French-American Alliance

Steak frites is French comfort food at its best. At Laurier Café (3139 Richmond, 713-807-1632), they've taken this bistro staple ($17) to a new level by serving a 12-ounce, dry-aged New York strip from Northern California's Niman Ranch. Dry-aging the beef imparts a flavor like no other method -- the resulting flavor is a little musty, earthy and nutty. Some may even consider the aroma to be "off," which in fact it is. Charbroiling the outside briefly, leaving the interior rare, sets off the maximum flavor of the meat. It comes with a mountain of well-salted, golden-hued matchstick fries -- some of the crispiest ones around. Four spears of grilled asparagus struggle to find room on the rest of the plate.
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Paul Galvani