I once had a Corsican colleague, whose olive skin and flashing dark eyes (especially when expounding on the dismal state of US government finances) marked him as less French than Mediterranean. So while I had not partaken in a Corsican meal before, working with my ex-colleague has taught me to not assume that Corsican cuisine will be your typical cream and butter heavy French restaurant experience.
The husband and I met up with our French friends A&A for a mid-week dinner at La Villa Corse, a local restaurant specializing in the foods of Corsica. The 15th arrondissement branch of the 2-outlet restaurant had a warm, clubby ambiance, with bronzed colored walls, floor-to-ceiling bookcases and low, red leather armchairs evoking a refined, luxe atmosphere. If not for the smoking ban, one would imagine this room to be perfect for whisky and cigars.
The light, brightly flavored food contrasts sharply with the lounge-y feel of the dining room. Our dinner featured a lot of seafood, simply prepared with tomatoes, fresh herbs and a lot of olive oil, with nary a cream sauce in sight. My appetizer had a feel good factor to it, the chilled disk of basil-infused tomatoes topped with a quenelle of creamy brocciu – a young whey cheese similar to ricotta that is considered Corsica’s national cheese – satisfyingly flavorful yet light on calories. One can imagine how much more powerful the tomatoes will taste in the height of summer.
Both of us ordered fish for dinner, for me a tuna steak, seared till just cooked and juicy. The lightly cooked tomato and caper based sauce provides a zippy counterpoint to the meatiness of the tuna.
P had the pan-fried skin-on seabass, the kitchen choosing to highlight the delicately flavored flesh by seasoning it simply with salt and pepper. While the fish was the star of the plate, my carb-loving husband also enjoyed the rich, creamy risotto.
Too full for individual desserts, we heeded Mr A’s advice to share the pastizzu, a Corsican bread pudding, made with brioche, sugar, eggs, cream, figs and raisins. P chose to eat his warm slice neat, while I dotted white chocolate sauce on mine.
Given my lack of expertise on Corsica and its cuisine, I cannot vouch for the authenticity of La Villa Corse. But, I definitely have this restaurant on my to-return list, especially when my seafood loving parents come to town.
La Villa Corse (2 locations)
164, boulevard de Grenelle, 75015 Paris