my friend L and I share a passion for good food so when we had coinciding trips to Paris, we went to the internet to do our restaurant research. and one of the best resources for great dining places around the world is nytimes’ mark bittman. one of his favorite restaurants in paris is restaurant le severo.
contrary to some descriptions i’ve read about le severo’s reputation of being a fantastic wine bar, the place is really one of the shining gems in the 14th Arrondissment with many quiet surprises and of course, probably the best steak frites in all of Paris.
nestled in tiny rue plantes, le severo’s interiors evoke a very traditional french bistro setting with only 10 tables. the crowd consisted of locals and menu was on a chalkboard on the wall, with two-thirds’ of it boasting of an extensive wine list.
we settled for the house red which was really good as it is. or maybe i was just jetlagged since i had just arrived the night before.
we really just intended to eat steak frites but our waiter had suggested we get a starter as it takes 30 minutes to get our main dish. he tipped us off to get the pied de porc dessose salade. it was pork feet with the bones taken out and sliced into little bits, boiled and set in a jelly like a terrine, then fried to a crisp. the salad had a slight citron-based dressing that was a refreshing balance. it was SO GOOD.
and of course, the steak frites. one of my lenten sacrifices was giving up fries(i also gave up coke zero, among other things) so i was looking forward to this meal since march. and it did not disappoint!
our french wasn’t so great so we guessed that the côte de boeuf that came with frites on the side was THE one. we had our steaks saignant and it arrived flawlessly cooked – crspy on the outside but rosy, juicy, straddling the delicate line of tenderness.
everything was seasoned to perfection! the frites were a dream – homemade, hand-cut and golden with the right amount of fleur de sel. it had me cross-eyed with delight!
for dessert, we shared a very simple creme caramel – their version of leche flan – traditionally served ice cold and floating on a slick of burnt sugar syrup. a nice punctuation to this great meal.
what a beautiful welcome to the city of lights!
Restaurant Le Severo
8, Rue Plantes