As we were staying in Bastille, we decided to check out Le Bistrot Paul Bert. We really wanted to try steak and fries, a dish that is quintessentially Parisian. And Paul Bert was quite a popular Bistro for both visitors and locals for cote de boeuf as well as their frites.
It was around a 15 minutes to walk from our apartment and we opted to have a sidewalk table since it was still light outside. The friendly waiter brought out the menu on a portable chalk board and was kind enough to translate almost the entire board. We chose the prix fixe menu which offers 3 courses, however paid extra to try the cote de boeuf (€34 for standard prix fixe menu, a little more for the cote de boeuf). That’s very very reasonable by Brisbane standards. We also ordered some house red to go with our meals.
For my entree I chose white asparagus in butter and served with egg. It was asparagus season and white asparagus is considered a delicacy in Europe. Probably more because it is in rare supply, as white asparagus are the same as green, just grown in the dark. My asparagus was very delicate and it was picked at the right time, as there was no stringyness to it at all. A nice light start to my meal.
The mains came out on warm plates and by this stage I was hungry and ready to tuck in to the steak. The steak was rare and quite chewy, which is normal for Parisian beef. The chewyness distracted me from the flavour. Perhaps I am used to the beef in Australia, as I rarely have such chewy beef.
With our steak came the fries – or frites. I’ll confess I love a good chip. And these frites were fan.tas.tiiic……. YUM. Perfectly double fried and golden in colour, crispy on the outside but still tender on the inside, with a light sprinkle of salt. I was in fries, frites and chip heaven. I was already full and struggled to finish my steak but I ate every single frite. The best I’ve ever had to this day.
I was completely full by this stage and needed an interlude before proceeding with dessert. We sipped out wine and did a bit of people watching. When our desserts arrived the dessert part of my stomach perked up. I ordered a trio of ice cream and Mr Ana ordered a huge strawberry macaron (Mr Ana is obsessed with strawberry so this was a natural selection for him). The first thing I noticed was that the chocolate ice cream wasn’t particularly sweet, but it was very rich in cacao flavour. They must have used a good dark chocolate because it had depth in flavour. My vanilla ice cream was also lovely, not too sweet and a strong vanilla bean flavour. The almond coated tuille was delicate and had a good coating of almonds. By this stage I was too full and since I was eating dessert slowly it had started to melt. So I didn’t quite get to my third scoop 🙂
Mr Ana’s dessert was DELICIOUS. Yes, I sampled it a few times. The macaron itself wasn’t too sweet (unlike some of the macarons from Laduree) and while the shell was crunchy, the inside of the macaron was chewy and soft. The strawberries were plump and juicy, sweet but still a little tart – which went well with the strawberry sauce drizzled on the plate. Mr Ana was in strawberry heaven.
It was a good dinner overall, however I did the steak a bit chewy for my liking. The atmosphere was great, what you would expect in a little bistro. While the bistro is frequented by many visitors, the majority of diners were locals who knew the staff. It was a great introduction to Paris dining.