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Le Dome Cafe

108 Boulevard du Montparnasse,
Phone: +33 1 43 35 25 81

If you’re looking for an old school brasserie to sup on oysters and Chablis, Le Dome in Montparnasse is a fine idea.  (Ernest Hemingway and Henry Miller made a regular habit of Le Dome.) With bragging rights to a Michelin star and its own seafood shop just around the corner, the kitchen’s got today’s catch at its fingertips.  As is often the case in seafood brasseries in Paris, the shellfish is on jewelry-like display at the entrance of the eatery, everything from Gillardeau and Fines De Claires oysters to Clams, Mussels and Langoustines.  The space is a warm, cozy spot (especially good for a chilly night), outfitted in red-and-gold velvet banquettes, wood paneling along the walls and dangling light fixtures shrouded in lampshades.

domeThis is a fruits de mer platter kind of spot, so you’ll want to try whatever’s in season.  Game for anything, we were steered away from the Gillardeau (typically my preference) to sample our server’s favorite mollusks; the very of the sea, briny Tsarskaya deom Parcs St. Kerber and my new favorites, the small and sweet Perle de L’Imperatrice from Mont St. Michel. Our very reserved but dogmatic server insisted we use no lemon at all. Nothing but a little freshly cracked pepper.  As I love a good  bread basket, Le Dome’s is good and worth the carbs; crusty, personal-sized baguettes with soft, but nothing-to-write-home about butter.

bouillabaisseThey’re famous for their Sole Meuniere, fish soup, and Bouillabaisse (for two), which arrives at the table in two parts; a piping hot pot of pinkish fish broth and a silver tray of all sorts of white fish, from Red Mullet to Whiting and St. Pierre.  Once the fish is filleted, it’s dropped into your bowl and ladled with this gorgeously, briny broth.  It comes with properly toasted slivers of a baguette and a damn fine rouille to thicken off the broth… if that’s your thing.  Either way, it’s a wonderful bowl of soup on a chilly or rainy night in Paris.

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