Between litchi, rhubarb, and passion-fruit martinis, I thought I’d seen some pretty exotic variations on a global-standard cocktail. But I recently found one that would’ve really thrown the Rat Pack for a loop. It comes with a very serious twist: the tuna martini at Pigalle. The Parisian bistro features a menu heavy on unexpected uses of unexpected ingredients, like pickled veggies and celery-root mousse, which appear in various dishes. It follows, then, that its signature martini isn’t so much sipped as scooped. Yet the effect is just as intoxicating as anything Sean Connery concocted as 007 (though for many, Bond is more swoon-inducing than anything any bartender could shake up).
There’s no gin-infused wasabi in this appetizer, but it’s still advisable to leave your expectations of Asian salads at the door. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that this martini does indeed arrive in the hallmark glass. It’s a cocktail that has a bit of an effervescence, as the tobiko, or fish eggs, have the texture of fine bubbles. It also has a kick, with spicy crème fraîche mingling in a bed of seaweed salad. To top it all off: a heaping scoop of raw sushi-style yellowfin tuna. When mixed, the tango of textures and tastes leaves your head swimming.
Available for $18 at Pigalle, 75 Charles Street South, in Boston. Call (617) 423-4944.