Le Relais de l’Entrecote is a Parisian institution that’s sort of a cross between an Outback Steakhouse and a Harvey House. (Like in the movie, “The Harvey Girls,” starring Judy Garland and Angela Lansbury, anyone, anyone??) If you want a table you have to go right at 7.
I had decided to skip it, but then last night I got lost and it started raining and I was hardcore relating to Eponine Thernardier when all of the sudden I peered up and there it was. And I looked at my watch and it was 6:53, and, well, if that isn’t divine intervention, then I don’t know what is.
Here’s how it works: they ask you if you want an apertif and they ask you if you want wine. (Yes, and yes.) Then they ask you how you want your steak cooked, and if you’re lame and unadventurous and American you’ll say “bien cuit”. (I said “bien cuit”.)
And that’s all the choice you have. The restaurant only serves one thing, and that one thing is steak frites. But those steak frites are magic.
After the first bite I instantly felt a thousand times better (actually maybe it was at the first sip of champagne) and halfway through my frites life was starting to look pretty rosy again. And I thought about poor Eponine, miserably wandering the streets by herself. If only she had been able to step in from the rain to eat a good steak and have a nice glass of wine! Then maybe she, by the fifth or sixth bite, would have come to the conclusion that there are worse fates in the world than being On Your Own in Paris.