Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bistrot Paul Bert (Paris, France)

My sister L still has a couple more posts about her food experiences in France! This is the last in Paris.


18 Rue Paul Bert
75011, Paris (11e arr.)

On our search for this much talked about bistrot, we ended up in the 18e arrondissement, where at 18 rue Paul Bert stands Café Paul Bert. We thought it must be the place and after sitting down and looking at the menu which did not have a steak frites in sight (neither the much lauded dessert Paris-Brest), we got up and left! It was pretty embarrassing but the place was crowded and the service was awful.


We ended up finding the restaurant in the 11e arrondissement. Unfortunately, it was fully booked for the evening (though in no way did it look full) so we made a reservation on our return to Paris. This was by far the meal I looked forward to the most. This bistro has no menu only an ardoise (blackboard) and the waiter will bring it to your table and prop it up on chair for you to read. This allows the chef to work with the best ingredients available and limits waste entailed by extensive menus. Unfortunately that means that all the lovely dishes that I had read about were not being served!

When we asked the waiter, he explained that only côte de boeuf (beef rib) for two was being served tonight, not the entrecôte, and the Paris Brest is too heavy for summer. We went ahead an ordered the côte de boeuf. I was really looking forward to the French bistro classic of snails smothered in garlic butter, but was persuaded to try a ceviche.


The menu explains that steaks are cooked bleu (blue), saignant (bleeding) or mal cuit (badly cooked), proclaiming that anything but rare is inedible and they won’t serve it. On another board, a more forgiving statement reads bleu, saignant and jamais mal cuit (never badly cooked). Upon request with the waiter, it was actually fine for the chef to do à point, which means perfectly done or medium… but as you can see I can’t imagine what saignant or bleu would look like!

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Our côte de boeuf à point.

Everything was very delicious but be warned, there is no ketchup or even mayonnaise in the house for your frites. The table next to us did get a bowl of gray salt. It was hard to manage our disappointment though the meal was far from poor. We decided to skip dessert and walked a bit to get a never disappointing glace Berthillon.

I had to include this pic for the final Parisian post!

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