Monday, June 30, 2008
Le Relais de Venise
During my last (and first) visit to Paris in February, I was unable to eat a proper Steak Frites. Sure, I went to Le Recrutement (terrible) and Brasserie d'Ile Saint Louis (not bad) but neither were truly memorable in a positive way, leaving me wanting for the definitive Steak Frites Experience.
Since I'm handicapped on my knowledge of Paris, I turned to more knowledgeable resources, namely Mark Bittman's article in the New York Times naming the Top Five Steak Frites in the city, for guidance. After researching the locations, I chose the one most readily accessible.
Across from the Palais d'Congress and up the stairs from the Porte Maillot Metro station is Le Relais de Venise. The weather was cool but sunny enough to enjoy an outdoor table.
First things first, where's the bathroom? Inside and up a very narrow staircase to the second level dining room and into the back across from the staff locker room are the two customer rest rooms. Typical European with individual stall/rooms.
Romaine Salad with chopped walnuts and horseradish vinaigrette.
Returning from my sojourn, I sat at my table and was queried as to my beverage preference. A red wine would be nice and off my waitress went to do something or other. A menu perhaps? Truth be told, I would never see a menu that day.
Evidently, menus are not necessary here as the choice is simple: steak and frites. Le Menu starting with a simple romaine salad with chopped walnuts and horseradish vinaigrette, along with some water and a bottle of Chateau Le Videau Cotes de Bourg. Perhaps not the Chateau La Tour, but not bad either.
Chateau Le Videau Cotes de Bourg
Not long after my drinking began did the steak arrive. A relatively small serving of perfectly au point meat slices covered in an herb butter sauce and a half plate of fries. The steak was beautifully cooked and had decent flavor and while the fries were freshly made, I found them to be a bit thin and slightly soft - as though it just wasn't cooked long enough to crisp.
To be honest, they were pretty good but my preference for thicker and crisper fries makes it tough on any frites.
Le Steak - Round One
When my steak first arrived, I thought the portion was a bit meager. That changed as I consumed the contents of my plate. When nearly done, I realized that the portion was pretty decent and probably just right with dessert. I wasn't expecting another helping of steak frites.
Making her rounds with silver platter in hand was our waitress. With platter in one hand and tongs in the other, she was ready to stamp out any remnants of hunger that her patrons may harbor. In a flash, a complete second serving of steak and frites appeared on my plate. Voila!
Le Steak - Round Two
If round one left me slightly wanting, round two was too much. However, by this point, I had drank so much wine on an empty stomach that it really didn't matter: I was inebriated. My judgment was hindered. The world was a funny place. I ended up calling The Bob in Hawaii to see what was going on and compare notes on recent females, as well as make plans for my visit to Honolulu next month. Good thing I was sitting because I probably couldn't walk very straight.
By time dessert came, I couldn't remember much about it much less eat any of it. But I think I had a profiterole.
After a few minutes recuperation and paying my bill, I headed back onto the wild streets of Paris with a skip in my step and slight blurriness in my vision.
Le Relais de Venise
271 Bd. Pereire
01 45 74 27 97