimented their flavors. The sesame sauce, found in the eel dish was one of our favorites. So rich and dark!
This dinner was by far one of our favs from our Paris trip. We would go back, but seeing that David is leaving in Dec., it may be hard. No worries big things are in store for David Toutain and we plan to follow him wherever he may go. He did mention that he loves and misses NYC so given that statement we are hoping that his next spot will be somewhere near us…David come back …fingers crossed.
Chef David Toutain
66 Rue Mazarine
75006 Paris, France
01 43 29 33 83
Here is a video that looks into David’s culinary style.