For generations, Paris has been serving seafood platters fit for kings. Just recently, though, has seafood made its way into the forefront of Parisian foodie favorites, like the many burgers and éclairs that came before it. Luckily for us foodies, seafood trending in Paris means raw oyster bars, abalone rillettes, lobster rolls, caviar and all kinds of delicious fruits de mer appearing much more frequently on the menus of our choice restaurants.
While I may not be from the Northeast, I do appreciate a good lobster roll. Paris hadn’t even heard of the lobster roll until the charming restaurant Lobster Bar — located just off the city’s Place des Victoires — opened up several weeks ago. One French magazine described it as “a lobster hot dog,” but we can all agree it’s so much more than that.
At Lobster Bar, the interior decor takes you directly to breezy Cape Cod, Mass. Beautiful wooden chairs and light fixtures salvaged from antique boats in France and England give the space substance, while the custom-made brass tables add a bit of glam to the ambiance. Highlights include a mirror that depicts a naval map between the Brittany coast of France and Cape Cod, and the marker art on the wall done sur mesure (custom) by the Swedish designers of Cheap Monday.
Started by Mathieu Mercier, whose main passions are “les bateaux et la bouffe” (boats and food), the screenwriter by day and restaurateur by night fulfills a childhood dream with Lobster Bar. Mercier brought his love for lobster rolls from Maine to Paris with impeccable timing, as Paris is crazy about all foods American, and currently all things seafood. Lobster Bar serves its lobster rolls with a perfectly light sauce, crispy salad, and quite possibly the best frites ever. The eatery fries Charlotte potatoes in extra virgin olive oil, and offers a delicious array of tarama, seafood rillettes (the return of abalone), Breton beers and natural wines. Open Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 2:30 p.m. for lunch, 8 to 10:30 p.m. for dinner.
Le Mary Celeste
The Candelaria group strikes again. After mastering tacos and tequila and successfully being the first to bring Brooklyn Brewery beer to Paris, it swiftly moved into the seafood arena with Le Mary Celeste (named after the one of the biggest maritime mysteries of all time). In keeping with the group’s dedication to using the best quality seasonal products, Le Mary Celeste proposes a fresh ceviche and raw bar through August.
Just don’t forget the cocktails — the naturally lit interior and eclectic decor at the eatery set the mood for a menu full of original takes on the classics. The Oliver’s Twist is one of the most interesting drinks at the bar, a well-balanced cocktail made with Brooklyn Lager, Rabarbaro, lemon and Tabasco. Bartender Carlos Madriz, previously of the iconic L’Hotel, creates homemade mixers and uses liquors from around the world to produce inspired cocktails to complement the fresh seafood and unique Asian-infused flavors on chef Haan Palcu-Chang’s (previously of Le Verre Volé) menu. Open daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The Fish Club
Known for its cocktails and ultra-cool addresses (the Curio Parlor, La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, and Prescription Cocktail), the Experimental Cocktail Group expanded into the restaurant scene last year with The Beef Club. Using only the finest meats and serving them in a New York-style atmosphere (think exposed brick walls, a white tile bar and warm lighting), The Beef Club continues to boast a two-week in advance waitlist. Opening in May is the group’s newest restaurant, The Fish Club. While no information has been officially released, it’s known that there will be a focus on ceviche and fresh cocktails, beers, and wine. Be sure to order the Pointy Snout caviar, an American roe that goes perfect with a glass of champagne.
Photos Courtesy of Christophe Madamour, Le Mary Celeste, Virgile Guinard