Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gastronomy in Paris: La Bourse ou la Vie

with RobG

"Your money or your life", that's how the name of this whimsical little restaurant is loosely translated from French. The owner, the theaterical Patrice Tatard was once an architect, and decided to open this restaurant as a way to prepare steak and fries as it was meant to be. Patrice is a huge fellow, full of life and a strong, powerful tenor voice would sing along the traditional French songs whafting out of the sound system.

Located just a block away from the Paris Stock Exchange (also known as La Bourse...the play of words is cunning), the interior is small, rather cramped at times, though we escaped the crowd by arriving early...the restaurant opens at noon, and we were promptly there at 12.

The menu features several items, but for me, there is only one thing to order here...the steak and fries in a rich, creamy peppercorn sauce.

A fillet (coeur de beouf) is butterflied, and grilled to a perfect medium inside...I asked for medium rare, and the waitress recommended medium, saying that medium rare for them still is bloody, and well done spoils the meat. So I went with her recommendation of medium. When it was delivered, it was perfect:

The beef was grass fed...they didn't tell me, I knew. It was a bit, only the slightest bit tough...perhaps chewy might be a better description, no marbling. But bursting with flavour - the beefiness that comes from grass fed beef, and sufficiently tender to go down with little protest. The sauce was "oh la la" so beautifully creamy, that even though I usually prefer a huge marbled slab of beef done Chicago medium-rare, I didn't mind the sauce one fact enjoyed it a lot! The chef did not spare the butter or fat in the sauce. Full, rich, creamy, luxurious, and though the French might have another word for it, I say, "SHIOK".

The main attraction, of course, and the reason for this place's fame is the fries. Hand cut, and fried to a perfect, and I mean really, really mean perfect, crisp outside, smooth, creamy inside. Only possible if the potatoes are fried in suet (beef fat) sparing of the arteries here, but what a heavenly taste! Without a doubt, the best fries I have eaten.

Must try in Paris.

La Bourse ou la Vie
12 rue Viviene
Paris 75002
Open noon-10pm Mon-Fri.
Closed 1wk Aug & 1wk Dec

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