You say "Paris in the winter" and I immediately imagine the Champs Elysée dusted with rain, men and women elegantly dressed making their way through the cold into a warm restaurant nearby. You say "the restaurant in Paris," and my imagining continues… you walk into the restaurant and peal off our layersף the elegant server seats you at a small table and begins the ceremony of presenting you with a menu and recommending dishes. You said "Parisian food," and you need say no more, because it is clear what you are intending.
This winter we will not make it to Paris, as the season has already ended. Maximum we can get to Herziliya, where we will find the new Entrecote de Paris restaurant, copied form a Paris original as much as humanly possible. The wind and rain even spurred up a bit for our visit, and together with the warmth inside the restaurant, we could reenact the Parisian atmosphere with just a tad bit of our imagination. The glass exterior walls of Entrecote de Paris look out over a hi-tech park, unfortunately, but the Parisian picture is embodied regardless in the pictures hanging on the walls and they broadcast just the right vibe. Everything about this place strives to embody French-ness: the professional serving staff, the French chef, the owners and, of course, the menu, especially their signature dish, the special "Entrecote of Paris."
For our meal we began, of course, with a fresh Baguette baked on premises and served with olive tapenade. After a bit of this, we also tasted one of the more identifiable items from the French kitchen on the menu: Foie Gras Au Torchon. The dish is named after the traditional rural cooking style in which the liver is wrapped in a towel to preserve its form as it is transformed by the heat. After cooking and cooling, the liver is sliced into hard pieces and served with fig chutney and slightly-sweet brioche toasts.
When deciding upon entrées, our server asks us a rhetorical question: entrecote? Because this is clearly the mainstay of the restaurant Entrecote de Paris, where they pridefully display their loyalty and skill for this dish by Chef Paul Jestant da Sur, that does not use the traditional butter preparation but rather a secret sauce of fresh herbs and spices. It is served as such in the franchises of the restaurant in Paris, Marseilles, Bordeaux, London, New York and, as well, in Herziliyah.
The owners of Entrecote de Paris help with the presentation, explaining to us that the meat cut they choose is thick, chosen from near the start of the rib cage and prepared just a bit less done than the customer requests and continues to cook a bit in the steaming sauce as it is served. It is sliced and served to the table in a ceremonial style: half of the slices are laid on the platter, together with a generous portion of homemade french fries, while the rest of the meat remains in the sauce in a silver platter placed over a heater. Their preparation and serving style, and of course the delicious sauce, make this signature dish distinctly different from any other entrecote I have ever tried.
To finish off our meal, we enjoyed one of the Parisian desserts that Entrecote de Paris makes with lots of chocolate: profiterole stuffed with cream and covered in chocolate. We also savored a bit of their famous cake made from layers of merengue with praline chocolate mousse. We could not possibly pass up a chance for a delicious shot of concentrated strawberry chocolate cream either. As we say in French: "ooh la la!"