Friday, July 11, 2008

Raw taste

Last night (Thursday) I managed to take some time off to go to the restaurant with some friends and I had a very Parisian dish: un steak Tartare. That is raw beef, prepared with a mix of ingredients (including Ketchup, egg yoke, onions, Worcester sauce, etc.) In this restaurant (General Lafayette) they even add nut chips and blue cheese chucks. Yummy! Well that is if you like raw meat of course ;) I looked everywhere and could not find the origin of Steak Tartare for sure, but one thing seems to be certain; originally it was meant to be horse meat. My friends told me that in the US, restaurants would be reluctant to serve raw meat, because of liabilities...


  1. Hmmm. Not sure if I would. I did see this being prepared tableside while I was eating out in Paris recently. It didn't look too bad up close, but the thought is a little too much...

  2. Some restaurants in the US won't even prepare the meat "rare."

    Great photo Eric! And a true testament to why I only eat steak frites while in France!

  3. Steak tartare uhm?
    I can hear it from here...mooo

  4. I think the only change for me would be to hold back the ketchup. I already like filet mignon cold-raw in the center, and raw egg yolks are the crowning glory of tobiko sushi. Blue cheese is good. Nuts, good. Hmm. I've been reading about the ancestor of Worcester sauce - "garum" of the ancient Mediterranean - a fermented fish gut/whole fish condiment. But I'm good with that too. When do we eat?

  5. Eric, I actually thought I was looking at a plate of lasagna. You surprised me. I honestly can say that my stomach would kick me in the ars if I indulged...or 'indugled' might be the better this gastronomic delight. I bow to those of you who can enjoy it though. As for me, I'll stick with a croque monsieur and a cool Leffe. Thanks for presenting this very French meal, Eric. Does the ketchup add an American twist to it?

  6. I thought it was eggplant until I read the post! Unfortunately, that's probably because I am a vegetarian.
    Funny you should post this today. I just saw my DR of Oriental medicine who happens to be an Englishman. He was extolling the virtues of raw milk to me encouraging me to find a co-op where I may be able to purchase some. He said it was more acceptable to eat non pasturized dairy products in Europe & he felt Europeans are healthier because of it as well. I definitely would like to try some raw milk...

  7. I did have tartare at Le Mabillon on blvd. St. Germain. It was tasty. Didn't know what it was until told, though, because it was so dark in the club.

    Regarding the orgin: I saw or read somewhere that the Tartars, riding across Asia and conquering that part of the world, were of course serious horsemen. Their entire lives depended on horses. Because of the need for riding long, long distances, they didn't want to stop. They would take raw horsemeat and put it under their saddles. The motion of riding on it all day, and the heat (and maybe the horse sweat, yummy) tenderized the meat enough that they could eat it. Probably had a much different flavor than Eric's dinner, I suppose.

    I always wonder how beef can be totally without disease so you can eat it raw. Fish from the salty ocean I can understand. But, a cow?

  8. I knew exactly what it was! When I'm lucky enough to get to Paris, my first dinner is always at Brasserie Balzar, and I always order the steak and nuts).
    Now you've given me a serious craving, Eric.

  9. should have been: . . . the steak Tartare (but theirs doesn't have chunks of bleu cheese and nuts).

    Don't know what happened there; apparently my computer is as overworked as I am.

    Gotta say, not sure I'd like this quite as much prepared the REAL Tartare way -- under a saddle all day!

  10. I guess that's a different taste compared to your favorite sushis, Eric ;) !! But in both cases definetely a raw taste!! Seems to be good! Personnally, I never tried... but I know many people who like a lot eating these 'steak tartare'.

  11. You probably can hear it, Rose ;-)

    I also thought it was lasagna.

  12. I have been eating Steak Tartare since forever. I use to get it at Italian or French restaurants in NYC. Now I get it in San Franciscan restaurants. I recently had it at the Vietnamese restaurant "Yummy Yummy" close to where I live. They serve frogs legs there too.

  13. I´m not into steak tartare.
    Now... steak frittes... THAT I love and would give anything to have one of those now with that special sauce that we can only taste at the restaurants there!

  14. Nice photo Coltrane!!

    Hi Rose and From Cali and Jeff and EVERYONE!

  15. Lily, the last time I had raw milk, my gut exploded and everything madly dashed for the emergency exits. And that was sort of in Europe. But it is probably just me.

    Jeff - I highly recommend "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen" by Harold McGee. A riveting blend of biology, chemistry, anthropology, mythology, and fashion that you won't be able to do without.

    Alexa - Take me with you, please. I could even help you pack. ;^)

  16. Hi Monica...
    Guess who I m having lunch with tomorrow?
    US Lynn! I am so excited!

  17. Jeff...I'm falling over laughing. Monica...good to see you again. We've all missed you. :-)

  18. Rose!!!!!!!! Manda um beijo enorme meu pra ela!!!!!!!!! Tell her that if I really go to the UK next year I want to meet her too!

    Coltrane, thanks!

  19. They put blue cheese on it now? Hmmm.. interesting. I never thought it would taste that great at first but if the meat is good then it's actually pretty good. When I lived in France, it was always horse meat, of course!

    My US buddies do not like my stories of eating horse meat, but it's the best meat I ever had. I think it's like a federal offense or something, here. (shrug) I had buffalo steaks once or twice, here in the States. Pretty good, but not quite the same.

  20. Funny thing you should post about steak tartare today, I just had one last night in a French restaurant in Hanoi. Except it was a bit different: it was flambéed with Cognac! Absolutely yummy.

  21. It is served in the UK too. Not what this veggies likes to see , but my partner being akin to Desperate Dan is salivating. I do hope Louis La Vache hasn't seen this it could be one of his relatives! It so nice to actually post a comment On the day of the post and not the next morning. Interesting who's here?

  22. Comme Jérôme et Eric, j'ai mangé un steak tartare ce soir! Coincidence! Mais le mien était home made, avec des pommes de terre sarladaises...accompagné d'une salade tomates mozzarella. Yummy, or Miam for the French speakers.
    Corinne, you never tasted it?! Really? It's one of the dish that I always order in French Brasseries...I just LOVE it.
    Good night.

    This gives you some history.

    I have a Germanic background and thought that it was just plain good food. New Years Eve was the night that you were sure to have steak tatare. As a youngster I didn't know any one else that ate it. But as we age we tend to eat less red meat. But I still like my animal protein rare.

  24. Hi Monica. We've missed you.

  25. Sacré bleu! Dining on "Louis's" relatives! Raw no less! "Louis" is shocked, SHOCKED! Not to mention outraged!

  26. guille, I'm with you -- miam.
    Tog, if you ask me how I like my beef, I say just hit it over the head and put it on a plate!

  27. “Louis” isn’t sure which is worse:
    a) Eating his relatives raw!
    b) Eathing his relatives cooked!
    c) Eating his relatives at all!
    d) All of the above

    Quelle horreur!

    "Louis's" only comfort is that it wasn't HIM on the plate!

  28. Ah, Louis -- so sorry! (Still gonna eat it though)

  29. mm. steak tartare. yum.
    though i prefer mine minus egg.

    i particularly like the twist of nuts and blue cheese. blue cheese! yum!

    we can get some pretty good asian-style tartares around my home town actually. beef tetaki as a japanese version is fantastic.

  30. My first thought was "EW!" But I think I could at least try it. I mean I do enjoy sushi on occassion so I could probably stomach raw steak. Can't think of anywhere around here that would serve it, though. You friend is right, everyone would be way too afraid of lawsuits to serve something like this!

  31. Woohoo! I have the least adventurous taste buds of anyone I know. So I'm just going to pretend this is lasagna. Eric, I'm glad you had a chance to enjoy an evening with friends.

  32. Tomate, I forgot about that -- I had buffalo too! A few of us were feeling adventurous and we went to "Tommy's Joint" on Van Ness (here in San Francisco). Buffalo is a lot heavier than beef -- very rich, I think -- .

    Monica, I went to a baby shower today and I was talking with a man there, and he was saying how much he loves Rio. I told him about you. What hotel do you work for? I told him that you loved macaroons and he said he did too.

    Alexa, "hit it over the head and put it on a plate" where did you hear that one? Did you make that up? I want the story behind that -- tell me, tell me.

    Urban (r)Evolutionary, I had beef tetaki at my friend's Japanese restaurant. Suzuki made it for me. (He calls me his honey.) It was good. Everything is good there though.

    Guille, "home made" No one can beat that! Your menu sounds delicious.

    Rose, Say a BIG HELLO TO UK LYNN for me -- better yet -- Have a toast -- are you getting together for lunch? Is this going to be a Sex in the City girlie type get-together. I'm thinking, yes.

  33. I love steak tartare, though here it tends to just be the raw beef. I remember going to one place near Washington DC where it was served on bread crackers as an appetizer....

  34. Eric,
    We serve something with all those ingredients (except the nuts and blue cheese of course) here. One tiny difference, we cook it and called it MEAT LOAF!
    Laugh if you will, it is a delicious. Each to his own.

  35. Alexa, Brasserie Balzac, on rue des Ecoles, I think. Ate there in 2007. Fabulous. The waiter was a real joker, too, had lots of fun.

    Bonjour Monica. Sorry I didn't check in again until late. I'll say hello tomorrow.

  36. And thanks for the book tip, USElaine.

  37. I like the angle of the photo, and the presentation of the dish is beautiful. However, I have to admit that I'd need the meat to be cooked some in order to eat it myself. (Apparently, it would no longer be steak tartare.) Mind you, I'm not one of those Americans who prefers her meat burned ... In my early days of learning French, when my teacher explained the terms for how a steak can be cooked (saignant, a point, bien cuit, etc.), she pointed out that the terms were not really equivalent to American terms. To get a steak in France "well done" by American standards, one would need to ask that the meat be burned! lol

    Rose, will you tell us all about your visit with Lynn?!? It sounds like fun!!!

  38. Everyone
    I will tell PHD-CDG aka US Lynn you sent her love and we shall toast to you all (Lois, thanks for the idea)

    We shall miss you there

  39. I did things backwards this morning,
    fist the number of comments : 38 before 9 AM !!
    Then the picture : how a picture of a ratatouille ot tchoutchouka could bring so much to say !!
    Then I read and all became clear !!
    What a controversial subject !!

    Jeff, I had the same explanation as yours for Steak Tartare.

    I used to be a big Steak Tartare fan. When I was a student in Lille, it was my "beginning of the month" treat : Steak Tartare at the Vegastore.
    Later in Paris I had some very good ones at La Cour St Germain, if I remember well, but never with blue cheese and nuts.
    However I must confess that I haven't eaten raw meat of fish for years. Overcautious when older ? Influenced by all you read about food risks and traffic.(For example, to French readers, did you fell like eating mozzarella those last days ?)
    Or just I don't know the butcher or restaurant I trust enough.
    But I'be happy to try again.

  40. Louis la Vache,
    I would not eat you or your relatives, and haven't for a long long time. Let's just pretend that it really is lasagne and move along into dessert!

  41. You are a brave one to try that Eric!! Here in the US i have only seen it as a patte' served on crackers!!

  42. yum! This is what I miss most about visiting Europe, especially Paris, where I had this dish last!

    every once in a while, my German club prepares this for dinner at our monthly meetings, but I haven't seen it in a while....

    I am getting hungry!

  43. I live in Charleston, SC, USA and many (maybe even most) of our finer restaurants offer steak tartare - yummy.

    The concoction in your picture is HUGE and basically has all of the ingredients found in my meatloaf recipe (which I cook). Bet is was good.

  44. bonjour,
    une photo potentielle: le géant mis en place actuellement à l'intersection de la rue de la tombe issoire et de la rue d'Alésia

  45. As a non meat eater I need to visit the bathroom...........

  46. I made it here before Rose! Ha!but I have to hurry as i have a flight to work!
    You should all be envious of me because she and her husband are such interesting and NICE people. The time just flew, laughing and sharing info. about our lives. We ate at the Fountain restaurant at Fortnum and Mason--how British of us! There are so many layers of interest to Rose, that I feel I would embarass her if I went on and on. Just quickly, she has studied with the best in cooking schools and has written a book and is on another. That is for starters. What a talent.
    Cali, you may get me if you meet Rose in SFO. And Cali I can't access facebook in LHR.
    Oh yes, that picture looks delish, but I wouldn't eat it. Horsemeat? Even the seller of horsemeat in the St. denis market doesn't eat horsemeat, as he volunteered the info!

  47. Lydia: Lasagne? You mean vegetarian lasagne, right? Not the one with beef in it!

    Tomate wonders if Louis has ever had horse meat?

  48. Jeff -- yes, Brasserie Balzar (not Balzac) is indeed on rue des Ecoles. Did you have the pommes Dauphinoises when you were there? -- so good (and so bad for you, oh well).

    Lois: "hit it over the head and put it on a plate" -- I'm pretty sure I made that up myself. On the other hand, when ordering boudin noir, instructions are that it must be "carbonise"!

    Rose and PHX -- sounds like you had a lovely visit. I'm happy for you, but envious too.

  49. Eric that looks really tomatoey. Er... unless...that's um...oh well ok moving swiftly on.

    I haven't tasted it myself but probably would. So long as it's not horse. I do like my steak quite rare anyway.

    Bless you Rose, thanks. I wish you and Lynn a great day and can't wait to hear about it. I hope you'll be posting pics?

  50. PHX, I'm not the least surprised that Rose and her husband are fascinating and talented! Surely we'll hear the same about you from her. And I've eaten in that same restaurant at Fortnum and Mason, so I pictured it all with delight.

  51. My dad used to prepare steak tartare for my sister & me when we were kids, and not knowing any better, we ate it! I actually liked it, but would be kind of afraid to eat it these days with all of the beef issues.

    I'm really looking forward to the Southern California PDP Bastille Eve Extravaganza on Sunday!! A million thanks to Petrea for organizing!!!

  52. Rose, I thought you meant UK Lynn. Because if I go to the UK next year I´ll have to meet her there too. US Lynn I´m going to meet in Pareee!!!!! Bien sur!!!!!

    Right Phx?! ;-)

  53. Hey Soosha! I´ve missed you too!

    Lois I´ll answer you in a few minutes ok!

  54. Tomate, yes vegetarian Lasagnes, à la tomate! Hehe.

    I'm sure your afternoon was really girly Rose and Phx (and poor David!). ;) So Rose you wrote a cooking book? Interesting. Where can I find it?

    Monica, few hours left...

  55. Pont Girl, I don't know if it's going to be an extravaganza, but I'm sure looking forward to it.

  56. Hello from New York! Raw beef would never be served here. I didn't even know people eat raw beef. It looks nice though.

  57. hi, mike -- you may not find steak tartare out East (then again, you may), but just off the top of my head I can think of at least 5 places in Manhattan where they serve it -- and a couple more in Brooklyn. (Maybe you have to be an aficionado.)

  58. PHX
    Let's talk about someone very interesting sitting in the Fountain at Fortnum and Mason today.
    I shall give you a clue:
    She is very cultured, clever, smart and terribly witty.
    She can make the most boring subject sound fascinating.
    She is very positive, well educated, non-judgemental, extremely sensible and so much fun!
    She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
    Do you know anyone like that?

    We don't pronouce "Phx", instead we should say "Phoenix")

  59. Rose, You wrote a cook book? Where can I find it?

  60. Rose and Lynn, Hi! Your meeting today makes me think a lot of our last PDP picnic on the embankment!!! I so wish I could see you again!!!
    I totally agree with your description Rose and already felt US Lynn is exactly like you wrote. Rose, you too are so sweet!
    That won't be Eric who would say the opposite, I am sure of that!

    Guille : tonight I experienced my first ... steak tartare!!! Yes I did and thought a lot of today's Eric post!! That was amazing but I am not sure I am a big fan of that... For sure the preparation is important! I am glad having tasted it, though!!... And hope I won't be sick now! lol! :-s

  61. Bon appetite, et bon weekend, tout le monde.

    Ma Reine, have a great time.

  62. If this preparation turned some people off, why don't you post a photo of an "andouillette," which I absolutely love, but whose smell disgusts many. Doesn't look too good when you cut into it either, but j'adore les andouillettes....

  63. Oh, and yes, Bibi, "le chien avec une drole de gueule," loves steak Tartare...

  64. Guille, once again, merci!!! I was at a Festa Junina at work when I got your message today. That means a traditional brazilian country style party.

    Have a nice trip and enjoy the most you can that fascinating culture!!!

  65. Well, here it is 1:09-ish Saturday a.m. Paris and Belgrade time, and Eric hasn't posted his new photo yet, though most of the time he does so much earlier! Is it another scheduled posting glitch that I guessed at a while ago (ahem, ahem) or is he simply out on the town?

    It will now probably be a case of Murphy's Law and I'll find a new photo when I check before I sign off...

    If you're up now, drop in my blog to see some photos of Greece seen through our mystery (or he was until about an hour ago) traveler's eyes!

  66. Guile Tomate, yes vegetarian Lasagnes, à la tomate! Hehe Ah, oui, zut, j'avais pas pensé à ça!

  67. Rose...a cookbook and working on another? That doesn't surprise me in the least. You are AMAZING! I know the British could use more than a few good cookbooks. [UK Hell will rain down on my for that one!] Now Rose, not that I need any help with my BBQing, but let's just say you had a few BBQ ideas on marinades...I am all ears! You'll probably just tell me to buy the book!

  68. When I worked in Hotel Dining Rooms doing Classical French service we told the story of the Tartars as the origin of the dish. It makes sense.

    I love Steak Tartare, but have never heard of adding cheese. The raw egg is a must!! Yum!!

  69. Bibi, he's probably out on a reeeeeally, reeeeeally fantastic date tonight. No need to rush such things.

  70. No Bibi, I simply fell asleep on the couch LOL! Tough week, tough day... I'm off to bed - but I just posted La photo du jour ;)

  71. Corinne, je suis fière de toi!LOL
    Je les préfère tout de même sans le jaune d'oeufs mais à part ça je pourrais en manger tous les jours des steaks tartares!

    Monica, you're welcome!Have a nice party.
    Rose, okay mummy. ;)

  72. Just the way beef was meant to be...rare! Mooooooooooo...

  73. Guys

    PHX meant "she has studied with the best in cooking schools AND has written a book (a novel) and is on another."

    I have not written a cookbook, maybe I should. I could call it "The Daily Cook."

    I will give you my secret recipe for a BBQ. And how to turn inexpensive tough beef into something tender than fillet steak.

  74. Tomate,
    O, yes, I meant vegetarian lasagne. I admire how the dish looks when written in French by you and Guille! :)

  75. Rose...I knew I could depend on you. I mean I can do only so much with Worcestershire sauce. :-)

  76. This is a dish I've never tried, but I really would like to. I didn't have beef with pink in the middle until I left home!! My parents like things "well done" and now I absolutely love rare beef. Still cold in the middle is just fine!! Yum!! Hope you enjoyed it, Eric!

    Rose, I would love to know the title of your cookbook!

  77. It's true...I don't think you'd find many American restaurants happy to serve something like this. But then, that's not really their fault - Americans tend to be lawsuit-happy, which is annoying but a fact of life. Glad you enjoyed it!

  78. It is very common in Montréal - whether beef, bison or venison - but I do prefer salmon tartare.

    Tomate, I prefer bison to horsemeat - I think it is partly because I know the bison is reared under far better conditions, and not injected with chemicals. They simply can't live in feedlots, and are kept in almost natural conditions (big enclosed ranges).

    Actually, for vegetarians, certain aubergine/eggplant dishes would have a similar mouthfeel. For example, caponata.

  79. There are plenty of places in New York that serve Steak Tartare, many of them French. But here's a Russian restaurant that has some of the best I've ever had: Petrossian (

  80. MIAM!! En effet, on trouve du steak tartare à New York. Et chez nous, en Belgique, on appelle ça du filet américain. Ça y est j'ai faim!

    Quant à l'origine, je me demande si tartare n'est pas le nom de la coupe (haché menu): on dit du tartare de thon et comme mentionné dans le commentaire ci-dessus, du tartare d'aubergines,etc. Peut-être que les sabres tartares furent les premiers à hacher si menu?