I met Shirley for dinner tonight at Yappany Sushi at around 9pm. The restaurant serves Chinese and Japanese cuisine. This is the 5th sit down Chinese restaurant that I have been to in Paris! The only sit down Chinese restaurant in NYC is Eden Wok, and I am not a fan of it. The space was fairly small and packed with people, mostly young (twenties and early thirties). We sat in a heated tent-like structure outside the restaurant, since there was no room inside. The options on the menu were similar to dishes on most other Asian restaurants that I’ve been to in Paris. All of the sushi restaurants offer traditional rolls, as well as sushi wrapped in eggs, chicken sushi, sushi stuffed with fake cheese, and other very interesting concoctions.
Shirley ordered a platter of rice covered with salmon tartare and avocado slices (10 euro) and I ordered two orders of tempura and fried onion encrusted California roll (6.50 euro each). The food came extremely quickly. My sushi was really fresh and delicious, and was served with a sweet thick teriyaki sauce (they call it sauce sucre). Shirley told me that when she was in Boston, she was frustrated because she couldn’t find this sauce sucre at any of the Japanese restaurants. Each roll came with 6 very thick pieces that were stuffed with a generous amount of fish. The spicy mayo here was VERY spicy (and not very good). I think perhaps it may have just been mostly spicy sauce, minus the mayo?
The servers were very busy and did not stop to ask us how our food was or clear our plates even a half hour after we were finished. This was fine since Shirley and I were having a nice time talking and leisurely taking our time, but had I come here with Josh, I probably would have criticized the servers for being too inattentive.
I also ordered Poulet Beignet Caramel (10 euro) and white rice (3.50 euro) to take home and share with Josh for a midnight snack, since he was working late tonight. The dish was chunks of deep fried DARK MEAT breaded chicken covered in a sweet caramel flavored sauce. I keep forgetting that I need to specifically ask for white meat chicken every time since otherwise, there’s a good chance you’re going to get dark meat! Next time I come here, I will try another of the Chinese chicken dishes and will remember to order white meat!
2 weeks later…I came back here for dinner with Shirley again. I ordered the same tempura and fried onion encrusted california rolls, as well as a california roll wrapped with egg. I see sushi wrapped with egg everywhere in Paris, and decided I had to try this ultra popular item! My tempura rolls were not nearly as good as they had been the time before. The rice was harder and there were not as many crispy fried onion rolled onto the outside. The egg sushi was highly unenjoyable. The layer of egg was sweet and almost tasted like a thin pancake, making the sushi overwhelmingly sweet, heavy, and starchy tasting. I felt a bit nauseous after eating that roll, and now that I have experienced the popular egg sushi, I won’t be ordering it again.
The strangest part of the evening was that the restaurant staff kept allowing people from off of the street to enter and either try to sell flowers to customers or ask for money. One man in particular marched in with a bongo drum, sat at a table, and started banging on the drum and chanting French and Hebrew songs. He was overweight and sloppy looking, possessed absolutely zero rhythm, and had a loud and scratchy toned-deaf voice. I was shocked that the restaurant would allow a strange man to disturb its customers like this. Furthermore, the waiters were clapping and smiling, and gave him free food. What is going on here?? Shirley informed me that this everyone knows this man, as he has been hopping from Kosher restaurant to Kosher restaurant every night for the past 18 years. The more upscale restaurants do not welcome him, however, the types of restaurants that are on Boulevard Voltaire are clearly used to having him. He has become a kind of celebrity among the Jews in Paris, and customers are used to him. He stood at our table waiting for us to give him money, and he would not leave us alone until we refused him several times. This is one of the most bizarre things I have ever witnessed at a restaurant.