Le Severo

June 9th, 2011 § 3 comments

There was a côte de veau for two, and sweetbreads with purée, asparagus and girolles on the menu at Le Severo, but the reason I traveled almost the entire length of line four was to eat steak. And not just any, but what might be some of the best in Paris.

Owner William Bernet is himself a butcher. He told me that all of his steaks are aged from five to ten weeks, a rare practice here in Paris, carried out only by a couple of meat men: Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, and Bernet’s near-neighbor Hugo Desnoyer, who supplies Le Severo.

I found the old-fashioned corner location charming. It’s a tight assemblage of tables arranged around a zinc counter that sticks out like a full belly into the room, guarding the single cook and what is otherwise an open kitchen. There are a couple of booths along one window but otherwise you’ll be shoulder to shoulder with the other carnivores.

There is no imposed menu, so you can go straight to steak, or you could start with a patty of boudin noir (from Christian Parra), a rosette d’Auvergne, or a slice of house-made pork terrine. On this night, the only non-meat options were sautéed girolles or white asparagus with parmesan. We shared the girolles, which were just that, girolles, cooked in a hot pan and well-seasoned. My pal, who did a long stint at Chez Panisse and who has been known to forage his own fungi, approved.

We chose a faux filet and pavé de rumsteak. They arrived beautifully seared, with a dark crisp exterior and pure, purple-red center, a juicy cure for anemia. There is a choice of fries or haricots verts. I can’t tell you how the beans were, but the thick-cut frites were fantastic, hot and crisp, direct from their second bath in the fryer.

There’s no Béarnaise or shallot butter slathered on the steaks. If you’re looking for sauce, turn your attention to the wine list, mostly natural, offering a great collection of northern Rhone reds, in particular.

The côte de boeuf — that’s a bone-in ribeye — serves two and goes for €80. Other cuts were priced from €25-30, and the tartare is €16. It’s not cheap, but that’s the point; with dry aging, meat loses weight. The seller has less than he bought, and that cost is passed to the consumer. In return, though, you get a better steak, with superior flavor and more tender texture.

It’s worth it, I think.

Le Severo 8 rue des Plantes, Paris 75014 +33 (0)1 45 40 40 91 closed Saturday and Sunday

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