Steak Frites in Provence

Nov 7th, 2006, 06:40 AM
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Steak Frites in Provence

Hi all, we will be in Provence next fall, staying in a small village outside of Avignon. This will be our third trip to France but in all our trips we have never been able to get a decent steak with frites and my husband has put this on the top of his "must do" list ... sheesh. Anyway if anyone can give me a recommendation we would really appreciate it.
Beckie is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 06:51 AM
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Not a recommendation but a warning. Napoleon's soldiers, short of meat acquired a taste for horse meat which they took home. Steak in France and Belgium can be horse (cheval) meat and not beef (boeuf). Horse meat is tougher than beef (and of course cheaper, so many restaurants will use it).
kaneda is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 06:52 AM
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Horse meat is also poular around Verona in Italy. And in Paris, too.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 07:05 AM
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About horse meat in Belgium:
Yes, it is sometimes served, but in very few restaurants, and it is mentioned explicitely as horse meat, so if it just says steak it WILL be beef !

By the way, quite a lot of people prefer horse meat to beef, as the meat contains less calories and tastes a bit sweet.
stardust is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 07:18 AM
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I must recomend Auberge d'Anais, 10 minutes from Vaison la Romaine. The outdoor patio overlooking the valley of vineyard is amazing even if the steak and frites is only average. The clincher is it includes a first course and wine for 9.30 euros. Directions are in rick steves provence.We were there this september after the Tuesday morning market.
StephenG is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 07:19 AM
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We spent 3 weeks in France this September. Our first week was in Paris; 3 days in Normandy; and the remained in Provence and Burgundy. I'm sorry to say that we ordered steak in all locations and none of it was good. Normandy's was so bad that I refused to pay for it!
mkdiebold is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 07:19 AM
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I'm sure in Napoleonic times, horse meat was cheaper than beef because there were large numbers of horses used by the army and by everybody else for transport. Horses are now much scarcer than cows so, unless steaks are specifically advertised as horse meat, then they will be beef.
There is the menu term "à cheval" which means that the steak (or whatever) has a fried egg on top (presumably because the egg looks like the saddle on a horse). This has nothing to do with horse meat.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 08:50 AM
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By law, menus must now show the origin of the meat you are ordering. Eg. - Boeuf Charolais

Most Americans are not happy with the steak served here as it's not aged very long or marbled... if you're happy eating it rare (saignant) or bleu you'll probably enjoy it more.

There is a restaurant near my house in Maussane - The Vallon de Gayet (just outside of Mouriès) that serves very good beef - cooked on an open fireplace.
Tel: 04 90 47 50 63) Every American that I've sent there has been really happy with their meal.

As an aside, I've lived in Europe since 1964 and have never been served horsemeat as beef. As Geoff said, "a cheval" means en egg on top, and nothing to do with horsemeat.

PBProvence is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 09:22 AM
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I'm curious as to why folks would want to eat steak while in France, with all of the other delicious alternatives available. I can see getting a yearning to have a familiar dish once in awhile, but French steak is more like that served at a "Sizzler Steak House" in the States, i.e., low quality and price. If that makes you happy, dig in.

If one really wants to feel at home, McDonalds are everywhere.

nukesafe is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 09:30 AM
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I live in NW France and I would say order pork chops. The ones I buy are local produce and cost about E1.25 per pound and you can almost cut them with your fork. Who needs steak?
kaneda is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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People who don't like pork. I really don't like pork at all and hardly ever eat it.

That whole horse meat thing is just alarmist. As PBProvence, said, by law it has to be labelled, and I thought I read there was a law that it is not even allowed to be served in Paris. Maybe I'm remember wrong, but this is certainly not commonly served seriptitiously in France. I read an article not long ago in a US newspaper that France has to import horsemeat (some from the US), and I don't think it is that cheap.
Christina is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 10:33 AM
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If you really want a steak, there are two major chains of steakhouses in France. The biggest sit-down restaurant chain in France is called "Buffalo Grill" and has all sorts of steaks, including bison and ostrich. It may be noted that it was bought out by an American company last year and already has a location in Florida.
The other big steakhouse chain is "Hippopotamus" -- it has numerous pretty good options for your steak.
It should be mentioned that it is no longer possible to have a T-bone steak in France (they were wonderful at Buffalo Grill!), because it is one of the cuts that was banned due to mad cow disease.
kerouac is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 11:28 AM
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I certainly was not being alarmist when I brought it up..I just think it is interesting that it is fairly common in some areas of the world. I have only tasted it once, in Verona, but on this recent trip I did visit with a horse meat vendor in the Bayonne marketplace. I doubt it is even to be found on more than a few menus in Provence.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 11:33 AM
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If an outfit asked tourists if they ate horse meat while in France, would the survey be conducted by the Gallop Poll? I once accidentally dined on horse meat and found out the next day I could run six furlongs in record time.

maitaitom is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 11:40 AM
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In Provence, generally speaking, you are best off staying clear of beef. Instead, when in the mood for meat - I go for either lamb or bull (taureau) which are locally raised and usually excellent.

that being said, the best steak I ever had in my life was at the Oustau de Baumaniere in Les Baux. A far, far cry from steak frite I can assure you. Not sure what that animal ate all it's life before ending up on my plate, but god bless 'em for it !

kevin_widrow is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 11:45 AM
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I always say neigh to horsemeat. If they served it to me without telling me I'd cry foal.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Nov 7th, 2006, 01:01 PM
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Horse meat is more expensive than beef, at least in the market. I doubt that any restaurant would want to pass horse meat as beef (there is a Daumier cartoon about passing cat as rabbit that then presented as hare).

If you do not like rare meat, do not order steak in France.
Michael is online now  
Nov 7th, 2006, 01:10 PM
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I guess this is not the place to bring up the dog satay I ate in Sumatra.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 7th, 2006, 08:30 PM
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To answer nukesafe, I opted for beef several times because I am allergic to seafood and don't much care for lamb. I was surprised that there wasn't more chicken and pork offered. Wish I had known about the beef not being aged nor marbled. It now makes sense that tenderness would be a problem.
mkdiebold is offline  
Nov 9th, 2006, 02:34 AM
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Just returned from Paris, and ate at a restaurant called Le Entrecote near the Franklin Roosevelt Metro stop on the Champs Elysee. I was hesitant because I like good food..went to Atelier Joel Robuchon the next day for great food. But I will say that for 17.50 euros, we had a good steak with frites, which is their specialty. This may be a chain of 3 or 4 restaurants in Paris..not sure. But our steak was served sliced with a buttery mustard sauce (a good sized portion of meat and very tender) a huge platter of very good frites, and a green salad with nuts and a creamy dressing, plus bread. I would go back!
GerryBonj is offline  

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