Ellsworth is especially inviting – with its original stone walls, golden oak panelling (painstakingly restored by hand), plenty of natural light from the lattice windows that face the restaurant’s tables, as well as from the large front windows (that also provide an excellent view of a 19th-century monument to Molière).
The bar is perfect for solo diners, the tables ideal for an intimate dinner for two, or a group of friends; the menu designed with dishes to share. It’s cosy and calm, where relaxed conversation with your dining partners is possible.
The atmosphere created by the welcoming owners of Ellsworth, Laura Adrian and Braden Perkins, exudes warmth and quality. Their genuine love of their work, their staff and their clients is clearly evident
“My favourite thing about running Ellsworth is seeing all of the regulars. We have such a loyal clientele, customers that come on a weekly and fortnighly basis, it’s always a pleasure to see”, says Laura.
That their diners have become devotees since Ellsworth opened in March 2013 is no surprise – this is the couple’s second Paris restaurant, the first being the wildly successful Verjus, with its downstairs wine bar of the same name. Ellsworth is more casual, but no less elegant – where Verjus serves a set seven courses, diners at the newer restaurant can choose from a cosmopolitan menu that changes according to the seasons, and the creativity of Ellsworth’s three chefs.
Laura and Braden are originally from the US, and the Ellsworth team is an international family of 16. Braden learnt to use fresh, seasonal produce while working in restaurants in Boston and Seattle, and this set the tone for the importance given to vegetables in the dishes at Ellsworth.
“I love all things vegetable, and our chefs do a great job of making veg tasty and interesting,”
Laura concurs, describing their kale salad as one of her favourites, with anchovy and roasted garlic providing intense flavour, and almonds and spelt a wonderful texture. The chefs bring their own multicultural experience to the kitchen, with notable influences from Asia and South America, and are known to challenge themselves to continually work with unusual ingredients and try new techniques. Currently on the menu is an exceptional Porc de Savoie, Asian-inspired duck meatballs, and Ellsworth’s signature dessert of malt ice cream, chocolate sorbet, expresso espuma and milk crumble.
Behind the bar, Laura selects a sparkling pinot noir to complement a colourful bowl of raw sea bream, beetroot, citrus fruits and chilli. She explains that the name engraved on the glass and painted on the restaurant’s door is that of Braden’s grandfather, Bruce Ellsworth Bezanson, a man who, at 83, is still traveling and living life to the fullest – he flew to Paris from the US for the restaurant’s opening.
“He instilled in Braden an appreciation for food no matter if it’s the perfect potato chip, the best caviar, or how to make a ‘real’ sazerac.”
This high regard for food of quality is part of what distinguishes Ellsworth – the ingredients are not only seasonal, but also organic, and the team have personal relationships with their suppliers. Their long time supplier Joël Thiébault having recently retired, they are currently visiting farms in Burgundy, Normandy and Brittany on the lookout for new farmers, while working with locavore supplier, Terroir d’Avenir. Braden hopes to one day open their own farm to grow organic produce for their restaurants, but for the moment, he and Laura have a very active, hands-on role in running their restaurants, paying attention to every detail with great care.
Laura’s ideal day in Paris:
In the morning: to Blé Sucré for the best croissant and pain au chocolat in Paris, then a stroll through the Marché d’Aligre. Up for morning booze? Then a quick glass of muscadet and some oysters at Baron Rouge. If it’s nice out, a quick stroll on La Coulée Verte René Dumont, the elevated walkway in the 12th, with beautiful foliage and some peace from Paris traffic. Then back down to stop by Passerini Pasta for some amazing fresh pasta to cook later. If it’s the weekend: to see Caroline and eat some delicious seafood at Clamato in the afternoon. Maybe go to Septime Cave to get some wine to go with the pasta for later. A quick stop at the Musée de la Chasse et Nature and a bite and drink at Ellsworth, of course. Then head home home early because visitors are usually not here to see us, but our adorable dog, Tatie. And we have that pasta from Passerini to attend to!
34 rue de Richelieu
hours: Tuesday to Saturday- 12h30 t0 14h30 (lunch), Monday to Saturday- 19h to 22h30 (dinner), Sunday- 11h30 to 15h (brunch)
closed: Monday lunch & Sunday dinner
phone: +33 (0)1 42 60 59 66