When we arrived there the other evening, the Fish Club felt more like a nightclub, with its low lighting, low tables and not-so-low sound levels being produced by trendy-looking groups of people. We had arrived for the dreaded second seating – although I suppose the first seating is even more dreaded, since there’s a good chance you will be asked to leave before you are ready to do so.
In this instance, however, there was no problem at all: we were warmly greeted by one of the waiters and immediately ushered to our table. That table, however, did turn out to be something of a problem. I was fairly comfortably seated on an armchair, but my poor long-legged companion had to sit uncomfortably on a low stool with his knees bumping against what is really a coffee table. The two-level restaurant has a boudoir-trendy decor (patterned wallpaper, colorful little sofas and armchairs) with a touch of industrial chic (some kind of metal contraption on the
ceiling above the bar), which looks great but is less than practical.
Another super-friendly waiter came over and hunkered down next to us with his back against the wall (he did this every time he came over; it must be murder on the back bending over to talk to customers at those low tables). He explained that the menu has a Peruvian bent, with lots of ceviches and other fish dishes served in the form of the currently popular small plates. We asked for help on a wine choice from another waiter, possibly the sommelier, who recommended a very pleasant 2010 Clos Saint Fiacre Sauvignon Blanc for €34 from the extensive wine list with a wide range of prices but rather few on the lower end.
We started with the fish croquettas, which were perfectly cooked – dry-crispy on the
outside and moist inside – but were a bit bland, as fish croquettes usually are. They were livened up, however, by a zingy mayonnaise. With them we had delicious baby-octopus
brochettes with a nice barbecue flavor, tender texture and a touch of heat from bits of chorizo.
Next up was a lobster sandwich, which looked distressingly small when it arrived, but proved to be chock-full of succulent lobster meat. The soft white bread of the roll was soaked with
the positively luscious, buttery sauce but wasn’t the least bit soggy. Alongside it was another sublime dish: the confusingly named “mixte chaud” ceviche, which turned out to be
ceviche of different types of fish, including calamari, shrimp, cockles, etc., covered with a warm sauce containing tiger’s milk (the marinade for the ceviche) and a bell-pepper sauce. On the side, we had a dish of tamales,
the best and lightest I have ever tasted, in a creamy corn sauce.
We were on a roll and continued with both of the two desserts offered on the menu. They were up to the high standards of the previous dishes. The alfajores consisted of two
incredibly light sweet biscuits sandwiching banana and pistachio cream with a swirl of dulce de leche on the side. The other, called Ilanka, was a concoction of chocolate biscuit,
salted caramel, meringue, Ilanka ganache (I’m not sure what Ilanka means, but I am sure it was good) and bell-pepper cream.
It was all faultless and blissfully satisfying. The service remained warm and attentive – sometimes almost too much so – throughout the meal.
FigaroScope recently named The Fish Club one of the top 15 Paris restaurants of 2013. No argument there.Favorite