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raw meat in new york

I've heard a lot about how the French eat raw meat. Last weekend I finally got to try some myself.

I was in NYC for an emergency medicine conference, so I had a great opportunity to eat at Anthony Bourdain's "kick-ass" (as he puts it) restaurant, the Brasserie Les Halles. Not wanting to waste the moment, I tried to order a kick-ass dish. What could be more kick-ass than raw meat?

So I ordered the steak tartare. Never having had it (or even seen it) before, I assumed I was going to get something like a bloody t-bone on a plate. But no. The waiter wheeled a little cart over to my table. On it was a bowl containing what looked like raw ground beef; a set of small bins filled with things like mustard, chopped onions, capers, tabasco sauce, and other goodies; a raw egg; and a fork. The waiter cracked the egg into the bowl with the meat and spooned in a healthy portion of all the goodies. Then he mixed it all together thoroughly with the fork, dropped it on a white plate, and garnished it with parsley. Voila, steak tartare at Les Halles.

It was kick-ass. Very flavorful, very easy to eat--it had the consistency of thick oatmeal--and not excessively filling. I had room for a whole plate of frites (french fries), fromages affine du jour (the daily cheese plate), and an incredible white dessert wine that cost an arm and a leg but which was thoroughly worth it.

All the while, the couples on both sides of my table were carrying on conversations in French. The background noise was pretty loud since the place was full and there weren't any carpets or draperies anywhere. Through it all you could hear this funky jazz music with a real strong, steady drum beat. This was a fantastic place to eat.

So, please everyone, forgive me for not posting on this blog in so long. I've been traveling a bit, and when I've been stationary I haven't had reliable internet access. Hopefully that's changed now, so I can post about trail running in Colorado and foggy sunsets in downtown Chicago. Stay tuned...


Yum! I have had beef carpaccio, and a Japanese dish called Beef Tataki which involves seared beef thinly sliced and served with ponzu sauce, onion and raw egg... but I'd love to try Steak Tartare...

The steak tartare at Les Halles is excellent. I went with a group of friends in D.C. Of eight people at the table, I think seven got the tartare. The waitress was a bit shocked, and asked each of us if we knew what it was. We did -- that's why we were there. So she wheeled the cart up to the table and dished it out. Their fries really are fantastic too -- maybe even worth the hype Bourdain gives them.

Anyone up for some juicy E. Coli?

Ooh, yum. Only I'm surprised the meat was ground. I tend to find it best when they finely dice a steak. But it's a delicious meal.