Beginning a few years ago but picking up momentum in the past nine months, hamburgers and cheeseburgers have invaded [Paris]. Anywhere tourists are likely to go this summer — in St.-Germain cafes, in fashion-world hangouts, even in restaurants run by three-star chefs — they are likely to find a juicy beef patty, almost invariably on a sesame seed bun.
"It has the taste of the forbidden, the illicit — the subversive, even," said Hélène Samuel, a restaurant consultant here. "Eating with your hands, it's pure regression. Naturally, everyone wants it."
...."It's not just a fad," said Frédérick Grasser-Hermé, who, as consulting chef at the Champs-Élysées boîte Black Calvados, developed a burger made with wagyu beef and seasoned with what she calls a black ketchup of blackberries and black currants. "It's more than that. The burger has become gastronomic."
Some of the most celebrated chefs in the city have taken up the challenge. Yannick Alléno, who earned a third Michelin star in 2007 for his precise, rarefied cuisine at Le Meurice, serves a thick, succulent hamburger at his casual restaurant, Le Dali. Alléno's baker, Frédéric Lalos, a winner of one of the country's fiercest cooking competitions, makes the buns. With smoked bacon, lettuce, dill pickles, mustard, mayonnaise and fries, the burger at Le Dali costs 35 euros, about $56.