Friday, February 20, 2009

La Bourse Ou La Vie - Paris

Old-School Steak-Frites in a Whimsical Setting
I simply love this place, where do I begin? The name, roughly translated, means "Your Money or Your Life." My French colleagues explained that the word "bourse" can mean stock market, purse and balls (yes, the sensitive type.) So, the name is a play on its location (it's a block away from the stock market here in Paris) and perhaps the owner's change of vocation from architect to restaurateur. He changed careers to focus on one thing: making steak-frites the way they're supposed to be made.

It's a cozy place - it seats maybe 20-24 people tops - and is decorated in a relaxed, low-key, bric-a-brac way. I felt so comfortable, as if I were sitting in someone's house. This is the type of place you would find in Brooklyn, which is high praise, in case you don't know.

I ordered the classic pavé au poivre (pepper steak) and frites. I don't know about the buildings designed in the previous career, but if they're half as good as the steaks then they must be spectacular. The steak was tender and correctly portioned - not like the gigantic slabs you get in NY that you can never finish. The pepper sauce was smooth and had a nice bite.

Not to be outdone, the fries were delicious in a way that has become unfamiliar to an American palate - they are fried in suet. Not peanut oil, not vegetable oil. Suet is the fattiest of the beef fats out there. My mother sometimes buys it in the winter to feed the squirrels in her back yard. After a plate of these fries, I say screw the squirrels - let them go hunt for nuts.

12, Rue Vivienne
2nd Arondissement

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  1. Ooo.. the fries sure looks good! You can have the crispy ones and I can take the soft ones (saw a few from your photos already... before you say NO, remember your "sharing is caring" motto :))

  2. Babe, I will get you a whole plate of your own fries. Sharing is caring, PingPing.

  3. Boy, those fries look fabulous & the steak, too. This winter, the birds & squirrels are eating peanut butter on whole wheat, like me, rather than suet. The combo is a winner.

  4. Sal, what happened to the suet?

  5. Believe it or not, the squirrels and birds didn't seem to know how beneficial a high-fat diet can be in the winter! The suet sat and got rancid....ewwwwww! But they gobble up the PNB.

  6. See that, Ping-Ping? High-fat diets are beneficial in the winter. So, when you get to Paris, eat up!!