Always a month ahead of NY Times… Discovering an oyster bar restaurant in the neighborhood with Sophie

What do you know? Sometime it’s a month, but this time by a year. Sophie, owner of, who manages our apartment for us, took me to lunch at Huitererie Regis to meet her friend last June. She mostly wanted to patronize and support neighborhood restaurant as it is located half from her own place and our place in the 6th arr. For me, it was a chance to indulge in seafood… Here is the review in the NY Times and the location.

Published: June 24, 2007

A one-dish restaurant as fun and unusual as Huîtrerie Régis is rare, so it figures you’d find it in Paris, but only if you’re steered there. (I was escorted by my friend, the food writer Dorie Greenspan, who divides her time between Paris and New York.) The tiny place — maybe 20 people could crowd in — is in the Sixth Arrondissement, just off Boulevard St.-Germain.

A huîtrerie is an oyster bar, and Paris is a town that loves its huîtres; most of them come from not-too-far-away Brittany. That’s what you get in this white, clean, pleasantly lighted place: fresh-shucked raw oysters. (Poached shrimp is on the menu as well, but no one goes there for shrimp; it’s on the menu, I would guess, for non-oyster eaters who are dragged along by friends.) The oysters are served with appropriate wines: Sancerre, Muscadet, Pouilly-Fumé, Chablis, a couple of rosés and light reds and more. There is real service, real silverware, plenty of ice (and seaweed), dark bread with very good butter and mignonette sauce.

The sauce is overkill; even lemon is more than enough because the oysters have so much flavor. There are usually two or three sizes of four varieties, one of which is the increasingly rare belon (and expensive, too; these top out at 30 euros a dozen, almost $3.50 each at $1.36 to the euro). They are coppery tasting (really), large and flat. The remaining oysters, on my visit, were classified as fines de claires, spéciales de claires and pousse en claires, whose names describe the amount of time each spends growing out in a cleansing pond and the amount of space each is given.

Fines de claires, the least expensive (as little as 10 euros a dozen), spend about a month in the pond, with 20 oysters per square meter (about 11 square feet), which sounds pretty roomy to me; but the pousse en claires can be limited to three per square meter and continue to grow for up to six months. These are so good that for the first time in my life the belons were not my favorite oysters on the table.

To specialize, Huîtrerie Régis really must sell the best oysters possible and charge whatever makes sense, assuming people will bear the cost. And they do. The place is often packed. And the oysters are spectacular.

Huîtrerie Régis, 3 rue de Montfaucon; (33-1) 44-41-10-07.

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