Wednesday 19 May 2010

Getting Good Steak in France

When we were out and about with Martine's friends on Monday we had lunch at le Detour in Civray-en-Touraine. The restaurant is very conveniently situated for Chenonceau, where we had spent the morning, and Laurence and Philippe, the proprietors, are très sympa.

For entrée 3 of us had the chèvre feuilleté. Simon opted to just have a large plate of choucroute, which he loves and he said was excellent. It certainly looked as good as choucroute is capable of, with several different meats attractively laid out around a pile of pickled cabbage (I'm afraid I can't like choucroute, especially in the quantities it seems to be served). Our Belgian clients were dubious about having choucroute outside of Alsace in France and so they happily settled on spinach lasagne.

Below, from left to right: some unknown bloke on a motorbike, our clients Béatrice and Jean-Luc, Célestine, me, Laurence and Philippe in front of the restaurant.
I think I made the best choice of all though. Daringly, I chose steak. This is a risky thing to do in France. It often arrives at the table not quite quickly enough, having not been cooked with quite enough attention, and it is like chewing through carpet. It's often very tasty, but the effort required to eat it outweighs the flavour.

Nothing like this is likely to happen to you at le Detour. Here, the entrecôte is perfect - tender, juicy, seared on the outside, like red jelly in the centre. Charmingly, Laurence says that it is because the beef she buys is so good, from a supplier she trusts, and she takes none of the credit. But I know that the best beef can be ruined on the hotplate if the chef doesn't know what they are doing. Laurence makes perfect chips too.

For dessert there was a moelleux au chocolat, with crêmes anglaise and chantilly. It arrived suitably squishy in the middle with the proper very thin sugary crust. We all liked it a lot.

We paid €13.50 per meal for the food and €8 for three little pitchers of wine (one of each colour) from the grower up the road from them (Claude Aupetitgendre), all excellent. They are such nice people, everyone is made to feel at home and welcome. Laurence speaks excellent English too.



Jean said...

Thanks for the tip, Susan. We must give it a try. Lunchtime is such a bargain in these places.

Paulita said...

I love the wine decaneters and the blue water pitcher too. I always mean to bring some interesting water vessels home from France, but just get overwhelmed with the other things while I'm there. Great photo

Ken Broadhurst said...

Entrecôte is my least favorite steak. I'll take bavette, onglet, faux-filet, or rumsteak any day. I like the steak rare or even bleu.

As for choucroute, if it's good it's fantastic. Very easy on the system, not acidic, almost sweet. Much better than cooked cabbage that hasn't first fermented. The phrase "pickled cabbage" doesn't do choucroute justice, because it isn't vinegary or salty, if done right.

There is no accounting for taste, though, as they say. Thanks for the restaurant recommendation.

Amanda said...

Susan, Jean-Pierre
took beautiful pictures of orchids in the "departement de la Drome" on yesterday's blog (5/18).

Parisbreakfasts said...

My French friend made me entrecote and it was practically the best thing I've ever eaten-she made it in 3 minutes too!
This place looks darling!

Leon Sims said...

Steak in Australia Yummy. We have several steak houses in our area.
Big juicy T-bones, Rump, scotch fillet. All different cuts to France. But we can't go pass Cofit de Canard and the cheeses, oh and the wine and the best bread.
Oh well, we all have our specialties, no matter where we live.

Ken Broadhurst said...

I guess good entrecôte must be really good. I avoid it because too often I've had it fatty and gristly. Give me a good bavette!

Susan, I'll have to make choucroute for you some time and see if you like it.

Simon said...

Ken. It would be wasted on Susan, so I would have to eat her share.

I wouldn't complain about the task though!

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