8.0 Sola aka Sola par Hiroki Yoshitake, 12, rue de l'Hotel Colbert in the 5th, 01.43.29.59.04 (but beware quirky phone-answering reliability), closed Sundays and Mondays, opened at the end of the year (as did its cousin Le Concert de la Cuisine a year before) and I couldn't tell from the early reviews whether it was French, fusion or Japanese.
I entered a bit ahead of my Cantabrigian/Francophilic/Francophonic/friend and marvelled at the beams and stone - wonderful! The wait-guy came over with a tiny white marshmallow-looking object and poured hot water on it. I grabbed my fork - "John," my erudite friend said, "it's a hot towel." Whoops, everything here did look incredibly edible.
The main was split into two servings, separated by several minutes. The first part was a plate on which were placed - off-center, mind you, a selection of veggies of perfect provenance, such as peas, beans and a nasturtium leaf (my companion informed me) covering a cold soft-boiled egg; I thought they were raw but my companion opined that while cold they had been very briefly blanched and cooled. The second mains (oh, we had a choice of fish or meat - we were asked if we had any food problems - abats, etc.) were at the top, a fish with one set of cooked veggies - we had to ask what it was - Chinchard, a Japanese fish we were told and shown a book about - something in the family between a mackerel and anchovy (but it was not really that oily) and a filet wrapped in a smoked hamish sausage skin and sliced with a mushroom puree, sauteed mushrooms, potatoes and the chef's own mustard with big grains. This is where you got the "French, but.........." message loud and clear.
Dessert (not pictured, hummmm) was/were strawberries, vanilla ice, mascarpone, strawberry confiture and (get this) Balsamic tuile bits and Balsamic sauce. Wow!
With a bottle of wine, a bottle of Chateldon (don't ask, the answer involves migraines, work and all sorts of stuff), 2 decent coffees and average not great bread (the one substandard item), our bill was 111 E.
Go again, to the place where I had the best meal of 2011 so far? Can't keep me away.
As we were walking past the City Hall, we noticed American troops (with WWII) uniforms and helmets in half-tracks (with Spanish names) entering the parvis. It was General George (Scott) Patton entering Frankfurt, March 29, 1945, no? Well, that's what the "This Day in History" website says. My friend, the scholar says "cannot be" - the Battle of the Bulge is far away. Sure enough, it's a film shot. But fun anyway.