Monday, 1 September 2014

L'ENTRECOTE

One of the most famous institutions in Toulouse is L'Entrecôte. L'Entrecôte in Toulouse was the second restaurant opened in 1962 by the family Gineste de Saurs. Since then they have opened others restaurants around France, Europe (London) and USA (New York).
L'Entrecôte for me is the symbol of my childhood. When most of children were happy with a happy meal, I was happy when we went there. It is a tradition to still go to L'Entrecôte with my family or friends when I am in Toulouse. 
Last time I was in Toulouse, it is probably the first thing I did when I arrived in town with my friend.

There are some rules to know before going to L'Entrecôte in Toulouse. If you don't want to wait, you need to arrive 20 minutes before the opening. 
Most of the time, I never plan to go there in advance...so I have the joy of joining the massive queue. Usually when it comes to waiting in a queue, French people are the worst, according to Stephen Clarke in his book 'Talk to the snail' we complained and try to cheat our way to the front. 
When it comes to L'Entrecôte queue, outside on the Boulevard de Strasbourg  it seems everyone knows what they have to do, and how they have to queue everyday. 
At the entrance for years there is always the same women, she gets a bit older each year but she is still styling her hair with a French braid and she knows all the regulars. Only question she will ask you is "How many?", and then you wait until it is your turn to go inside. 
After queuing outside, you are finally taken inside and you get told to go to the bar... I never like when they say that, as it means you have to wait sometimes an extra 10 minutes to get the table. 
I hate queuing in general, L'Entrecôte is probably the only restaurant in the world I won't mind queuing each time as I know the food and service will never be disappointing (in Toulouse).

During my last visit at L'Entrecôte, I noticed something I never spotted before: there is no waiter! I tried to remember all my visits and I couldn't remember when I have been served in this place by a men. There is probably some men hidden in the kitchen but I never saw one in the room. I am wondering since how they managed to escape the discrimination during recruitment process in France. Is there waiter in the UK version? I couldn't remember if I saw some men...maybe it is L'Entrecôte politics to hire just women for service and men for cooking. Not sure it is the perfect system for equality ! 

However, like always my visit was great. Last time I went to L'Entrecôte it was Le Relais de Venise in London (review HERE), so I had high expectations as I told my friend the French version is better.  
Like always one of my walnut jump from my plate on the side. I like the crunchiness of walnuts, which I didn't have in London. Seasoning was perfect like always, nothing to change or complaint about.

And then the best arrived... I know on the picture you hardly see the difference but fries are different in Toulouse. There are so much better. The thing I like about Toulouse is they bring you a silver/inox plate with the rest of your meat. 
You don't need to be assisted to add extra piece of meat in your plate, and waitresses are very good as they always noticed when you are about to finish your fries and ask if you want some more. This is a good service. 
Sauce look more greasy in France but it had more texture and a stronger taste. 
The positive point of having access to the meat plate is that you can add a lot of sauce on your meat.
When I read some reviews about Le Relais de Venise in UK, I am a bit annoyed when people are saying the recipe is a secret...in UK yes but for people living around Toulouse, it is not a secret anymore. Recipe was revealed a long time ago in a local newspaper. The sauce is made with chicken liver, fresh thyme and flower of thyme, whipping cream, white mustard, butter, water, salt, and pepper. I admit I tried to do it and it isn't very easy... I have all step but not the quantities required for each ingredients. 
Knowing the secret never stop me going there as I know it will take me ages to find out perfect quantities so why would I waist my time doing that. 
In many years, I am sure the restaurant will still be there...I am just worry it will become more and more expensive in the future, and it will loose the charm of its concept : cheap unique set menu with unlimited fries. 
I remembered when I was younger I was able to pay with two 'ticket restaurants' for the set menu and dessert (18€). Now the price increase each year of 1€. Currently for the set menu and dessert it is 24.5€. 
L'Entrecôte
15 Boulevard de Strasbourg
 31000 Toulouse, France
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