Here’s the thing: I won’t go into a restaurant if it’s ugly. Don’t get me wrong, I like dive bars that offer potato skins, crappy coffee shops with BLTs on white bread, old-school falafel shops and anything that’s authentic… What I don’t like is hokey restaurants that try too hard. I’m not even lazy about my discrimination; I do the research. If we are going to a new restaurant, I check it out 100%. Thanks to the Internet, I can spy on a restaurant and it’s decor from afar and decide if I’m going to make the effort to go there. Yes, yes, yes the food has to be good as well. I’m looking for the whole package.
(If you asked me what my favorite restaurant in the entire world is, my answer would be Mrs. Wilkie’s in Savannah, Georgia. More on that in a different blog.)
So, I want to share with you a restaurant that fits perfectly into my Summer Series and happens to follow all of my criteria: aesthetically pleasing, charming, not quite the norm, with a menu that is worth leaving the comforts of my own home.
Le Lobster Bar in Paris!
I have been walking past this little restaurant for months, usually on Sundays, when it is closed. I have actually stopped in my tracks and thought, “Whomever designed this restaurant knows what they’re doing.” (I happen to be an expert at restaurant design because I won “Best Restaurant Design” at my interior design school. I also won for “Best Hair” the same day in the same class so that gives you an idea of my expertise and the level of professionalism at the school. I’m not sure which award I’m more proud of.) Anyway, as I peered into the windows of the restaurant I knew I would like it.
I think the best way to describe the decor is that it is, as my mother would say, very pulled together. It has a definite “concept” even though I hate that word. Everything was very well thought out, had its place, and made a little statement without being overly obvious or cheesy. Honestly though, they had me at the logo. Let’s take a look…
Have you ever seen a better logo for a lobster shop? The color are perfect, the font works and the overall design incorporates the theme of the restaurant subtly. Remember my motto: Keep it simple, stupid.
The second thing I noticed after the logo as I peered through the windows were the chairs. Those chairs! They make the whole restaurant. Look…
The dolphin tripod chairs are circa 1910 from the 1st class dining room of the SS Mary cruise ship.
The chairs could not have been cheap and the owner made a wise decision to invest in those suckers. However, a restaurant cannot survive on cool chairs alone. Luckily, Le Lobster Bar just keeps getting better. Lookie…
The banquette seating is circa 1950 from the SS Kenya Castle steam ship that sailed between Africa and Australia.
The map etched in the mirror represents the concept of the restaurant... A visual link between the two countries, France and America and their respective coasts... Brittany and Maine.
Considering this is actually a restaurant, we have to consider the menu, non? My second greatest trait is that I know how to read a menu and I can tell if the restaurant is going to be good. Aren’t I full of self complements today? What I like about Le Lobster Bar is that the menu is succinct. They know their specialties and they stick to it. No funny business. This is a lobster bar that serves lobster. I hate when French restaurants try to do American restaurants and add their own French touch. Case in point: there is a new hot dog restaurant in our neighborhood trying to be très American but they made a suicidal mistake… They offer avocados as a hot dog topping. Who the fuck uses an avocado as a hot dog topping? Oh, I know… The French. Le Lobster Bar has enough sense to stick to its guns and offer what it should offer… Classic seafood fare found in any port of coastal Maine or Brittany, France. Clam chowder, lobster rolls, whole grilled lobster, tuna burger and a crab roll. That’s it! Besides a few tapas, and two desserts including key lime pie, that is their entire menu… The way God intended.
I decided to order off of their menu… For research. I don’t make it a habit of having lobster on a Tuesday evening but I thought I would take one for the team and indulge. And boy am I glad I did! I ordered the lobster roll with French fries and that key lime pie. I ordered it TO GO because I had to get home to watch the latest episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County. The girls are in Tahiti this week and I needed to see Tamra make a white trash fool out of herself… I wasn’t disappointed. I wasn’t disappointed in the lobster roll either.
Taramas-rose, crabe, oursin which is basically seafood spread of shrimp, crab and sea urchin with blinis.
According to the owner and chef of Le Lobster Bar, Mathieu Mercier (a former filmmaker from Switzerland), the lobsters are sourced from Brittany, France which explains their richer fruity taste. The roll is a soft brioche and the sauce, oh the sauce (homemade tarragon mayonnaise). The fries are made from scratch using a variety of potatoes and extra virgin olive oil. The key lime pie made me want to move to the Florida Keys and read Hemingway novels. Delicious.
Monsieur Mercier spent part of his youth in Maine enjoying the real deal of lobster rolls, combined his hands-on design aesthetic and voilà…Le Lobster Bar was born. Let’s take a look at some of the details…
This little gem of a restaurant is a definite go to restaurant… Your eyes and taste buds will thank you.
Le Lobster Bar41 Rue Coquillière
Paris, France 75001
All photos taken by my multi-tasker caregiver, Victor.
Additionally, I would like to take a moment to thank all of you for making my little French finds sale a huge success. I’m so glad you liked everything. Merci beaucoup! I am getting everything ready to ship to you. The next sale will be in September. You can follow me on Instagram HERE for sale updates and sneak peeks!
*Something you don’t know about me? Well, actually, today it’s about Gracie. Since today’s blog is all about lobster, I thought I would tell you a little story about Gracie and seafood. As you know, Gracie is visiting my friend and her children at their summer house on the island of Mallorca, Spain. Gracie called me yesterday and dropped a bomb on me. A hysterical bomb. In the middle of our discussion about her adventures in Spain she says to me, “Oh, mommy, I’ve been eating a lot of fish since I’ve arrived.” Now, normally, this would be a normal sentence. However, not from my teenage daughter. For Gracie’s entire life, 20 years on Monday, August 10, she has refused to eat any sort of seafood. Not a shrimp, crab, salmon, not a tuna, nor lobster… Not even breaded fish sticks dipped in ketchup at elementary school! She won’t even try it. So when little Gracie told me that she had been “eating a lot of fish since her arrival to Mallorca” my first response was, “Oh, really, Gracie. You’ve been eating fish lately?” She said, “Yes. I love fish.” I rolled my eyes and asked her what kind of fish was she eating? Her response? “Octopus.” WTF! How do you go from 0 to 60 on the fish scale just like that? If she were going to eat fish I thought she would start with something neutral like a crab sushi roll but no, Gracie went full throttle and ate octopus! She then continued, “Last night for dinner we had a delicious white fish over a carrot purée and the previous night we had paella with mussels.”
This is the beauty of encouraging your children to travel, experience other customs, and let them be influenced by the cuisines of other cultures. Not that fish is another culture but for my daughter it is! She never would have had octopus if she were with me. She would’ve said, “Mommy, could you please tell the chef that I don’t eat fish.” And I would have! But here she was, without me, at a table where everyone else was getting octopus and she had no choice… And guess what, she loved it! Now if we could only get her to eat cheese. Considering she goes full throttle… Maybe I should suggest a nice ripe épouisse cheese to start?
Today is definitely a rose and thorn day. Gracie continued to tell me about her exciting adventures including a midnight boat ride after a late dinner that she said had the most beautiful views she’d ever seen… The moon over the navy blue waters along the rocky coastline of Mallorca. Then, I received an email from a friend who told me that her friend passed away yesterday. She had ALS. She also had a teenage daughter. I could literally feel my heart breaking. A flood of questions came to my head. Why did she have to die? Why did she have to get ALS? Why do I have ALS? Why did her daughter have to lose her mother? Why am I so lucky? Why do I still get to be here to see my daughter? When is my time? Does somebody named God up there have more for me to do? Am I supposed to solve some riddle of life before I go? Do I need to finish the season finale of The Real Housewives of New York? Do I need to get Gracie through another year of college? Do I need to have one more Thanksgiving? Do I need to teach Gracie how to make sole meunière now that she loves fish? Do I need to take a few more walks around Paris with David? What is keeping me here? Why am I not gone yet? Why did my friend’s friend with ALS have to leave yesterday? Why didn’t she get another day?
Why do any of us get another day? While I think about this, I’m going to spend the weekend hugging my cute husband, talking to my daughter on the phone reminding her to wear a life vest, eating bread chock full of gluten, take a walk along the Seine, laugh with my girlfriends, call some people and tell them I’m sorry for whatever reason, buy some flowers and appreciate every moment that I have left. May I suggest you do the same?