For years, aspiring culinary stars from Japan have been decamping to Paris to learn new techniques, but recently they’ve been leaving behind the Michelin-starred dining temples that trained them — from Astrance to Taillevent — to headline their own spots. At Restaurant ES in the Seventh Arrondissement, the chef Takayuki Honjo improvises with simple, market-driven dishes, such as roast pigeon in cocoa sauce, which are as delicate in flavor as they are graphic in presentation. At Neige d’Été in the 15th, Hideki Nishi dabbles in modern French cuisine including salmon with a Gorgonzola millefeuille. Over in the 11th, at 6036 — a 14-seat izakaya named for the distance, in miles, between Paris and Tokyo — the chef Haruka Casters plays up seasonal small plates (sake-steamed clams with cabbage, teriyaki burgers). “Paris is a cosmopolitan city with many opportunities to improve one’s cooking,” says Casters. “But it’s also much easier to be seen here than in a megalopolis like Tokyo.”
In Paris, three young chefs from Japan, and one from France, have opened the city’s most original new restaurants.