Last year, in March, I had a fabulous dinner at Le Relais de Venise in New York (check my post about Le Relais de Venise in NYC, NY). The restaurant was an emanation of a restaurant in Paris, with an interesting concept: they only serve steak frites, but with a secret sauce that some say is made with chicken liver...
So, as we were in Paris last month we decided to go to the original restaurant, located Porte Maillot. The concierge of the hotel told us how to go and warned us not to be scared by the wait! We were fortunate and only waited 10 minutes, having to share our table with a complete stranger (we just had to imagine it was a communal table) so we would not have to stay in the cold until a table for two was available.
The restaurant was a bit different: no dimmed light, more casual but with the staff wearing the same maid uniform as in New York. So, ordering was simple: just tell them what temperature you would like for your steak and order wine or water. It translates by this way on the table's paper cloth:
It says: Bouteille d'eau large (large bottle of water), A Point (Medium) and Saignant (Medium rare).
Similar to New York, they started off by bringing the house salad.
A simple salad made of lettuce and walnuts.
Then, came the steak and French fries!
The French fries were divine: soft in the inside and crispy on the outside. The steak was very good with a preference for the medium rare one rather then the medium. In fact, you always get two servings, but as Jodi has a small appetite, they proposed to give me her portion. I could not refuse: it would have been rude! That is how I ended up trying a third portion of steak frites cooked medium...
One element on the plate that was interesting was the sauce: contrary to the one served in New York, it was less concentrated, separated, but had a similar smooth taste. I loved it!
Of course, we needed to end up the comparison with dessert! We ordered the vacherin that was the same dessert I tried in New York.
This dessert is a succession of meringue cookie and ice cream, topped with whipped cream and swimming in a chocolate sauce. We inhaled it!
If I compare the two restaurants, I would say that:
- The French fries are similar.
- The meat is better in New York.
- The sauce is slightly better in New York because more held all together.
- The vacherin dessert is better in Paris because less sweet and with a better quality ice cream.
Regardless, this is a great place and I will definitely go back. It is a fantastic concept that in fact Chef Spike Mendelsohn is thinking of copying in a way (yes, I watched Life After Top Chef...).
Enjoy (I did)!
Le Relais de Venise - L'entrecote
271 Boulevard Pereire
75017 Paris, France