Le Relais de l’Entrecote, Saint Germain, Paris

Certain “Institutions”…

4K6A1906…Are better explained, if I may paraphrase, with the old adage of ‘You don’t tell your friends about your hairdresser, or your cleaning lady’. Such is the case with Le Relais de L’Entrecote, a literal house of the Paris bistrot classic steak frites, or, more simply, steak and chips.

It’s the sort of place Parisians drove to by the hundreds, at peak dining times the line has been known to stretch out the door and onto the zebra crossing (Cars don’t seem to mind, it’s as if they understand). It’s a place little known to tourists, and for good reasons, because residents of Paris want to keep this one to themselves. The decor, while it looks showy does nothing to stand out on the corner of Boulevard du Montparnasse in the heart of Saint Germain. There are actually 4 of these hidden treasures, but we picked the one closest to home.

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You walk in, you’re handed what looks like a lovely hand-written menu with a twist. The charming waitress comes over to take your order, but the only thing she asks is what colour you’d like your meat. Because, and therein lies the beauty of this place; the entrecote is the only thing on the menu.

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So, you choose your drinks (Don’t expect a stellar wine list, as Chateau de Saurs graces every listing and it’s the sort of polish you drown your casserole in) and the wait begins.

4K6A1917About 5-10 minutes later, and the is plate of deliciousness is wafted in front of you. A juicy, tender, crisp, flavourful and above all tasty piece of steak arrives, cooked just how you like it. Served with the classic french fries and drowned in the houses own secret sauce, you take a moment to breathe it all in, absorb your surroundings and prepare for the onslaught. One bite, and your tastebuds are drowned in a medley of flavours that just work so well together. The crisp baguette on the side delights as it adds texture to every piece.

And just when you finish that mountain? The waitress again appears, this time for a refill. No, not wine. She actually tops up your plate, just like nonna, with yet more steak, chips and dipping sauce! Whilst it spells double trouble for your hips, it’s impossible to say no, and before we knew it we were two plates down so heavily satiated with protein and carbs that I could reel off euphoric superlatives all night.

4K6A1925I had the creme brulee, yet again. Didn’t disappoint.

4K6A1924Even L’s meringue medley goes to show you that you don’t need Michelin stars to win over the hearts of diners. She loved it.

So where does that leave us? Thoroughly impressed. Dare I say it, but at €80 including the mandatory 15% service charge, it was an absolute belter. I feel guilty for having enjoyed this more than last nights meal.

I wish someone back home had the stones to come up with a concept so devilishly simple, because this steak may have just been the best one I have ever eaten.

Le Relais de l’Entrecote, Saint Germain
101 Boulevard du Montparnasse, Paris, France
http://www.relaisentrecote.fr

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