I’m from Nebraska where steak is king. I don’t see the point in ingesting the stuff unless its fatty, well aged and worth the calories. Like everything now, sourcing the very best gets you 90% of the way there. And by accident I stumbled the other night into the best steak in Paris that I’ve ever had.
It was with no expectations that I went on a rainy night with a jet lag cloud over my head to a little resto in Montmartre with my friend Maeggie. Les Tantes Jeanne was opened just two years ago on a side street off the trendy rue Lepic by Chef Octave Kasakolu who has done time in a number of Michelin starred restaurants.
The focus here is beef and not just any kind, Japanese beef from Kobe, the extremely fatty Wagyu variety. Yes they have beef from other parts of the world, Kobe that’s being raised in Australia and Angus beef from the US as well as Argentine steaks – but why mess around when there was Wagyu on the menu. Like so many things its been over-hyped for the past decade and its become a bit of a joke, but not in the hands of Chef Kasakolu.
My friend and I decided to split the salt-crusted and baked Dorade and the Wagyu. We had a vibrant green watercress soup to start with roasted chestnuts. It was fresh, healthy and perfectly balanced. After sipping our Crozes Hermitage Cotes du Rhone we were served the piece de resistance. First the salt crusted dorade was served in the most dramatic way, brought to the table as a fish shaped brick of salt pre-sliced (as above). The waiter opened up the cap to reveal the moist dorade. He artfully took out the filets and de-boned the fish. It was served with a melange of butter glazed vegetables and lemon. Simple perfection.
But the real show stopper was the Wagyu. Served raw and pre-sliced into easy to sear chunks, a hot stone is set on your side table and you can cook each piece exactly how you want it. The Wagyu is so marbled and so fatty it barely looks red anymore, its more pink in color. The vegetables served with it were roasted garlic, scallions and shallots as well as plenty of green snow peas, asparagus, carrots and more. They must have been cooked with some kind of animal fat because they were sublime and rich, unlike any vegetable I’ve ever cooked myself. Being able to sear the beef just how you wanted it was not only practical but fun.
No sauces necessary here, one bite into this marbled heavenly Wagyu beef from Kobe, Japan would make any vegetarian convert. It is almost like tasting foie gras, its that buttery smooth and rich, yet light somehow. Lets face it, fat is a great thing and the more fattier something is the less you need of it. Don’t balk at the cost, this doesn’t compare to any other steak you’ve ever had, in fact its not in the same category.
Tantes Jeanne is open everyday including Sunday and Monday from 12pm to 2am and now at over 2 years old, its much easier to get in than before. A cozy if somewhat predictable dining room, service is extremely friendly but the beef is the real star here.
In a Nutshell: Go anytime day or night for the best Wagyu beef you’ll have this side of Japan.
If you like this then: Try Le Steaking in the 6th arrondissement, while a wholly different style of steak place, you can find superb steaks and martini’s at this location.