Imagine a secret recipe so valuable that it is delivered in padlocked vats every morning? This is rumoured to be the case for L’Entrecôte’s famous green sauce that covers their mouth-watering steaks. It sounds so Willy Wonka and Roald Dahl-like, the idea of the magic ingredients being delivered to the restaurant and then being unlocked, that I wonder if it can be true. However, just as a successful chain of restaurants derive from the sauce – quite ze accomplishment – it does obsess people. Certain wicked folk have been known to discreetly syphon the savory mix off their plate with a syringe and then dissect it later, in the privacy of their own kitchens. Personally, I reckon that it has a ton of butter, anchovy paste, chicken livers and herbs like tarragon and thyme.
"Certain wicked folk have been known to discreetly syphon the savory mix off their plate with a syringe and then dissect it later, in the privacy of their own kitchens."
As with most renowned recipes, there’s a history. Originally created by a certain Monsieur Boubier, his son-in-law Freddy Dumont introduced the sauce in the 1940s at Café de Paris, his Geneva-based restaurant. Then in 1959 Paul Gineste de Saurs, a French wine producer unveiled his own version when launching his restaurant Le Relais de Venise in Paris’ 17th arrondissement. The idea was to attract customers to his wines but they fell for the simplicity of his menu which still begins with salad scattered with walnuts, followed by ample servings of the famous steak and homemade skinny chips – two helpings are possible – then a tempting list of creamy, indulgent desserts.
Nowadays, there are Entrecôte restaurants all over the world, but my favourite is by the Flore. Very 1970s in décor, I love the red leather banquettes and perversely don’t mind that it’s impossible to reserve. Jean-Yves Lanvin introduced me to the place – yes of that family. He has a lot to answer for.
Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, 20 rue Saint-Benoît 75006 Paris.
Text by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni
Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni is a Paris-based British writer who covers fashion and lifestyle as well as being the author of Sam Spiegel – The Biography of A Hollywood Legend, Understanding Chic, an essay from the Paris Was Ours anthology, the soon-to-be released Tino Zervudachi – A Portfolio – as well as the Chanel book, for Assouline's fashion series.
Robert Beck is former New Yorker currently based in Paris. Also known as C.J. Rabbitt, he is the author and illustrator of several children's books, including The Tale of Rabbitt in Paradis, Un Lapin à Paris and the soon-to-be-published A Bunny in the Ballet.