Tuesday, September 29, 2015

LA PERLE GRUISSANAISE - RESTAURANT REVIEW


This is what two dozen oysters, shrimp for three, and some odds and ends look like.
We wound our way through Gruissan on a gorgeous September Sunday, headed through the seaside town to the Med and La Perle. Friends had recommended La Perle to us as the place to go for seafood fresh off the boat. Cathey and Connie had yet to have their first R-Month oysters, so off we went.

The parking lot was full. This is not your typical restaurant where you find a table, read a menu, wait for the wait staff, and place your order. Instead, we joined a line snaking past tubs of fresh oysters for sale and tried to figure out how things worked.

As the line advances, you come to a chalkboard with prices and a guy who asks what you'd like. If you appear to be a newbie, he prompts you. We wanted a couple of dozen oysters, shrimp for three, and a few raw mussels to taste. Did we want lemon? Yes. Mayonnaise or aioli? Aioli. Wine? Yes, a liter of white. He gave us a numbered, handwritten stub that we took to a cashier. She asked if we'd been there before. No. Keep your stub. In about 15 minutes, you come back and pick up your food. We paid and were given our wine, a carafe of water, and a plastic garbage bag.

You can choose from tables and chairs indoors or picnic tables outside facing the water - the etang (bay), not the Med. We found a table under a little thatched umbrella. Connie and I went back inside and picked up six glasses - real glass, three plates, knives and forks and lots of paper napkins, and a bucket for the oyster and mussel shells only. The plastic bag would hold the rest of the trash. After a few minutes, I went back for the seafood, oysters on a bed of ice, opened and with the shells replaced so that they almost looked as if they hadn't been, good-sized pink shrimp scattered throughout, the mussels and lemon halves and a little jar of aioli on top.

La Perle reminded us of the seafood shacks with which we are familiar in Louisiana. Off the boat fresh. Sweet shrimp. Briny if not overly plump oysters. Raw mussels were a new taste, interesting but not in our wheelhouse.

61 euros and change for the lot. Just great. Next time we'll bring hot sauce.

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