Rech: Where to Eat Seafood in Paris

Rech: Where to Eat Seafood in Paris

In her memoir, My Life in France, the witty cook Julia Child – who, of course, introduced a generation of North Americans to great French cooking – fondly recalled the sole meunière she dined on in Rouen soon after disembarking from America as a culinary revelation.

I am very much inclined to agree with this late, great and very gracious lady. Some people may worry about the bath of melted butter which the flour-dredged fish is sautéed in. However, since nutritionists seem to change their tune about what’s healthy and what’s not every other day, one of the only sensible things to do on a trip to Paris is to tuck into this simple but impeccable delicacy at a place which does it right.

The seafood brasserie Rech, first established in 1925, has turned into one of the best fish houses in Paris since Alain Ducasse took it over several years ago. Talented young chef Adrien Trouilloud is supplied daily by Jégo Frères, a first-class fishmonger in Etel on the Gulf de Morbihan in Brittany, and his menu evolves according to the seasons and the catch of the day. The charming Eric Mercier runs the dining room with the precision and efficiency of a Swiss stationmaster – though with considerably more humour – and the cooking at this casually elegant restaurant warrants the hefty prices which increasingly rare wild seafood now fetches.

A recent dinner with a Saudi Arabia-based friend, who was craving a seafood feast during a visit to Paris, began with two superb starters–poached and raw langoustines in a delicate soup of baby peas with cedrat and a simple but dazzlingly fresh carpaccio of mullet with a potent punctuation of sea urchin.

A thick slice of Breton brill came with white asparagus and a beautifully made citrus-spiked mousseline, while John Dory with shellfish in a herb-green jus proved the perfect antidote to desert life for the visiting expat.

Non-seafood eaters are catered for as well, with dishes such as a fricassee of chicken, crayfish or steak. It’s a good idea to order one of the famous éclairs – coffee or chocolate, the latter with chocolat from Ducasse’s own atelier near the Bastille – at the beginning of the meal lest they sell-out and they often do. Rech is an excellent choice for a suave and very Parisian meal.

Rech, 62 avenue des Ternes, 75017 Paris. Tel: +33 1 58 00 22 03. Open every day. Lunch menu €39. Average à la carte €90.

Based in Paris, restaurant columnist Alexander Lobrano has published a new book, Hungry for France, along with a new edition of his popular Hungry for Paris. Find these books and more in our bookstore.

From France Today magazine

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