Paris is synonymous with beautiful sites and amazing food that make the city a romantic getaway for any couple. Most Parisian restaurants will have a number of choices for you to pick from to entertain your tastebuds. However, Le Relais de L’Entrocote, originally founded in 1959 by Paul Gineste de Saurs, gives you only one choice, their famous Steak Frites. With three locations in busy parts of Paris, chances are you will pass by one of their stores while exploring the City of Lights. If you are craving a good steak and fries then this may be a worthwhile stop one night for dinner.
The exterior of the restaurants are in typical Parisian cafe-style. At the location that I went to with my family, at 20 Rue Saint-Benoît, a bright red awning displays the restaurant name above a fairly large patio. The patio houses multiple tables with an assortment of brightly colored tablecloths. L’Entrocote’s interior is sleek and modern, but with somewhat of a classical twist as well. The tablecloths inside are also colored, which go along well with the some of the colorful artwork on the walls. The staff all wear black and white outfits and is predominately female. It is usually packed inside with patrons, and you may have a long wait as the restaurant does not take any reservations.
Once seated the server will come over to each person at the table to ask how they would like their steak cooked. I went with medium on mine, which seems to be the standard and recommendation by the staff. The steak is a premium cut of sirloin slathered in their signature butter sauce and served with crispy fries. Once you order, it doesn’t take too long for them to bring out the food as they are a well oiled steak cooking machine. Each person receives two rounds or servings of Steak Frites and can order some fantastic wine to pair with their meal. The steak is juicy and tender, but it’s not the best cut you will ever have. The fries tasted like fairly standard fries, with a nice crunch to them to complement the steak. It is the sauce that is the real MVP here. The green butter sauce has a mustardy, yet tangy taste that is very different from any other steak sauce I’ve had.
Before you think you’ll be getting lost in the sauce, be careful. If you ask them for extra sauce, the response will be “No!” over and over again. You will here “No!” several times if you ask for anything that they haven’t already placed on the table. No extra condiments for you! No extra serving of bread rolls for you! No side orders of fries for you! No! No! No! This becomes somewhat entertaining but also a bit annoying at the same time. You will probably have a funny story at the end of the meal, but wish they would just give you that damn side of extra sauce.
Save some room for dessert, as they do have some fantastic choices to pick from for the sweet part of the meal. Desserts include Creme Brûlée, Chocolate Profiteroles, and Strawberry Melba Tulip. I got the Relais Cake, which is two rich chocolate cakes, one of them a fondant, served with Chantilly cream. If you love chocolate then I highly recommend the Relais Cake, but there seem to be plenty of other delicious options on their dessert menu as well.
Overall, there are better restaurants in Paris to get a steak and while the sauce is really good, it doesn’t make it a must-go-to destination for me. I actually think their dessert stands out a bit more than their steak. The service is fast, but the constant denials for slight alterations to the meal or extra requests can get old pretty quick. It isn’t a place to seek out right away when in Paris, but it certainly isn’t a place to skip all together, especially if you are in the city for a while and are craving steak and fries. Just be ready to here the words “No!” from servers quite a bit during the course of your meal, and feel free to laugh it off as you enjoy some saucy Steak Frites.
-Michael Averbook, Foodie Extraordinaire