We had five days, well, really four and a half. Our primary goal was to cover as much ground as we possibly could by foot while making sure we ended our day with some off-the-charts fabulous meal.
My husband and I have a couple of strategies when we travel - we never return to the same destination or spot twice, we never eat at the same restaurant more than once, and we basically plan our day around dinner - meaning we research, we plot out our walk, and we find gems along the way that are usually spontaneous and magical.
Yet, for this return to Paris we through out our reliable strategies and went back to a favorite haunt for our first dinner. Mostly because it's an institution, it's cheap, and it's solidly good, comfort, French bistro food. And maybe too much to choose from can be a bit overwhelming.
Le Relais de l'Entrecote - or L'Entrecote - as it's more widely known, is really more diner than bistro. We went to the original, in the 6e, right off of St-Germain for steak frites. The best steak frites.
There is no choice in food. And with decent options for wine, it's still best to go with the house wine. You are greeted with only one question: Quelle cuisson? (how would you like it cooked?). I went with rare, my husband went with medium.
You are served by one of a dozen women, dressed in a stereotypical french maid's uniform, handling deftly a pair of spoons in one hand, dishing out your cut of meat, frites, and the secret sauce on top.
With only one two course meal on the menu that includes a salad with warm walnuts and this crazy-awesome mustard vinaigrette:
and steak dressed in a mysterious greenish, savory goo, and fries:
(A word on the secret sauce: here's what I'm guessing - tarragon, maybe herbes de provence, mustard, parmesan, and maybe chicken livers?)
And you sit, take it all in, and dine on a fabulous plate of beef and potatoes. Old Style.