I believe I am a worthy judge of steaks.
As a child I was part of a family that liked its meat. Steak was a regular feature at dinner and strength was proven by out-eating other family members during BBQ time. In fact, when I first brought Demis home to meet the parents, what endeared him to them was not his dedication and love for their daughter but his ability to keep down an excessive amount of food. Birthday lunches would see an unspoken yet deadly challenge between my father and Demis on how many steaks each could get through.
Steak did not just feature in the home. I have been to nearly every steak house and restaurant claiming to do “the best steaks” in Sydney and thanks to taking contracts with state governments have also eaten a steak in nearly every country town in NSW. Yes, even Tamworth, home of the steak.
My steak-eating expertise is not just limited to Australia. When I traveled to Spain as a young teen with my mother, I got a terrible stomach bug and afterwards, the only meal I craved was steak. While back-packing through Europe as an older teen the only luxury I afforded myself (i.e. when not eating bread and tuna) was steak. When recently traveling through the UK during the winter, what warmed me up? Steak. When visiting my brother in Miami I turned into steak (albeit mostly pork). When Demis and I traveled to Argentina we ate steak at least seven times a week – we even witnessed (and ate) a slaughtering in Patagonia. In Paris alone I have eaten approximately eight different steaks.
Hell, I’m the type of girl that window-shops at butchers.
I realise some of you non-believers may still be questioning my reign on steak. Many of you know me personally as one who eats a strict, lean, largely vegetarian diet day-to-day. This is true, but make no mistake – I know my steak. After all, is an alcoholic a judge on fine wines? In addition, I have also married a man with a similar (although not quite comparable, it’s just not in his blood) history of steak eating.
So I feel I am more than qualified to make this bold yet undeniably true claim:
Le Severo serves the best steak in all the world.
(a moment of silence as this claim is absorbed)
True I could have contained this claim to Paris, or even France but that is both pointless and a waste of time. True I may not have eaten every steak in every country in all the world…but this is just a minor detail hardly worth discussing. Perfection can not be improved. It’s that simple.
Le Severo is a tiny restaurant buried outside the Paris centre. It is owned by an ex-butcher who is the chef but also presides over the ten or so tables. The menu is small (who needs a big menu when you offer the world’s best steak) however the wine menu is a chalk board taking up an entire wall, with a particular focus on heavy reds.
We began our meal with a plate of cured ham. Although I still prefer Spanish ham, this was incredibly good. It was rich and flavoursome and delicious with crusty sour bread (we removed that slab of butter btw…sacrilegious).
But forget that because we’re talking about steaks.
I ordered the rump (cut different to an Australian rump) and Demis ordered the sirloin which came sliced up. Both of us nearly fell off our chair when we tasted our steaks.
The outside was crunchy with that almost burnt edge to it. As you bit further you then tasted and felt the various layers until you got to the centre which was cooked rare and allowed you to get the full flavour of the meat. This was no ordinary meat, only top grade produce is used at Le Severo and when you bit into your steak you suddenly realised you had never tasted beef before.
At this point I have to talk abut the salt. Le Severo is the perfect example of what good seasoning does for a meal. Most people are a bit indifferent to seasoning when cooking. They wrongly assume that people can sprinkle on the salt they like after it’s been cooked. I don’t agree with that. Seasoning the meat with salt before is an essential step to cooking meat and getting the balance right helps the texture, colour and taste. Adding extra salt after it’s cooked so that it gets soaked up while resting, will then give it that extra special punch. Meat and salt were meant to go together and more so when it’s an incredible salt like France’s Sal de Fleur.
Le Severo also proves what resting does to a steak. It may have been cooked raw in the middle but not a drop of blood poured out while it was being cut and my knife glided through the fat rump like butter.
The other highlight of the dish were the fries. Each potato chip was handcut and fried so that it had the slightest of crisp on the outside but perfectly soft in the middle and again, it had a perfect amount of salt (so so rare in France).
As full as I was after eating that dish, I was prepared to order a second serving it was that sensational. In fact, I will refuse to eat another steak for a long time – it will just never compare.
(moment of silence in appreciation of steak)
Now, for those of you (probably male) readers out there who are doubting my bold claim I will add that Demis has also made the same bold claim. Le Severo steaks are, without a doubt and not open for discussion (I would delete your comments if you tried), the best steaks in all the world.
It was difficult to move on after that steak but eventually we ordered dessert. We shared a chocolate mousse that was thick and bitter – so much more delicious than the normal sweet, light and creamy version. And yes, in the photo, the line you see running through the mousse was made by me. When eating with Demis you have to make boundaries or you miss out.
Leaving Le Severo we were the happiest couple in all the world (why stop at making one bold claim?). We had eaten a perfect meal and we had the afternoon free to walk through Paris. What more could anyone possibly want from life?
(moment of silence as readers feel insanely jealous)
Later that evening we headed out to the D’Orsay museum.
For many people D’Orsay is their favourite and the two-hour queues tend to reflect this (hence why we went in the evening). But having now been there twice I have to saw that while I do think it has a superb impressionist collection (favourite of today was seeing a couple of Monet’s Rouen Cathedral series…such a mess close up, so perfect and detailed from afar…genius), I have to say it’s not my favourite gallery.
Yes it has a nice mix of works (Van Gough, Rodin, Manet, Monet, Degas, Matisse etc) and yes it’s a nice size so in that regard, it’s a good place for tourists to go (better than the Louvre) because you can see a wide-range in just a couple hours.
But I much prefer galleries that feature the one artist or a collection of artists that focus on one movement/style. These are far more intimate (and tourists never seem to bother with them) and give you the chance to actually learn about a style/artist in a lot of depth. They also tend to be in smaller and older buildings, usually with gardens, that adds to the charm.
Really though, it was hard focusing on masterpieces knowing I had consumed the master of all steaks only a couple hours previously.
(silence as thoughts drift back to steak…)