✳ QUEST FOR THE BEST
Steak Frites To me, no item on a French bistro menu says “eat me” like steak frites. I’m a sucker for accompanying sauces, the look of herb butter melting over mediumrare beef, and a stickler for good frites. I enjoy the weight of a quality, sharp knife, and its aim, if not always true, is deadly emphatic. Indeed, if a good steak frites lasted all day I’d have one of the better days of my life. Here are four that have recently cut the mustard: Bistro Pastis | 2153 West 4th | Kitsilano, Vancouver | 604-731-50-20 | BistroPastis.com Pricey but perfect: a 5 oz. cut of AAA New York with a tower of frites sells steeply at $24, while an 8 oz. goes for a whopping $30. The beef is nicely marbled and firm in texture; the ordered temperature is delivered bang on. The accompanying peppercorn sauce is mellow and silky and doesn’t overshadow the quality of the meat. Jules Bistro | 216 Abbott St. | Gastown, Vancouver | 604-669-0033 | JulesBistro.ca Their AAA rib-eye is a little loose and overly fatty for my tastes, like a wobbly brick of flavour with a peppercorn sauce lending a helping hand. Frites go limp in a hurry, and desired colour temperature can be inconsistent. Nevertheless, at $18 for an 8 oz. and $24 for a 12 oz., they remain good value options. Brasserie L’Ecole | 1715 Government St. | Victoria | 250-475-6260 | Lecole.ca Flawlessly prepared, Roquefort butter-topped 8 oz. Alberta sirloins sell for $24 (12 oz. for $32) and sit next to some of the best frites I’ve had anywhere: truffle oil tossed, sprinkled with Parmesan, and sidekicked by a never-big-enough portion of Dijon mayo (a 10 oz. New York cut goes for $29 with same).
Steak Frites: Happily ubiquitous: the steak frites at Bistro Pastis is the picture of perfection.
The Smoking Dog | 1889 West 1st | Kitsilano, Vancouver | 604-732-8811 | TheSmokingDog.com A nicely marbled 8 oz. New York strip loin with a little fat cap on its edge (no butter pat), robustly sauced with a veal-heavy bordelaise and served with crispy, gently seasoned frites. A real contender at just $21. —A.M
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www.eatmagazine.ca MARCH | APRIL 2008