“ Address: 271 Boulevard Pereire / Porte-Maillot / Paris / France / Tel: + 33 01 45 74 27 97 „
Le Relais de Venise - L'entrecote is a famous, fifty year old, French restaurant chain which features in Paris, London, New York and Barcelona, exclusively serving steak & chips, but very good steak at that!
L'entrecote meaning 'rib steak'.
My Dad (thought he had) has been to the one in Toulouse and loves it so when we accidentally spotted it on a recent trip to Paris whilst we were trying to shelter from a very heavy rain storm, he felt that fate was on his side (despite the fact that the volcano in Iceland disrupting flights had meant that my sister couldn't fly out to Paris to meet us for the weekend despite my Dad speeding months planning the trip to celebrate Mum & Dad's sliver wedding anniversary, oh and my sister is a vegetarian too so had she been there with us then we wouldn't have been able to go to this restaurant!)
The restaurant was just over the road from the Concode Lafayette hotel and shopping complex and right by Porte Maillot tube station (271 Boulevard Pereire Sud)
We took shelter at the back of a fairly long queue but we didn't mind waiting as we had no other options due to the weather. The restaurant is very popular and runs a no reservations policy so is always busy. Luckily fate paid us a visit again after only a 10 minute wait when a waitress came out and shouted for anyone requiring a table for five (again it was lucky my sister wasn't there!) so we jumped the queue and were seated in the warm and dry restaurant.
The restaurant was very quaint, it was nicely decorated with a Venitian theme and didn't have the feel of a chain at all (the restaurant was originally an Italian restaurant). The tables were all quite close together but that was no problem and we got a good spec. As we sat down at our table, an American lady on the next table said hello to us and told us to "enjoy the best steak of your life!" Maybe it isn't just Dad who loves this place then.
The restaurant must be very well known as we weren't explained about how it works or shown a menu when we were seated (this was fine, and obviously shows that the restaurant must have a good reputation). A very friendly waitress dressed in black with a white frilly piny dashed over to us and quickly (but politely) asked us if we want wine and or water (bottle or tap) and how we would like our steak. We ordered a bottle of red wine which she pulled from a cupboard next to her and was opening before we had chance to say one still and one fizzy water too! We told her that we would like 3 medium and 2 well done steak (very well done actually because in France well done still has some pink). She jotted our selections down on the corner of the paper table cloth and was off.
A minute or two later we were presented with a basket of bread and a green salad each, which was served in a mustard dressing and had walnuts on it too, it was lovely. As an expert at the Entrecote way of working Dad warned us to take our time with our salads because once your plate is clear it will be whipped away and promptly replaced with steak. After nibbling our salad and chatting we were again in the company of the very same waitress who then cleared our plates and asked us to keep our knives and forks.
Five or so minutes later she was back with the steak. The waitresses bring the steak on silver platters to a table in the middle which has heated plates on, they then plate up the steak and serve french fries with it.
I had my steak medium and it was gorgeous, the meat was sliced and melted in my mouth, even my Mum and sister's very well done steaks were tender as they had no problem cutting through it despite the knives not being very sharp. The steak was dressed in a sort of lemongrass tasting sauce (somewhere in between a sauce and a butter) it was slightly oriental, which is why I am guessing it was lemongrass and it went lovely with the steak in my opinion. Dad had said however that when he has been to the Toulouse one in the past they simply serve their's with a garlic butter and it is much nicer.
Dad also commented that although it was very nice, the steak here was smaller than the ones he has had elsewhere, but this was not a problem and we were all satisfied and on the edge of full to the brim by the end. Well... by what we thought was the end...the waitress came back and offered us more steak and chips! We all greedily accepted the steak and small portions more of the chips but couldn't finish it! It was a good idea to serve it in courses as it was piping hot the second time around but we wished that we had known this before starting and we may have laid off the bread and chips to save room for more meat!
As we didn't see a menu I cannot quite remember how much it was but I think it was 27euros per head, this was quite a lot since we only ate half, but for the full portion it is good value as it tastes exceptional.
I would visit this place again and am sure that it is always worth the wait, especially if you let the waiting build up your appetite! It is only now that I have come to write the review that I have realised the 'l'entrecote' which my Dad has previously been to, is a different company providing a similar dining experience! After doing a quick search on Google it seems that 'l'entrecote' restaurants have become very popular and there are many chains around. Originally we thought that 'l'entrecote' was the name of the restaurant but it is a description that it is a rib steak restaurant which is why 'Le Relais de Venise' ended up with the subtitle 'l'entrecote' which can easily be mistaken with the many other entrecote restaurants around.
http://www.relaisdevenise.com/index.htm (The website and history of this 'unique' restaurant)
http://www.entrecote.fr/ (The one my Dad has been to, he says it is just as good, if not better than the one in the review, so if you are in an area with either of these restaurants then we would recommend you try it)