We all remember those certain meals as a kid. Your parents either had somebody in town they wanted to show you off to, or they simply forgot to get a babysitter in time. Either way, you’re going to dinner with the adults. They made you get dressed up, comb your hair, and sit patiently as they discussed job security while you role-played every character of Hocus Pocus in your head for two hours. It was excruciating, and in every sense of the word, boring.
Le Relais De L’Entrecote feels like the restaurant those meals always took place in - at least at first. Located on that strip of Melrose that wealthy white people call the “Weho Design District," the steak frites emporium that is Le Relais De L’Entrecote feels nearly as sterile as its neighborhood. Inside, you’re greeted with dark wood-paneled walls, brick flooring, and maroon leather booths. The vibe is subdued, with a mix of business meetings, quiet dates, and disgruntled TV writers eating steak by themselves. Your childhood dinner nightmare in full bloom, right? Not exactly.
For everything this place has going against it, it saves itself through unrelenting charm. The waitstaff (composed entirely of women dressed in Halloween maid costumes) are so sweet it hurts, and seem genuinely excited that you’re there to experience what they have to offer. Which, of course, is steak-frites. The concept itself is not a new one to LA, but Le Relais feels the most authentic. There’s no menu, you simply tell the waitress/maid how you’d like your steak cooked, and they scratch it on the table cloth. You’ll get some bread and a mustard-dressed salad soon after, and you’ll feel good about both. And soon after comes your main event - the steak, a mountain of French fries, and their “special sauce” doused all over it. Is it life-changing? No. But it’s still good and affordable and different than anything else you’ve eaten this week.
Le Relais isn’t ever going to jump out at you for an exciting meal. But as you sit in the quiet dining room and look across at your date and everyone else here enjoying themselves, you can’t help but think how much nicer this feels than enduring the sight of impressionable people picking at their salads down the street at Gracias Madre. That’s true dullness.
At Le Relais, we're happy to sit at the adult's table.
Steak and fries, and then some more steak and fries. It’s a French classic executed well. The fries come out crisp and ready to soak up that special sauce, and the meat itself is always good. It’s not the best steak in the city, but it’s probably the only one served to you by a maid with an imdb profile.
Le Relais doesn’t have an entree menu, but it does have a dessert menu. With just pictures. So point to this towering pile of ice cream, meringue, and fudge, and dance like no one's watching.