Anyone who knows me even remotely knows this: I am just about the biggest red-meat lover you’ll meet.
Diets and doctors be damned — if it were possible to eat a big hunk of steak every day, you know I would.
So when I found myself in Paris recently with just one night to have steak frites, I knew it had to be the best I could possibly find. “I know the perfect place,” my Parisian friend Kevyn said, mentioning a restaurant called Le Sèvero and then quickly ticking off favorable reviews in the New York Times among others when I gave him my super-skeptical eye.
I figured if it’s good enough for Mark Bittman (and the venerable David Lebovitz) then it’s certainly good enough for me …
Le Sèvero isn’t the easiest place to get to — it’s off the beaten path for most tourists, located on a quiet street in a residential neighborhood in the 14th arrondissement. In fact, on our way there, as I counted the seemingly endless Metro stops we were crossing off, I realized this was probably the furthest from the city center I had traveled just for a meal. Over and over my friend Kevyn assured me, “It’s so good.”
The place is tiny — you’ll definitely need a reservation — and was filled entirely with locals, some of whom looked on with more than a little curiosity when three Asian faces chatting away in English sat down.
The first thing you’ll notice upon stepping inside is just how incredible everything smells. I felt as if I were bathing in steak juices.
I have never wanted to eat air more.
(We were also probably doubly bathed in this due to our prime seat right by the open kitchen.)
Le Sèvero’s owner William Bernet knows his meat — he’s a former butcher, after all. And he’s talked about how he ages his meat from five to 10 weeks, which is apparently a fairly rare practice in Paris bistros.
Don’t let the casualness of the scribbled menu on the chalk board fool you — the aging process means that these steaks aren’t inexpensive. They’ll range from 26 to 38 Euros — 85 Euros for a côte de boeuf for two. Having read about how life-changing these steaks are, however, I was undaunted.
We began with a plate of chorizo (12 Euros), which came so beautifully marbled with fat we took a great many photos of the slices before sampling one. They were spicy, fatty and delicious — especially paired with salted butter on bread.
Before long, the stars of the show appeared — first up, we had the filet de boeuf (32 Euros), which was seared to perfection and had a nice crust. The meat itself was very tender, too, bursting with juices.
On the inside, it was nicely red — à point (medium-rare) is about as done as they’ll do it here for you. (You could ask for your steak more done but why be the laughing stock of the restaurant?)
And the fries — handcut — were crisp, just the right size (unlike too-flabby steak fries I tend to find in the U.S.) and just lovely.
The côte de boeuf for two was a sight to behold — we attacked the two piles of beautifully seared meat the moment they hit the table. As outstanding as the filet de boeuf had been, this was just a hair more so. I could not get enough of this meat — each bite was memorably tender and flavorful.
As much as I wanted dessert, I knew there was simply no room for more.
Looking out the window, sipping my cafe and pondering what had been my very last dinner in Paris, I realized that Kevyn was right. Le Sèvero had indeed been the perfect place.
Le Sèvero, 8 rue de Plantes (in the 14th arrondissement near the Mouton-Duvernet Metro stop), Paris; 01.45.40.40.91