Stephanie and David Le Quellec opened their fish, shellfish and crustacean restaurant in Paris in early October. They offer very contemporary seafood cuisine, which does not forget the basics of good food.
On the ground floor, the dining room of Vive Restaurant, Maison Mer. | Antoine Marceau
Vive, a new restaurant called Maison Mer, has opened its doors in the space of a previous establishment dedicated to timeless seafood for a century: Rech Restaurant.
Founded in 1925, this institution dedicated to the sea, bought by Alain Ducasse in 2007, moved last year to the garden of the House of Latin America, 217, Boulevard Saint-Germain (75007 Paris).
“Taking over Rech creates a double pressure because the restaurant has always existed and because we are succeeding Alain Ducasse!”Chef Stephanie Le Quellec believes in Figaro. “When I was passing by I saw it was for sale. I wasn’t looking to open a business at the time, but I asked to visit anyway. It was signed two days later. I act on instinct!”
In partnership with her husband David Le Quellec, the two-star chef chose this sea table to pay homage to her husband’s Breton origins and highlight the best fishing products of Normandy, where the couple now lives after spending ten years in Provence.
At Vive Restaurant, Maison Mer, bluefin tuna, pesto, mint and coriander. | Antoine Marceau
Stephanie and David Le Quelec now have a quality network among shore fishermen, small boats and oyster farmers: they will guarantee fishing that respects the rhythms of nature.
The soul of the kitchen
Between the two of them, it is a passion that was born twenty years ago when they met in the kitchen of the Four Seasons George V in Paris: their journey, their history intertwined with a gourmet destiny.
Stéphanie Le Quellec won two stars at the Prince de Galles in 2019 before creating La Scène, Avenue Matignon, which was quickly crowned as it opened with two macaroons (“A Thunderous Return”, writes Red Guide). David, meanwhile, refined his style by moving from Tailvent to the Four Seasons and most recently to the Moulin Rouge for six years where he entertained night owls. The two met at La Cine, but also to launch a new generation of caterers: MAM, theirs “Kitchen room dedicated to home cooking”.
Here they are now reunited at Vive, Maison Mer, and it is David who will be in charge of the restaurant’s kitchen with Stephanie’s support, looks and passion. “It’s natural, I’m an earthling”, he analyzed, is beneficial. This Parisian restaurant is a fusion of their culinary philosophies.
The soul of the place
It was Steve Zoma and Stephen Aslania’s Costa Agency that designed the beautiful decor of the Vive restaurant.
Vive Restaurant, Maison Mer, at the counter. | Antoine Marceau
On the ground floor there is a long spectacular bar of Patagonian granite mixed with marble, sandstone slabs, but shimmering benches mixed with shades of coral by decorator Pierre Frey recall the animals of the School of Pont-Aven.
Upstairs, fifty seats, two rooms (one of which can be privatized for twenty people), oak wood and long bronze velvet benches.
On the table and on the first floor wall is a revelation: scale workshop. It is a work by artist Victor Fontaine, unveiled for the opening of Vive. From his workshop in Caudeville-sur-Mer in Normandy, Victor Fontaine created both raw and poetic objects inspired by the bay landscape of Mont-Saint-Michel and the Chaussee Islands.
Mural by Victor Fontaine. | Antoine Marceau
He makes a hamper of oysters in a bread basket, and the shells are lifted one by one into a magnificent wall fresco. This same inspiration can be found in a series of butter dishes, vases, sculptures and knives.
Knife series by Victor Fontaine. | Antoine Marceau
Note the cupboard for mature fish, a rarity in Paris and the bet for cuisine of discovery and experimentation.
Why the maturation of fish?
Parisians should soon be enthusiastic about this new approach to fish.
At Vive Restaurant, the fish maturation cabinet. | Antoine Marceau
Allowing them to mature for three, four or even ten days gives them an unexpected dimension. They gain in flavor density, new textures and sometimes become more refined while approaching crispness and offer a different perspective on classics such as sole, turbot, mackerel or even monkfish, then stripped of its watery side. Along with them, Thai spices, fresh herbs and homemade herbs…
The kitchens are open to the dining room and you can see David and his teammates working behind the stove with the pastry chef Pierre Chirac who takes his classics: paris-breast and some frozen fruit whose secrets he has.
The recipes boast Brittany’s penchant for all types of fish: raw, marinated, grilled, pan-fried, steamed but only from a French source.
At Viv Restaurant, maison mer, flame-cooked veal, tomato bone jus. | Antoine Marceau
David Le Quellec has Brittany in his blood for six generations, he will keep the vision of fish coming from this open sea to Normandy, Brittany, the Basque coast, the Mediterranean Sea from the North Sea to the French coast without forgetting the fresh water.
At Viv Restaurant, Maison Mer, an array of dishes. | Antoine Marceau
The fish is not too creamy or too buttery, but instead comes in a broth with a drizzle of olive oil.
Stephanie and David Le Quellec want to desecrate great French cuisine. “For us, the plate is good, which is the least we can do, but what drives us is to go further: put customers at the center of the house. They can be happy for the good mood that goes out of the food. What we like is lively, personal, unexpected. cooking.”
According to the diet
Long scale bus: oysters (from 9 euros for three); Chaussee Priory (€18 for six); sea urchins (€9 for six); whelks mayo (12 euros); organic pink shrimp (18 euros for six); raw langoustine (18 euros for two pieces); raw or fried shrimp (38 euros for three pieces); langoustine in court-bouillon (30 euros for three pieces); Live bouquets sautéed in semi-salted butter (28 euros).
Long live caviar caviar: Baeri Royal (65 euros for a 30 gram box); Ossetre Prestige (€80 for a 30g box); Crystal (95 euros for 30 grams).
Long live sardines in oil: from Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, toast, semi-salted butter, vintage 2016 (14 euros); Sardines (18 euros).
Long live the classic: Stuffed clams (€20 for six); fresh anchovy fillet, vive marinade (13 euros); Tarama revitalized with celery oil (11 euros); brioche bread bathed in crab juice (17 euros); Brown crab with court-bouillon, raw coral cream (42 euros).
Sea bream in ceviche, Maison Mer, at Vive Restaurant. | Antoine Marceau
Long live wine: sea bream in ceviche (22 euros); red tuna, mint-coriander pesto (26 euros); Oil mixed with amberjack, bergamot, marjoram (23 euros); Scallops in their shells bathed in Cremona mustard (34 euros).
Viv Restaurant, Maison Mer, scallops bathed in Cremona mustard. | Antoine Marceau
Long live the heat: Rock soup (19 euros); tomato bone juice (36 euros); catch of the day, whipped with white soy-miso butter (13 euros for 100 grams); Golden octopus, broth infused with sweet harissa (79 euros whole, 49 euros half).
At Viv Restaurant, maison mer, golden octopus, broth laced with sweet harissa. | Antoine Marceau
Long live the plant: Porcini mushrooms with blackcurrant vinegar (23 euros); Lettuce, pear, heart of bottarga (12 euros); Passionate apples with boiled juice (13 euros); Roasted cauliflower with seaweed butter and lemon (14 euros); Baby spinach, ponzu vinaigrette, dried bonito (13 euros).
At Vive restaurant, Maison Mer, cauliflower is fried with seaweed butter and lemon. | Antoine Marceau
Long live sweetness: Affogato, an Italian frozen dessert (11 euros); frozen golden kiwi (9 euros each); Dear Floating Island (20 euros); Fig tart, walnut ice cream (21 euros); Pan-fried pecan cookies, vanilla ice cream (19 euros)
Pan Pecan Cookies at Vive Restaurant, Maison Mer. | Antoine Marceau
Restaurant Viv, Maison Mer: 62, Avenue des Ternes, 75017 Paris. Tel: 01 42 94 07 90. Cocktail and sake bar, fish counter. 50 to 160 euros and more cards with caviar. Booking is recommended. No closure.
Restaurant La Scène–Stéphanie Le Quellec: 32, avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris. Tel: 01 42 65 05 61. Lunch menu serves 4 for 135 euros, original version for 7 serves for 250 euros, rich history for 335 euros. Cards from 135 to 230 euros. Closed on Saturday and Sunday.
At the entrance to the restaurant, on the ground floor, Bistrot La Seine is open for lunch only from Monday to Saturday. Cards from 42 to 100 euros. Reservation by phone only.