Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote - A New Dining Style for NY
Last night I met up with friends at Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote on Lexington Avenue at 52nd Street. This is french bistro dining taken to the simplest form - the waitress arrives at your table and presents you with four options (blue, rare, medium, well done). Don't bother asking for your steak cooked medium-rare as one of my dining companions did - this just means you weren't listening to the waitress. You are able to select wine from a small wine list that follows a similar form to the whole theme. We tried the house bottle of bordeaux for $19.99.
Once you have placed your order you'll get a simple salad dressed in a wonderful tart mustard vinaigrette with walnuts followed by steak frites cooked per your request. The steak arrives covered in a secret sauce which is a well done enhancement to both the steak and the fries. The steak was not the steak I have had, the sauce not the most mind-boggling, the fries alone won't blow your mind, and the wine is what you would expect for $19.99. But here's the interesting thing, it all works really well. I love this place for its simplicity. Everyone's writing about recession specials, but for $48 (including a generous tip) I had salad, steak frites, a couple of glasses of wine, a shared portion of profiteroles, and a glass of dessert wine. The only question I have is why did they open on 52nd and Lex and not closer to my apartment?
A little background on the restaurant: New York is not the first stop for owner Paul Gineste de Saurs. He started in Porte Maillot with the sole intention of creating a market for his family's wines (Chateau de Saurs) from South West France. Not having a restaurant background, he wanted to start by keeping the menu simple. What is more simple and french than salad and steak frites. I just love the simplicity of this place - drink our wine, eat what we tell you.