Clamato in Paris reminds me of the type of trendy, seafood restaurant you see in Boston. A raw bar, coupled with small, creative plates that incorporate different types of fresh seafood with international ingredients. An eclectic, carefully curated wine list is possible. In short - a Parisien version of a cross between the likes of Neptune Oyster, Eventide Oyster (Portland, ME), Select Oyster, and maybe even the crudos at Bar Mezzana.
Clamato is very, very popular. Part of the reason is that it comes from the folks behind Septime, currently one of the most difficult bookings in Paris, period. It also doesn't take reservations, so folks line up when it gets busy.
We arrived before 7PM and were able to easily get a seat without a wait.
There are several oysters to try, mostly from France but also a few imports. They are much more expensive than the New England ones, and not necessarily better (though they were good and still fun to try).
The wine selection is small and not too expensive. We asked for recommendations and decided to try something a bit more unique, an orange wine, which we thought would pair well with the lighter seafood.
Scallops from Saint Mago were fresh and sweet. The pollock tiradito was alright, though didn't stand out as much.
There weren't too many choices for vegetables, so we went with this winter salad, which was refreshing and simple.
One of the best dishes we had that night was this interesting make-your-own endive "boat" filled with fresh squid from Oleron, rouille (a creamy aoili-like sauce made from olive oil, breadcrumbs, garlic, and chili), cucumbers, and hazelnuts. The combination of flavors and textures worked really well. The squid was also very fresh and served virtually raw, had a really nice texture.
General Thoughts - Clamato Paris
The concept is good and it's fun to try seafood from another region. Clamato is quite particular about how it sources its seafood, and the quality of the seafood is good. There were some standouts, such as the squid and the scallops.
The menu is quite small, and all the dishes are seafood-focused small plates or salads. This is not a good place for those who prefers heartier entrees or meat. In fact, Bryan didn't exactly feel full or satisfied after we ate, even though we had ordered a reasonably large part of the menu. This is why he added the deviled eggs at the end.
All in all, I can see why this place is so popular. The food is tasty, the ingredients are fresh and well sourced, and it has famous roots. There isn't much like it in Paris. However, for this Bostonian, it's fine and all, but doesn't necessarily blow me away to quite the same extent.
80 Rue de Charonne
75011 Paris, France