My Parisian Restaurant Map

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Beef Club

I have died and gone to meat heaven.



The Beef Club, the restaurant where Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec sells his famous 5 week matured English beef, is the only place to go if you’re a meat-phile.

Every time I go to a truly delicious restaurant I always have the same problem: a loss of words. Which is, admittedly, a little problematic for a food writer. But this time I was lucky, because I did manage to find one word and repeat it throughout the whole dinner. “Wow.” “WOW”. “WoW”. “Woooooooow.”


I skipped appetizers and went straight for a steak, specifically the spyder steak. Normally this cut of meat is full of sinews and nerves and all those little stringy bits that you have to chew particularly enthusiastically before you can swallow. But the waiter explained that here they remove everything, leaving the steak particularly tender and buttery, seeing as it’s a cut that is conveniently located close to the bone. Needless to say, it was perfectly cooked (and highly recommended to be eaten rare, as per the chefs request) and was the first time that I was able to close my eyes and savor how delicious meat can be when it’s prepared properly. The entrecote was also delicious, a divine eating experience for my dining partner.

                                                          before                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                           after



The wine that we had with it was an excellent Beaujolais, which says less about my amazing food/wine pairing talents, and more about the fact that it was one of the cheapest bottles available (at the, ahem, modest price of 44 euros)

The prices remain relatively high, which is completely understandable given the quality of the beef. It was around 25 euros for my spyder steak, and about 35 for the entrecote. The steaks come with a large choice of side dishes, including my personal favorites of duck fat French fries, and 3 cheese gratinée mac and cheese. The 10 euro profiterole is the house specialty for dessert, and not only is one big enough for two, but funnily enough it looks surprisingly like a hamburger.

 


And here’s a little challenge for you: go inside the restaurant and find the magic door that leads to the hidden bar downstairs. It’s called The Ballroom and is run by the same guys who do the Experimental Cocktail Bar.





The Beef Club
58 rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, 75001
09 52 52 89 34









 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chipotle has landed

I told you Mexican food was all the rage in Paris!

Today Chipotle, the American tex-mex fast food chain, opened its doors to the Parisian public on the boulevard Montmartre.


I got there at about 7.30 pm and the place was packed, mostly with Americans and tourists. All my American friends on facebook were posting excitedly about the new arrival.


Although the food has the potential to make it very very popular, the location (between a McDonald's and a Starbucks) means that it's more likely to drift into the fast food realm than the "hey have you heard of that amazing place with the name I can't pronounce?" category.

Speaking of the name, the French are having serious difficulties with it. Chipotle used this to their advantage,  very cleverly adapting their slogan to "comment prononcez-vous Chipotle?" or " How do you pronounce Chipotle".

But at 9 euros a pop (with an extra 1.50 for guacamole, geez!), they might have a hard time competing with the cheaper McDo next door.

Oh oops, I forgot to take a picture of my burrito, because it was smelling so good I just couldnt stand to wait any longer before eating it. (The fact that I managed to write this whole post without even taking one bite shows remarkable self control on my part) I had the Barbacoa spicy pulled beef, with bacony beans, red salsa, green salsa, guacamole, sour cream and cheese. And they have margaritas, which is an easy win over the 1664 beer that you can get with your Big Mac meal.


Chipotle
20 Boulevard Montmartre, 9th arrondisement
Metro: Richelieu Drouot
Open from 11am-10pm

Friday, May 18, 2012

Blend Burger

Clearly, burgers are all the rage in Paris now.

Which I find to very contradictory to Parisian cuisine as a whole, since Parisians seem to hate Americans, but have no qualms with devouring their standard food fare on a regular basis.

A couple of months ago, I got word of the supposedly 'best burger in Paris' (as they all seem to claim), to be found at Blend in Le Sentier.



It was that typical situation of a very hyped up burger that unfortunately, did not deliver compared to such sky high expectations.

But yes, the burgers are good. Very good. Just not 'the best'. (Don't you find that anytime people tell you 'its the best' you secretly hope for it to be crap just so you can prove them wrong?)

The buns are freshly baked. The prices are reasonable. The beers are local. The sweet potato fries come wrapped in a little cone of wax paper, and even the cheese on the cheeseburger is a secret combination of yellow and white cheddar brought in from England, according to the waiter. Though I couldn't help overhear one Parisienne sitting next to me complaining about the cheese on the cheeseburger being too cheesy. She clearly had no idea what to expect of cheddar cheese, being more accustomed to the processed orange cheese that comes in an individual plastic wrapper. The burger is not too big, not too little, but perfect for a gal like me who needs to feel stuffed and happy without feeling like someone is going to have to roll me home.



And then there's the meat. The meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender and buttery, perfectly cooked, and apparently sourced from Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, the same butcher as the Beef Club, Paris's uber exclusive and off the radar temple to all things beefy (Which will also happen to be the subject of my next post, so stay tuned).

Even though you might have to wait half in hour in the rain just to get in to this tiny broom closet of a restaurant, all the staff are clearly very proud of what they do, and very happy to be doing it. A tip of the hat to the workers at Blend, who managed to elevate the cookie-cutter bistro burger to whole other level.


So all in all, not the best burger in Paris, but still an excellent specimen of creative simplicity, and a great reminder of the never ending paradox that is Parisian food culture. 



Blend Hamburger Gourmet
http://blendhamburger.com/
44 rue d'Argout
75002 Paris

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Candelaria

Ok fine! I'll do it! I'll jump on the bandwagon and write about Candelaria.


I first went to this taco joint last year, having read a review of it by David Leibovitz. Imagining that it must be insanely popular, I waited for 4 pm on Sunday to attempt getting a table for 2 for lunch. Turns out, not a problem. Although they only have a few seats at the bar and one table, we somehow managed to find a spot, drink cold Mexican beers and devour delicious, fresh, home made soft tacos.


While happily munching away at the bar, I had noticed some people coming into the resto, walking through a door in the back and disappearing. And its only when those Mexican beers made nature call that I discovered where those people were going.


Hidden away behind this tiny taco joint is a beautiful cocktail bar. One minute you're eating Mexican street food in a minuscule diner style taqueria, the next, you're in a hidden bar that is not only beautifully decorated but also serves the most amazing and most original cocktails. And I go to Le China regularly so I know what I'm talking about.

My favorite cocktail was with chili pepper infused tequila, cucumbers, coriander and other strange yummy things floating aroung. This week, seeing as it was an early lunch, I had their version of a Bloody Mary, which included a scoop of avocado and a handful of coriander in the shaker, along with home-made chipotle pepper infused tomato juice. Heaven (and a full meal) in a tall glass.

Note: The picture is blurry because the drink is strong, as it should be.

But go there anytime past 7pm and you're going to wait half an hour to get a drink and you will find yourself squashed to the wall by too-cool bobo hipsters and Greek/American tourists. Its a strange mix.

Candelaria
52 rue Saintonge, 3rd arrondisement
http://www.candelariaparis.com/
Tacos: between 3-3.50E per taco
Cocktails: 10-12 euros. 
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