Seen from Paris, blog about Paris

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UNICO

Unico, a meat temple where Paris bumps into Buenos Aires

Although France has great beef, it is not always easy to find good steaks in the City of Light… This old Butcher’s shop is definitely a solution for red meat cravings!

Charolais, Salers, you will bump into French beef in Paris. But not always. And -often, unfortunately- you will end up with a rather disappointing beef quality. I cannot explain why, if you just cross the border and go to Belgium, suddenly beef cuts become tender and tasty. But here in Paris you must know where to go before you risk a filet mignon or an entrecôte.

In a small street in the 11th district, off the beaten path, lies a colorful foodie venue devoted to meat: Unico. Like Paris, Unico has several influences. The most obvious one when you step inside is the French 70s. The place is an actual butcher’s shop from that era, with all that intails of orange colors and funky shapes. These tiles on the wall, the typical fixtures or the steel hooks everywhere instantly take you back to George Pompidou’s era (or Nixon’s for oversea readers…). Except that over 30 years later, it became trendy.

Food wise, Unico digs in Latin American cuisine, going from Mexican guacamole to Peruvian ceviche. But the amphytrion here really is -bien sûr- Argentina. A selections of cuts with a pure quality awaits you there… It even starts with the appetizers, since Unico works with the best Charcuterie (delicatessen) of the neighborhood, to offer you blood pudding or sweetbreads to start with (aaaaah the sweetbreads with the eggplant purée…)
Then you dig in big pieces of delicious South American beef, with different sauces if needed, and a few veggies in case you feel guilty. And, of course, home made French fries.
Finally, as you think you are satisfy and will simply die of happiness on the spot, the dessert menu says “volcan de dulce de leche”. Now this cannot remain legal very long, it’s way too good. It is nothing but a caramel moelleux, a hot cake with a melting heart. A la mode, of course, with freshly made banana ice cream. You might even consider moving to Argentina for a few minutes…

Now the terrible part: Herman, the guy who bounces here and there in the butcher’s shop bringing pieces of tasty dead animals on the table, is also a wine connoisseur. And he knows. He will open you doors to new local cepages, old vines and typical fragrances that will change you wine world perception. Of course, as a French, you will feel the urge to stand up and shout “sacrebleu! This colonial wine is too good! Let’s take it outside on a duel, sir!” Because it really is an amazing selection.

But you remain in Paris, and it remains cynical. Especially when the waiter adds: how but you know in Argentina the pound of tomato is the same price than the pound of beef!! Merde alors! You think tomatoes must be eally expensive in Argentina! Until he gives the price. And the bill. And you can tell that for a meat lover, the flight expense to Buenos Aires can easily be profitable versus trying to eat good beef in Paris.

But it is well worth it, and I can’t wait for the next occasion to go back! (Maybe winning the Lotery)
Oh! I almost forgot! They have a curiosity there (besides the fact the toilets are in the cold room): one of the waitress looks like Amy Winehouse.

Hombre, that place simply rocks!

 

For a full meal (starters, meat, dessert and wine) expect a bill around 65€

 

UNICO

15 rue Paul Bert

75011 Paris

Tel: 01 43 67 68 08

Website: http://www.resto-unico.com/