How are steaks cooked in Paris?

Jul 8th, 2007, 02:02 PM
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How are steaks cooked in Paris?

Do Parisian restaurants typically cook steaks to a particular "doneness" (say, medium-rare)? If so, how are they usually cooked? Can you request that a steak be, say, medium or medium-well?
Linda0515 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 02:14 PM
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ira
 
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Hi L,

IIRC,

bleu Pittsburgh rare
saignant rare
à point medium rare
cuit medium well
bien cuit well done
(quelle horreur!)

ira is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 02:23 PM
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You will ask them to cook it your way and it will be cooked and given to you their way (b/c the chef knows best)..
At best, there will be a compromise leaning to less doneness than you wanted.
Travelnut is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 02:34 PM
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If you like it medium to medium well, I would ask for bien cuit which should mean you want it well done. But like Travelnut says, that doesn't necessarily mean you will get it cooked well done.

I like my beef & lamb a true medium rare and have found that asking for it "rosy" usually gets it just right.
Linda431 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 02:55 PM
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Or just say "rose."
Underhill is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 03:31 PM
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Medium rare is 'A point'.

RM67 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 03:44 PM
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rex
 
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At the risk of over-generalizing... Paris is not the place to go for a steak. There are exceptions to this notion, I am sure...

1. There are "Argentine" steak houses abundantly throughout Paris, and they serve a steak that is comparable to a so-so American chain restaurant (Outback, for example).

2. Top "cosmopolitan"-type (as opposed to "French" restaurants - - like in a very Americanized hotel) may well, indeed serve steaks on the same plain as better American steak houses.

3. Many French restaurants list "Steack frites" on the menu (that's how they spell it) - - and it will be a fairly thin cut of less-than-choice sirloin, moderately seasoned, and cooked (to well done) about a minute on each side - - not all that different from what you might find on a "meaty" Philly "cheesesteak" (but minus the cheese, onions and peppers). Good, but below "Ponderosa" on the "real steak" scale.

Of course, smothered in really good fries (maybe not as good as Belgium, and maybe not with mayonnaise, but still, the French _do_ make good frites).

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 03:46 PM
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Just got back from Paris a few hours ago. A couple of days ago, at a conference lunch, beef was served. No choice as to doneness when hundreds are being served. The outer 5 mm of each slab of meat was cooked while the inside was not. Most people at my table trimmed off the cooked bit and left the rest.
Gavin is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 03:53 PM
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Gavin I trust it wasn't a culinary arts conference...LOL
robjame is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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Of course you can request it...the waiter will always ask...but...

First off, the French cut the animal up completely differently from the way we do in the US, so the actual cuts of meat are sometimes very different and sometimes somewhat different.

Second, no matter how you order it using the equivalent French term, it will be bloodier than you probably want it to be (well, I'm guessing here - I like mine practically raw and so love to eat beef in France). But generally speaking, if you're fussy about the doneness, don't order steak in Paris.
StCirq is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 04:35 PM
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Steaks in France are cooked hardly at all - think still cool in the center. If you ask for well-done you will get medium rare - at most. I've never seen a restaurant will serve it more well done than that. And - if they did - I doubt if you couuld eat it.

Separately, while many places in France serve steaks- the quality is generally not what you would get in a good steak house in the US. Most places that specialize in steak import the meat- often from Argentina.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 05:06 PM
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^
suze is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 05:09 PM
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USand Canadian beef is banned in France. It is illegal to import it. France has paid many fines since 1952 for their policy on this - it is not simply protectionism.
Why is it illegal - we use growth hormones and antibiotics in our beef that are not allowed in France.
robjame is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 05:19 PM
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ira
 
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Hi G,

>at a conference lunch, beef was served....Most people at my table trimmed off the cooked bit and left the rest.<

Any French folks at your table?

The French undercook their "steaks" because they are made from rather poor cuts of relatively tough bovines.

This is not to say that they don't taste good, but I agree with Rex, mostly.

See http://tinyurl.com/2tlm5b

ira is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 05:29 PM
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ira
 
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>Why is it illegal - we use growth hormones and antibiotics in our beef that are not allowed in France.<

So, they don't accept organic, grass-fed beef w/o hormones or antibiotics?

Do they have some sort of deal with Argentina? with Brazil? with the UK?

ira is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 07:36 PM
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Twice I ordered steak while in France, once in Paris and once in Normandy. Each experience was disappointing, mostly because each steak was very tough. The Normandy steak was totally impossible to chew! My husband couldn't even eat it, and that's saying something. I read somewhere that French beef isn't aged like in the States, contributing to the toughness problem. Of course, over cooking can also cause even a good steak to become tough.
mkdiebold is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 07:51 PM
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Better to order duck in France... yum!
bettyo70 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 08:37 PM
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American beef is tender due to the growth hormones. Anything that grows unnaturally fast will be flabby.
kerouac is online now  
Jul 8th, 2007, 08:45 PM
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Good to know... yuck!
bettyo70 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 09:11 PM
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That overstates it, Kerouac. Feeding corn in feedlots counts more for the qualities of American beef than the fast growing does. Fast growing simply makes it more profitable.
American beef is a product of scientific agriculture of the highest form. (Whether or not it's wise is another matter.) And some of the best steak frites you'll find are in French bistros ... in New York.

Incidentally, There was a recent article in the NYTimes about the rising cost of producing the highest quality prime beef - and the resulting sky high price of steaks in the top houses; some restaurants have actually cut back their hours to reflect the amount of the "best" stuff they're able to get.

I agree, steak isn't a Parisian specialty in the least. I've had steak frites in Paris that remind me of steak and eggs at Denny's. But a roast chicken ... now that's another matter. And you can always eat steak in Tuscany.
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