Sensational Seafood

The menu at L’Ecailler Du Bistrot is all seafood and it is decorated like a boathouse, with wooden boats and painted murals of shellfish. The chalkboard menu features daily catches and is loaded with a large selection of different oysters. In fact, one thing to know is that the French love oysters — they are as plentiful and taken as seriously as the baguette. You order oysters by the number, which represents the size of the oyster (No. 1, 2, 3, and 4) and the beach (e.g., Utah Beach).

As you walk into L’Ecailler, there will be a person on your left, working behind a sink and counter to prepare large plateaux (platters) of shellfish made to order. Some platters are so large that they take up whole table — a table of two next to us ordered a platter of 36 different oysters. This was their entire dinner. The platter was the size of a small car tire. I ordered a platter of different oysters, including Utah Beach vert (green), and some (crevettes rose) pink shrimp. Served on a platter of ice and fresh seaweed (for decoration), the oysters are so good they don’t need to be served with red vinegar or shallots — you eat them plain (or with a sprinkle of lemon, which is unnecessary). The Utah Beach vert oysters were particularly good, slightly briny but plain delicious, an excellent way to start a meal.

My wife, meanwhile, tried an appetizer of cold nems (these are similar to Asian eggrolls, but very light), stuffed with fresh crab (torteau). The crab was fresh and delicious – and a great light way to begin.

For our main dishes, I had scallops (coquille st. jacques), cooked in the shell, and topped with a little caviar. They were not browned at all, which I thought would be disappointing, but the fresh flavor of the scallops shined through. They came with pomme purée (buttered mashed potatoes), which were without a doubt some of the very best buttered mashed potatoes I have had in Paris, and anywhere — light, fluffy, but rich and buttery with a wonderful sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and fleur de sel (sea salt), that was simply divine.

22 Rue Paul Bert, 75011, (33) 01 43 72 76 77. Lunch and dinner, Tues. – Sat.

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