Tucked away in a small alley street in Paris, France is a Japanese style soba restaurant, Abri Soba. Out front the restaurant is discreet as can be, with only a hanging blank-white sign. As you look through the many windows, an open kitchen sits right behind the bar area. Inside you will find a small but warm and welcoming space with what appear to be reclaimed shiplap panels throughout… Enough with the ambiance, the food is what make this place Big Time! Although this was a soba restaurant, which was done well, during dinner time they also serve a range of Japanese small plates. Among these dishes, one still linger in my mind and keeps me up at night, frustrated that it is not easily accessible to me in the States. That dish is the Ouef, Champignon shimeji et anguille (savory egg flan with shimeji mushrooms and bbq eel). Egg is a simple ingredient but is complex in the many ways it could be used. Abri Soba really utilized the egg well in emphasizing it’s taste and texture. Bedded on the bottom layer is steamed eggs with shimeji mushroom. While light, the egg is extremely flavorful, as I suspect dashi (Japanese cooking stock) was mixed in with the eggs. In contrast, the mushrooms added the meaty texture. On top, is intentionally layered slices of bbq eel and garnished with chopped green scallion and seaweed. This heighten the dish with it’s soft, fluffy, yet flaky BBQ eel. Breaking through the egg flan with a spoon you get a bit of all the ingredients and its flavors. You can also observe the lightness of the egg from being steamed and as you savor the dish you reaffirm the soft, delicious texture.
Even after many months of having the dish, I still reminisce the wonderful taste and flavor. This is when a dish is truly deserving of a Hall of Famer!