Dinner in Paris

Ok, I have a number of posts for Paris and I have no particular order. My time there was short and it was mostly spent in the basement of a building setting up the new network, but the free time I had I feel as though was well spent.

My last trip to Paris, which I still haven’t posted about (the film is still on 2 disposable cameras), I ate very well. Two or three of the meals I had were just amazingly satisfying. However, it was during these times that the stress of knowing very little French was overwhelming. It’s very hard to look at a menu and have no clue what 1/2 of it is. So there’s a little adventure involved. This time around, my first night was a late night (finished work around 9:30pm) and I let my French coworkers choose and they wanted Italian. Good pizza, but not French food. My second night, I wanted French food, but I was tottering around exhausted and didn’t want to stress too much about it. I found a review in a crappy guidebook I had about a place that pretty much did steak called Le Relais De l’Entrecote. So I braved the cold and trekked out to find it. I walked up to it, realizing it was a Saturday and worried it would be a little full. Well, it was packed to the gills. Being very tired, I ended up settling for a baguette, cheese, swiss cookies and some Belgian beer. Not bad, but not quite the same.

Sunday rolled around and I decided that this place seemed intriguing. It was in a posh section of the VIIe arrondissement but the street it was on was full of mostly quiet, relaxed restaurants and this one was teeming. I figured, Paris being a city of late, marathon dinners, I would go near there and see when they began seating people. I showed up around 6pm and the place is pitchblack. But there’s already 4 people waiting out front and a sign on the door shows they open for dinner at 7pm on Sundays. Still, it’s completely dark inside. It’s freezing, so i head down the street a ways to get a beer and warm up. I show up at a quarter to seven and the line has only increased to about 8-10 people in front of me but the restaurant is still empty and dark. It nears 7pm and the line is about 20 people. Suddenly, at almost exactly 7, I see a couple of people stirring inside (you knew it was 7pm because the Eiffel Tower was completely lit at the top of the hour). Then, the lights flip on, the doors open and they start seating us.

I didn’t have to worry about my crappy language skillz because there was no menu. I got a nice seat i a corner to take in all the action and a friendly waitress wearing some sensible version of a french maid outfit. She asked if I wanted wine (yes, a house red please), water (still) and how I wanted my steak (medium). Meanwhile, in 10 minutes, the place was full, a line for the second seating was forming already. They started with a nice simple salad of greens, walnuts and some sort of mustard-based dressing. They have a private label house red which was nice.

Then out came the steak and frites:parissteakdinner.jpg

The frites were tasty and the steak was nicely cooked. The sauce was interesting. Apparently, it’s one of those ‘we’ll never tell you the secret ingredients’ kind of sauces. There was definitely olive oil and mustard in it (they like mustard), but beyond that, I have no idea. But it was all really really good. Even crazier, the portion seemed a little small, but I was feeling happy and mopping up the sauce with some bread when out comes my waitress with another portion. Seconds! Cool! I finished it off with a helping of Lemon Sorbet soaked in a shot of Vodka. The dessert was when it was revealed that they technically have a menu. It’s for wines (but everyone was having the house red) and desserts.

So basically, they march people in and they serve you one dish that they do very well. I’ve never been to a restaurant where people are waiting outside for it to open. They operated on their own schedule and they knew what they were doing. I walked out full and very content to find there was still a line standing out in the freezing cold. Another successful French meal! Here’s the inside which was nicely decked out and felt like a large French bistro:


2 Responses to “Dinner in Paris”

  1. Mom and Dad Badanes Says:

    Great concept. We have discovered something called Ugly Steaks here in Tucson. You’ll get a chance to comment in just a few weeks. YEA!

  2. matt Says:

    Mmmmm. Looking forward to it! And only a couple of weeks, too! 🙂