By New York’s elevated beefeater standards, the various meat selections at L’Entrecôte (the approximate French term for “rib eye”) are skimpily sized. But none of this matters very much once you start spooning the sacred house “secret sauce” on your matchbox-size piece of beef and piling it with drifts of the salty, pleasingly crinkly house frites. The recipe for L’Entrecôte’s butter-and-cream-based sauce is closely guarded (the key, according to Le Monde, is an infusion of chicken-liver essence), and it has the ruinously addictive powers of crack cocaine. Non-addicts might notice that their salad is scraggly, that the cheese plate appears to have been bought at the Food Emporium, and that the bread brought to the table by their un-French waitress is dry. But hopeless junkies (like me) won’t care. The dizzying infusion of fatty richness makes dessert superfluous. And at $24 for a steak, salad, and all the fries and sauce you can eat, the fix is relatively cheap.
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DBGB Kitchen and Bar (View Menu)
Address: 299 Bowery, nr. First St.; 212-933-5300
Hours: Dinner, Monday through Thursday 5:30 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday to 1 a.m., Sunday to 11 p.m. Lunch, Tuesday through Friday noon to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Prices: Appetizers: $7 to $16. Entrées: $14 to $26.
Ideal Meal: Asparagus and fried egg, Beaujolaise or Vermont sausages, lemon-and-rosemary chicken, Grand Marnier soufflé.
Scratchpad:The food is not the best in the Boulud empire, but we’ll give one vigorous star for the sausages and the offal.
Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte
Address: 590 Lexington Ave., nr. 52nd St.; 212-758-3989
Hours: Dinner, daily, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Lunch, Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 12:30 to 3 p.m.
Prices: $24 prix fixe.
Ideal Meal: Salad, steak frites, buckets of secret sauce.
Note: Like the famous restaurant in Paris, this one does not take reservations.
Scratchpad: Half a star for the faithful though not perfect attempt to reproduce this French institution, and another half-star for the secret sauce.