Quite simply, oyster heaven


Early yesterday morning I walked past Huiterie Regis on my way back from a sunny run in the Luxembourg Gardens, and there on the doorstep were two huge sacks of crushed ice, waiting for Regis to arrive and begin opening oysters. My brain went into overdrive and shouted, LUNCH! A few hours later, there I was. From the moment you approach this spotless, all white postage-stamp sized oyster bar, you know that you are in for a treat. Clean, briny, top-of-the line oysters are what you will find here, especially the Marennes-Oléron from the Poitou-Charentes in Southwest France, aged in ocean beds for up to two months once they come of age. At Regis there is room for only 14 diners indoors and 8 on tiny sidewalk tables outdoors. Regis is simple and efficient: You must have at least a dozen oysters per person here, and you can watch as the oysters are opened before you eyes. You should have no trouble polishing off their tiny fine de claires, delights that taste of the ocean; or my other favorite, the meatier spéciales de claire No. 3 (the smaller of the two choices), with a true hint of  hazelnuts, oysters that leave your palate with a welcoming, cleansing aftertaste for hours to come. Now I know that we have all been taught different rules of etiquette on oyster eating. Many people return empty shells to the platter. I was taught that this is bad etiquette. Rather, one carefully stacks one's empty oyster shells on the dinner plate, avoiding any possibility of contamination to the original platter. (photo). There is wine by the glass, carafe, or bottle. A favorite here is Alphonse Mellot’s Sancerre Desmoiselles, a truly stunning Sauvignon Blanc with chalky, mineral-rich overtones. The oysters and wine seem to shake hands at the table! Depending upon the season, Regis may also have a few cooked shrimp, some sea urchins (oursins), raw palourdes (clams). There is a carry-out as well as delivery service for opened oysters. From 11 to 37 euros the dozen.

HUITERIE REGIS, 3, rue Montfacon, Paris 6. Tel: +33  1 44 41 10 17. Métro: Mabillon/Saint Germain des Prés. Open: Tuesday-Sunday, 12-3 pm and 6:30-11 pm Closed Monday www.huiterieregis.com. Email: contact@huiterieregis.com 26, 29, and 31-euro tasting menus. Oysters 18.50-59 euro per dozen.