I have eaten my share of French food in my day. As my friends will tell it I’ve eaten a lot of peoples share of French food most days. This I take great exception to…I don’t eat French food every day. But that is neither here nor there…What did happen the other day was I was on the receiving end of a truly exceptional and unique French meal at a small restaurant in Nice. Prepared by a chef who clearly has a unique passion and flair for his craft and an appreciation for the culture and history from which it came. True this is not something that is unheard of in France but chef Keisuke Matsushima, if you have just figured it out is not from France. He is Japanese.
Matsushima did not arrive in France and set up shop. He has had some excellent training. He spent time with the Pourcel Brothers at Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier. He also worked with Regis Marcon in St-Bonnet-le-Froid. So the guy knows what he's doing. Not sure what if any his training was in Japan consisted of but what ever it was it he seemed to take to it and it worked.
He has taken French cuisine and mixed it with Japanese philosophy. Dishes are small and delicately favored not with Asian flavor but built with and the touch. Every step is done deftly and well as to not overpower the diner.
Matsushima has a Michelin star. It is actually his second. He also earned one with his first restaurant: which he closed to open this larger venue, as well. I suspect they we shall be hearing seeing and hopefully tasting a great deal more from Monsieur Matsushima.
For a little more information on the place have a look at the Staff Blog.
22 ter rue de France
(Please note the the place is easy to miss. There is no sign. But there is a menu.)