We begin a new series covering Paris and London today! This series will cover the week we spent in Europe in early December 2019 as a part-work, part-leisure trip right before Christmas.
I first discovered beef cheeks after close friends from our Boston days raved to us about it. They had just come back from Paris and had tried the famous beef cheeks at Le Comptoir, thanks to Anthony Bourdain.
That afternoon, we proceeded to buy some beef cheeks and cook them at home. Although we didn't quite replicate the famous Parisian version, I still fell in love with the soft, tender, tendon-laced nature of beef cheeks.
Close to a decade later, we finally had the chance to try these world famous beef cheeks ourselves.
Once Anthony Bourdain recommends a place, it pretty much gets mobbed. Le Comptoir is known for its long lines, and we weren't sure what to expect. Thankfully, we discovered that Paris is a very different type of city in the winter. We showed up around noon and were actually able to secure a lovely outdoor seat (with heat lamps!) without a wait!
Even at the peak of lunch hour, we only saw the line grow to about 6-8 people. Winter is definitely a nice time to visit Paris. There are fewer tourists, more locals, and the vibe feels more local.
We started with a simple, classic, and delicious Salade Niçoise, a French salad that consists of anchovies, hard boiled eggs, tuna, olives, capers, and tomatoes.
The star of the show, the Marmite Beef Cheeks, were fantastic. The meat was oh-so-tender and the hot, savory soup was heartwarming, full of rich umami, and just perfect on a nippy December afternoon.
These are most certainly the best beef cheeks I've ever had. The flavors are simple, but they are executed well.
It was nice to sit outside, people watch, and just relax. The heat lamps kept us warm, and overall it was quite pleasant.
I highly recommend stopping by Le Comptoir for lunch if you have a chance. There are also some indoor seats, in case you are really afraid of the cold or hate cigarette smoke (unfortunately, there are sometimes smokers sitting outside).
Chef Yves Camdeborde also cooks a 5-course prix fixe dinner (chef's whim, no choice). It's the time when he's really able to let his creativity shine. These dinners book up months in advance and are supposed to be amazing. Perhaps we'll try to book a dinner the next time we are in Paris.
Even if we can't, I'm sure we'll come by again just to enjoy the delicious marmite beef cheeks again.
Le Comptoir Paris
9 Carrefour de l'Odéon
75006 Paris, France