Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cross Steak Tartare Blogging

From Ciao Bella Tours:

La Mascotte
52, rue des Abbesses, 18e - Tel: (+33) 1 46 06 28 15
Métro: Abbesses

"Though everyone talks about the "new Montmartre," exemplified by a wave of chic residents and throbbingly cool cafés and bars, it's good to know that the old Montmartre is alive and well at the untrendy-and-proud-of-it Mascotte. This old-fashioned café-brasserie is where you'll find neighborhood fixtures such as the drag queen Michou (of the nearby club Chez Michou), who always wears blue. Loyalists come for the seafood platters, the excellent steak tartare, and the gossip around the comptoir (the bar) up front." source »

Le Grand Colbert
2-4, rue Vivienne, 2e - Tel: (+33) 1 42 86 87 88
Métro: Bourse

"One of the few independently owned brasseries remaining in Paris, Le Grand Colbert, with its globe lamps and ceiling moldings, feels grand yet not overpolished -- old theater posters still line the walls. It attracts a wonderfully Parisian mix of elderly lone diners, business lunchers, tourists, and couples who come for enormous seafood platters, duck foie gras with Sauternes jelly, and steak tartare. Whet your appetite with one of the "unjustly forgotten" aperitifs, such as bitter Salers or sweet Lillet Blanc. It's best to stick to classics, as these are what the kitchen does best. Finish with profiteroles (choux pastry filled with ice cream and smothered in hot chocolate sauce)." source »

Monday, July 23, 2007

Some Reader's Steak Tartare picks:

Brasserie Balzar
49, rue des Ecoles, 5e - Tel: (+33) 1 43 54 13 67

Restaurant Le Hangar
12, Impasse Berthaud, 3e - Tel: (+33) 1 42 74 55 44 12

Le Petit Four
4, Avenue Auguste Vacquerie, 16e - Tel: (+33) 1 47 20 62 52

Les Fins Gourmets
(rue Croix des Petits Champs, in the 1st arrondissement)
***Cannot find the exact address or telephone.

Some places that tartare virgins had positive experiences at:

Cafe des Initiees
(near the Rue du Louvre and the Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau)
***Cannot find the exact address or telephone.

Chez Justine
96, rue Oberkampf, 11e - Tel: (+33) 1 43 57 44 03

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rick Stein's Steak Tartare

England's BBC food presenter, Rick Stein, shows us all how classic and simple it is to prepare Steak Tartare (I just love the country farm setting).

Table at Le Sèvero is booked!

...and just in the knick of time! Our flight arrives in Paris at 20:30. With no luggage I am hoping we can get to the 14th from Orly to make our 10pm reservation. The Maître d' said the restaurant closes for holiday the next day so Friday is our only chance (Many restaurants close in Paris for August). Hopefully they will have just enough beef to whip up some Tartare for moi! (He also said that some menu items will not be available). See you in heaven.

Normally I hate it when tourists take pictures of their food, but in this case tourist + camera + flickr account = a picture of the Steak Tartare avec Frites at Le Sèvero!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Steak Tartare Rating System Explained

When it comes to rating places in Paris who serve Steak Tartare, I have come up with a 3 part, 3 star system as follows:

I. The Steak Tartare Itself
0 = Truly Unpleasant
* = Barely Tolerable
** = Good Effort
*** = Exquisite

a. Texture
b. Flavor
c. Presentation
d. Frites (or bread if no pommes)

II. The Café/Bistro/Brasserie/Restaurant
0 = Horrible/Don't waste your time
* = Meh/Barely makes sense
** = Good/Worth the experience
*** = Très bien/You'd be crazy not to go!

a. Location (accessibility; i.e. central and/or metro nearby)
b. Ambiance (decor, other patrons, cleanliness)
c. Service (friendliness, speed, character)

III. Price vs. Value
Scale (Categories: None)
0 = A rip off pure and simple
* = Little to no value
** = Pricey but worth it
*** = Money is no question!

In the end these 3 parts including their subcategories will be factored to create and overall score as well as broken down into individual ratings.

A Weekend In Paris - July 27th - 29th, 2007

"The best Steak Tartare in Paris."

This is what I googled a couple of weeks ago to launch my voyage of truly finding Paris' best Steak Tartare.

The only query which matched that exact wordage was a blog entry from New York shoe and handbag designer Beverly Feldman.

"My Paris tips: I always stay at Hotel Montaigne, 6 Avenue Montaigne. The hotel is wedged between Ungaro, Valentino, Prada, and Dolci, so even when the weather is really nasty, which 90% of the year it is, you can still shop…as I always say, when it’s raining it’s not raining in the stores. The directress is Marion and the concierge is Nicolas, it’s small and very personal, wonderful breakfasts. The bistro next door, Teatro, has the best steak tartare in Paris and also, if you dare, Tarte Tartin…(don’t tell Heather)" source »

I'm just curious now what problem Heather has with the Tarte Tatin (sp. correction)... From wikipedia's description, "Tarte Tatin is an upside-down apple tart in which the apples are caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked." It is apparent now why we don't tell Heather these things!

Upon a little research I discovered that this place was not called Café or Bistro Teatro, but...

***Edit 23.07.07!!

Bar des Théâtres
6, Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris - Tel. : +(33) 1 47 23 34 63.

Thanks to the reader, Chrisos, for pointing out that this place is quite touristy (I had the inkling just by the street it is on) and for forwarding a French article which points out the Bar des Théâtres' mediocrity in quality and exuberance in price! (132,30 € for a salad, tartare, tarte, and a glass of champagne!)

« Mais, sincèrement, au-dessus des assiettes, c’était la consternation, rien d’appétissant. Même les pommes de terre donnaient dans la patate. Il n’y avait pas de goût, le tartare ne rentrait pas dans le jeu. » source »

Turns out the joint does indeed have a reputation for Steak Tartare as it seems to have become their prized dish (see above edit);

"At Bar des Theatres on Avenue Montaigne, a 60-year-old bistro with kitschy 1970s decor favored by fashion people during the day and theater people at night, the melange is prepared in the kitchen, though the waiter still sets salt, pepper, mustard and bottles of ketchup, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce on the table in case diners want to adjust the flavor. The restaurant serves up about 66 pounds of raw beef daily and, according to many people in Paris, it's the best tartare in town." source »

"Across from the Theatre of the Champs-Élysées, the Bar des Théâtres is the perfect place to go to prolong the magic of a show. The curtains rise on a decor that's reminiscent of the voices and scenes of plays. The sculpted wood ceiling hangs over a red-hued room filled with lit masks. The star of the show here is the steak Tartare, worthy of curtain calls and a standing ovation. The clientele is known to include showbiz celebrities as well as those from the world of fashion, as Avenue Montaigne obliges." source »

***Edit 23.07.07 (see above comments in red)!!

Upon further research, I came across other references under Paris, Steak Tartare, The best in town, etc... Some of which (All, if I had my way) I will be visiting next weekend and providing future blog updates with reviews and photos. Here is my short list:

Le Sèvero
8, rue des Plantes, 14e - Tel: (+33) 1 45 40 40 91

"My current favorite — and it should be understood that this changes just about every time I go to Paris — is Le Sèvero, a tiny joint of about 30 seats in the 14th Arrondissment (8, rue des Plantes; 331-4540-4091). The descriptions I'd read of Sèvero called it a wine bar, and indeed the wine list is extensive and dominates the blackboard that covers one wall of the restaurant. The steak tartare was exemplary, the best I'd eaten in years, perfectly seasoned, ground to order, made from delicious meat." source »

Le Petit Champenois
6, rue Fourcade, 15e - Tel: (+33) 1 48 28 67 93

"This moderately priced new bistro in the heart of the quiet residential 15th, a part of Paris where many young chefs are setting up shop due to its low rents, has struck a chord with locals clamoring for its homey traditional French dishes, such as terrine of rabbit in aspic, that are far more time-consuming than anything they'd do themselves; tip: the steak tartare has quickly become the signature dish." source »

Brasserie du Théâtre
(not to be confused with the Bar des Théâtres)
59, rue de Clichy, 9e - Tel: (+33) 1 48 74 91 00

I haven't found any reviews per se, but there is a travel log that wets the appetite on GeoBeats below:

Video of the preparation of Steak Tartare can be seen here.

Café de l'Homme (Musée de l'Homme)
17, place du Trocadéro, 16e - Tel: (+33) 1 44 05 30 15

"My wife had a "superb" steak tartare at the "Cafe de l'Homme" for lunch yesterday (and she eats it a lot). This is the cafe in the "Musee de l'homme" which sits just across the Seine, opposite the Tour Eiffel. It has a nice terrace and thus has a great view for a relaxing lunch (it is quite fashionable at the moment)." source »

Brasserie Stella
133, rue Victor Hugo, 16e - Tel: (+33) 1 47 27 60 54

"I lived in the 16th until just recently. Recommendations of places I've eaten at dozens of times in 16th (reasonably priced): Brasserie Stella; rue Victor Hugo #133; the best steak tartare in Paris." comment source »

"Brasserie Stella: best steak tartare in the world (but sit outside/smokers partout.) Best waiters. Total neighborhood hangout." comment source »

So these will be my top culinary attractions. I have only ever eaten Steak Tartare in Paris once before on my last trip (I live in Vienna, Austria... originally a San Francisco, CA native). It was at Café le Départ St-Michel on the corner Place St-Michel and the Steak Tartare was awesome so I will be looking forward to comparing a variety of preparation styles and French beef in my struggle to ascertain the best steak tartare in Paris!