I am back at Le Relais De Venise, one of my favorite steak places in New York! I love the concept: they have a prix fixe menu for $26.95 (at the time of this post) where you get steak frites and a salad. There is no other food and you can only order alcohol, desserts (nice selection), tea and coffee. At least, there is no waiting for anybody to decide what they want!
This menu and concept is identical in all three locations: the original in Paris (opened in 1959), that I visited last winter, the one in London, that I saw when looking for what was supposed to be the best fish and chips in town and the one in New York.
What I did not notice in the one in New York last time, were the paintings on the wall representing scenes of Venice (well it is called Le Relais de Venise after all!). Go figure, in a French restaurant! The explanation is simple: the original original restaurant used to be an Italian restaurant and the owner left the decor as is, keeping the name.
The way it works is that they ask you for the temperature of the meat. It can be cooked blue (rare is already pretty red as you will see on a photo later, so blue? Do they bring the cow on the table at that point???), rare, medium and well done. To remember who wants what, they will map the table on the paper table cloth and write the customer's choice on it.
Then, they bring you a green salad with walnuts.
Then, there is a first serving of meat and fries. Yes, you read well: a first serving, meaning that there is a second one. But do not worry, it is not like a Man vs. Food challenge where they will serve you a huge amount of food! The servings are reasonable and the two will be close to what a regular serving would be in a brasserie. While you wait, you see the staff carrying the trays containing the fries and meats cooked at different temperature, the most impressive one being the stack of fries (no, this was not one portion!)! So, I got my first serving, asking for the sirloin steak to be rare.
And the second serving.
That time, I asked for some sauce on the fries! Like disco fries without cheese... The meat, sliced, was cooked perfectly and of good quality. I loved the sauce (it is a secret recipe) that was rich, slightly creamy and slightly salty. And with the fries, that was definitely delicious, softening the fries and pairing perfectly (as you can see they put lots of sauce the second time...).
Then was dessert! I did not pick Le vacherin du relais, one of their signature desserts, that I tried the last time I came here and also in Paris: it is a huge and very sweet dessert and at that point I started to be full. I preferred going for something "lighter" and cold, because, similar to my previous visit, it was warm in the restaurant. Therefore, I went for the Praline Liegeois.
It is a praline ice cream (very creamy) with whipped cream. Praline being one of my favorite ice cream flavors, I inhaled it!
I was also able to try the profiteroles that are made on the premises.
It was fantastic! The chocolate sauce was divine: made with dark chocolate, it was not too sweet and really had a great chocolate taste, not diluted, that completely bathed the profiteroles!
Steak frites is a brasserie and bistro standard. Having a place specialized in it, you can expect that they will make it good and I think that Le Relais de Venise delivers: great fries (soft inside and crispy outside with a nice golden color), delicious meat (sirloin, perfectly cooked) and fantastic secret sauce (people are still trying to figure out how it is made, some hinting that there might be chicken liver in it!). Know that there you cannot make reservations and, the last time I went, I noticed a lot of families.
Enjoy (I did)!
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!