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Hélène Darroze, 32, is the newest culinary star in Paris. Her new, eponymous two-in-one address (restaurant upstairs, bistro on the main floor) has quickly established itself as one of the best restaurants on the Left Bank. Darroze, who previously had a one-star in the southwestern town of Villeneuve-de-Marsan, offers a superb modern take on southwestern French cooking, from a duck and goose foie gras confit with grilled apples to light dishes such as a salad of scallops and squid with tiny stuffed clams on a bed of warm white beans, piquillo peppers, and rocket. Roast wild duck stuffed with foie gras and black truffles comes with a chartreuse of cabbage, turnips, and carrots, while a roasted free-range chicken from Les Landes has a stuffing of herbs under the skin and red mullet is served with a tangy tomato risotto in beef juice with black olives. An appealing wine list includes a variety of moderately priced southwestern bottles, such as Madiran, Cahors, and Gaillac, and coffee is served with madeleines and three types of homemade jam. What really amazes is that such hearty food is so light. Stylish tableware, including serving plates by Tse & Tse, knowingly distances this place from Paris' other southwestern restaurants. The only flaw is slow and lackluster service—several dishes were served cooler than they should have been, and we repeatedly asked for our wine to be poured and for sugar for our coffee. Main restaurant: $265; bistro: $37.


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