I just re-confirmed a favorite restaurant in Paris, L’Ecailleur du Bistrot, not far from la Bastille.
I’ve posted plenty of dishes from this seafood haven, and after yesterday’s lunch there I have to say more. Owned by the Cadoret family who are renowned for their Breton oysters, and whom I’ve also reported on before (FRENCH FARMHOUSE COOKBOOK), this restaurant stakes its reputation on seafood so fresh you can smell the ocean breeze when you walk in the door. The pristine freshness of the seafood is one thing – my neighbor at the next table called it “epoustouflant” (flabbergasting). The cooking is another. Here it is, quite simply, faultless. Everything, from briny razor clams, fat red lobster, quivering oysters, tiny bay scallops in their thick, grey shells, to slender yet meaty sole, comes to the table perfectly prepared.
Yesterday, I had razor clams accompanied by a light, tart, mayonnaise with the slightest hint of anchovies, just a whisper. Alongside was a shaved fennel salad with hazelnuts and orange. The razor clams, by definition finicky to cook because they turn to rubber in an instant, were succulent and oh so tender. Following that was a sole from the shores of Normandy, prepared like the miller’s wife did it, dusted in flour, browned in butter, served whole. It was a dream.
Petoncles, tiny bay scallops, were sweet and delicious too, and the risotto with cockles was a creamy portion fit for four.
If you’ve got room for dessert, the classic tart au citron vert, a puckery lime tart with a delicate pâte sablé crust, is the ideal choice.
L’Ecailleur du Bistrot, 22, rue Paul Bert, Paris 11. Tel: 01.43.72.76.77
Open Tuesday through Saturday from noon-2:30pm; 7:30-11 p.m. Reservations a must.