Accept no imitations. Steak tartare in Paris should be hand-chopped, fresh, no frills and just about the best you’ve ever tasted. The frites that share the plate should be fried golden, the perfect potato refuge between silky bites of raw beef. Le Severo, all 20 seats of it, steps in where so many of the city’s bistros fall behind. They do one thing- meat, particularly beef- and they do it very, very well. Start with the house-made charcuterie board and rillettes (don’t ask what it is until after you’ve sampled) then dig in to the tartare. If raw beef isn’t your thing, opt for the bavette (skirt steak), entrecote (rib-eye) or faux filet (strip steak) which has been dry-aged downstairs by the in-house butcher. Snuggle into your red leather booth and count your blessings. Then, let owner William Bernet select one of the exceptional wines from his 200-bottle list. (Parisian) Life is good.

On the plane ride over, memorize my little guide to steak doneness (and impress your waiter):

Bleu– Very rare
Saignant– Rare
A Point– Medium rare
Rose’– Medium
Bien cuit– Well done. And by now you have successfully infuriated your French waiter. You probably shouldn’t be at Le Severo if you want your steak cooked through and gray!