One of the restaurants we visit every time we are in Paris is L’Entrecôte (also known as Le Relais de L’Entrecôte). If you haven’t been then it’s one to try – there’s only one thing on the menu: a green salad with walnuts in a mustardy dressing and the famous steak-frites – two servings of perfectly-cooked entrecôte served with the secret sauce and as much crispy french fries as you can eat.
We arrived at half past seven and were seated only at 8:15 in a table meant for two that we begged to be given anyway since we were technically just 2 1/2 with our six-year old in tow. We both ordered saignant (rare) for ourselves and a point (medium) for our son. As we were all starving by this time, we started on the salads immediately served with crusty chunks of baguette. Soon after, our steaks arrived. We were curious to see what our son’s reaction would be – he asked for ketchup (there is not ketchup or mayonnaise served here), and when told they didn’t have any, he didn’t flinch at all but dug into his steak-frites, sauce and all. He managed one serving of steak and two servings of fries while we had our double servings of both.
The dessert menu is longer with at least twenty items listed from a cheese plate to fresh strawberries, chocolate mousse to creme caramel. We had two: the profiteroles (choux pastry filled with vanilla ice cream and smothered in chocolate sauce and slivered almonds) for the boys and a café Liégeois (coffee ice cream with coffee sauce and a mountain of whipped cream) for myself. It was our son’s first taste of profiteroles and it looks like it will be the first of many as my husband could hardly get a bite.
Here are some notes on how to survive the L’Entrecôte experience:
There is always a line of people waiting at the door so unless you arrive exactly on the dot at noon for lunch and at 7 p.m. for dinner, you will have to wait it out in the long queue which is usually filled with very hungry, pushy customers, some of whom will squeeze their way through anything to get a table ahead of you. So remember to stand firm, keep your place in the line and be patient.
It looks disorganized but the waitresses in their French maid outfits of black mini dresses and white aprons know exactly what is going on and will seat you eventually and honestly, once you’re seated and having the super steak and savoury sauce, the wait would have been worth it.
Le Relais de L’Entrecôte
**** Food – excellent steak-frites: tender meat, crispy matchstick fries and the secret sauce that will have you coming back for more
**** Service – Very, very efficient, quick and courteous; they know what they are doing
*** Ambience – a bit like a train station with people shoving at the door and high noise levels but excellent for a quick meals and they don’t mind children (as long as your kids are patient enough to wait)
20, rue Saint-Benoît, 75006 Paris (+33 1 45 49 16 00)
other branches on 15 rue Marbeuf (+33 1 49 52 07 17) near the Champs Elysees and another in Geneva