My Parisian Restaurant Map

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Meat Coma

Sometimes all you really want is a big fat steak.

Having passively watched my friends and loved ones devour massive rib eye steaks, or cote de boeuf, dripping with blood, I finally decided that it was time to get my own. Up until now, the only thing holding me back was that they are usually served for 2, meaning you have to share. The problem is that my lovely French friends look at me with utter disgust when I ask if we could maybe, possibly, please, order it a point. Hence why no one has ever wanted to share one with me, which is how I found myself a couple weeks ago at Le Louchebem, trying out my very own 550 gram cote de boeuf. And boy was it worth the wait.

If you're interested in Parisian history, then this is this place to come. Our lovely waiter kindly explained to us that this restauraunt used to originally be where all the butchers of Les Halles would come to cook their meat after the market was over. It started off just as a bring-your-own-meat kitchen, where butchers could gather together after a hard day of hacking up meat to eat a steak and drink a carafe of red wine. (One of the reasons why Morgon and Bordeaux wines were the most popular in Paris at this time is because this is the wine that the butchers used to drink, so it caught on.) Over the years, it turned into an amazing restaurant specialized in simply done, beautifully cooked meat.

So far I've eaten here twice; the first time I had the enormous cote de boeuf which was one of the most perfectly cooked pieces of meat that I've ever had. Last night I went back, and decided to have a steak tartare. Needless to say, it was absolute heaven. The meat was so fresh and delicate, and the seasoning wasn't too overpowering like it is in some places (when they're trying to cover up the mediocre quality of the meat). In fact, this was the first time in my almost two years in Paris that the chef actually remembered me, and upgraded my order from a tartare L to an XXL (500 grams!!!!), free of charge. It was literally the size of my head, and I did it justice. Needless to say, it always pays off to make friends with the chef.

Oh and if you order an aperitif, they bring you a plate of big chunks of freshly roasted ham. Heaven.

Le Louchebem
01 42 33 12 99
31 Rue Berger
75001 Paris

L'argomuche du Louchebem

Louchebem" signifie "boucher" en argot du quartier des halles de Paris et abattoirs de la Villette au début du siècle...
C'est un peu l'ancêtre du verlan. Ce langage était utilisé pour se faire comprendre
sans être compris !
Il suffit de mettre la première lettre à la fin du mot de la remplacer par un "L" le tout suivi d'une terminaison "em", "ess", "ic", "oc" et autres "muche"...
Louchebem Boucher
Lesieum Monsieur
Lamde Dame
Lamfe Femme
Lorsomic Morceau
Loutomic Mouton
Ligogem Gigot
Lorpicoss Porc
Lovic Veau
Lanchetrem de luisquem de loeubem Tranche de cuisse de boeuf
Lilefem Filet
Loulepem Poulet
Lanarquess Canard
Ligeonpem Pigeon
Lourissoc du Ligogem Souris du gigot
Luiquess Cuit
Lombem Bon
Luridoc Dur
Lombienquess Combien
Liprem Prix
Lombienquess je loide Combien je dois

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Chicken Oyster!

While deciding what to eat last week at a little bistro in Levallois, in the west of Paris, a really bizarre looking word-even for French-caught my attention. On the menu was written:

Salade de sot l'y laisse, facon Cesare.

Now my French is not awful, but I had as much difficulty pronouncing sot l'y laisse as I did the first time I saw the word moelleux. (A moelleux is basically a gooey half-baked chocolate soufflé, and is a word that I use way too often, trust me.)

Feeling rather adventurous, and having been reassured that it's not an innard- phew!- (see my post about riz d'agneau...ahem), I decided to order it. What arrived was a large salad with a creamy dressing, and roundish bits of brown chicken meat, with a thin squiggly line of marbled fat in the middle. I have the impression that it could have been prepared better, and maybe in some other places it's just heavenly, but for now it's probably the most inoffensive piece of French mystery meat that I have tasted so far.

Further research then informed me that sot l'y laisse  literally means 'only idiots leave it behind', with the idiot being the person who is carving the roast chicken. In English people refer to it as the chicken oyster, since it's supposed to be the best kept secret of the chicken, but most idiots don't know it exists so they throw it out with the rest of the bones, and apparently to the French this is so horrifically appalling that they literally named that piece of chicken 'only idiots don't eat me'. How French.