Saturday, May 20, 2006

Le Vrai Cote du Boeuf

On a cold, rainy Sunday in Paris recently I was craving a great steak and pommes frites. I decided to go Au Boeuf Couronné in the 19th, the old slaughterhouse district of Paris. I wanted to go there because I heard they served pommes soufflés. My friend Rachel and I ordered cote du boeuf and pommes soufflés but they said that the pommes soufflés machine was broken. I was distressed; first that they did not have them and second that they were made by a machine. The romance was shattered. They are now very hard to find on a menu anywhere in France. The only other place I have had them was at Tour d”argent.
I am going to have to run down to E. Dehillerin, a wonderful old kitchen shop, and get to the bottom of the pommes soufflés machine. The cotes du boeuf was excellent.

A few days later my dear friend Monique du Veau and I got together for dinner and she took me to Le Sevro, a restaurant near her house in the 14th. She wanted to take me there because she said they have the best cotes du boeuf and pommes frites in Paris along with one of the best wine lists for a small bistro.
The restaurant was small, maybe 10 tables. The wine list was written on a chalkboard which takes up one whole wall of the restaurant. The owner is the waiter, receptionist, and sommelier and there is one cook in the kitchen. I could tell by the wine list that I was going to be in for a good meal because he carried all of my favorite small winemakers, the ones who are producing incredible wines, true to their terrior, like the Crozes-Hermitage from Dard and Ribo and the wines from Domaine Richaud fin Cairanne among many others. He had a long list of wines from St. Emillion from a producer I’d never heard of and I ordered an ‘88 which was only 80 euros and amazing and also biodynamic. The cotes du boeuf arrived and was unbelievable. I asked the owner where he got his meat and he gave me the name of a butcher who in his opinion was one of the best butchers left in Paris. I wish I had time to go visit, maybe next time. There was enough meat for 4 people. The frites arrived, hand cut. I have to say, they were the best I’ve ever eaten.

After dinner Monique reminded me of a dinner we once had at Chez L’ami Louis. She did not like our experience at that restaurant, ( I ate there once when there was a Louis cooking in the kitchen and it was genius). She thinks the owner is pretentious, and that the place is filled with tourists being hugely overcharged. Even more upsetting to her is that they serve the cote de boeuf without the bone!

PS. Up the street the owner has another restaurant that only serves fish, Le Bis du Sevro which I will try on my next visit. Maybe his wife runs that place.

My dog Bessie also enjoyed the week of leftovers

Stopped by Dehiliran and they said you use a mandolin for pommes soufflé.

Spoke with a great food editor in Paris about pommes soufflé and she said the trick is to slice them the right size and fry them twice in oil which must be the perfect temperature, she is going to send me a recipe she got from a very old chef and I will be passing that on as soon as I get it.

Though a true cut of cotes du bouef is hard to find in this country, Florence meat market in New York has fantastic porterhouse steaks dry aged to perfection. I get them cut 1 3/4 inches thick.

Restaurant Au Boeuf Couronné
188, avenue Jean-Jaures
75019 Paris

Le Sevro
8, rue Des Plantes
75014 Paris
*no English spoken

Bridge Kitchenware
711 3rd Avenue
NYC 10017

Florence Meat Market
Prime dry aged porterhouse steak


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