How often are you in Paris?
Personally, as an Australian student living out of home, not a lot. But who knows, you might actually have a job. Regardless, next time you’re in Paris and you have a spare bucket of Euros, I suggest you head to Ralph’s on St Germain. Just don’t order a burger.
I’d not heard of Ralph’s prior to coming to Paris, and needles to say it wasn’t on my radar in any sense. I only happened across it when my Dad’s partner alerted me to their rather appealing burger menu. So without further ado, my significant other and I fired up the good old TripAdvisor app and made a booking. HOT TIP: Always book via this app, even if they are fully booked they have to seat you (the booking system doesn’t recognise “fully booked”). We made our reservation for 7pm, despite the restaurant not officially opening until 7:30pm….yes I was equally baffled. (See the previous Hot Tip.)
It was then that I truly realised what I had got myself into. Now despite my previous declaration of being a poorly student without a job (this is true) I am not a stranger to finer dining. In fact, it was a life decision of mine to leave the “high flying” lifestyle that a 50k p.a. training job can afford you and try and do something (else) I love. So I’m sure you can understand my surprise when I’ve noticed a mere shot of alcohol was in the range of €18 and up. However I smothered my inner thrifty and dug deep.
I started the evening by shovelling the fried olives into my mouth determined to get true value for money, then I ordered a White Russian. The waiter, bless his cotton socks, was quite surprised I ordered something not on their extensive menu. The drink was, absolutely amazing. I wouldn’t necessarily put it to the same standard as one mixed by The Dude, but it was good.
The fun bits (the booze), were hidden under a blanket of frothed cream, and were like velvet upon the tongue. Each sip required you pull them through the divine layer of cream, causing an appeasing catalyst of flavours and textures. I didn’t bother asking how much just one set me back, I find most pills easier to swallow when you don’t look at them.
My girlfriend ordered a Cosmopolitan, she assures me it was very good.
Probably my favourite server for the evening was our sommelier, a 27 year old chap from a small town near Paris. He provided sound advice, and honest conversation, it was refreshing given the location and occasionally c&nty vibe some other staff were giving us. Maybe my Pac-Man t-shirt and belt buckle had something to do with it….
Crab cakes. Who doesn’t love Crab Cakes? I suppose someone with a shellfish allergy might have an aversion to them but whatever, they are great. These. Or should I say, this, one was incredible. It arrived sandwiched between an incredible egg nest with a creamy and flavourful “yellow pepper” (capsicum) sauce on the side. The cake itself was moist, perfectly seasoned and just sublime. There was that great, rich, crab flavour but it wasn’t over powering or “fishy” as seafood dishes can be. The crunch of the egg nest added a nice change of texture to what I’m used to and I found myself actually eating (licking) up the nest crumbs from the plate after we had devoured the cake.
Our mains, our burgers.
For the burgers I wanted something classic, but new, edgy but familiar. I wanted something that would hopefully sum up their abilities and talent. I wanted something that described them.
So naturally I ordered their namesake, the St Germain.
When it arrived I thought the presentation was incredible. The top bun was deftly positioned to allow excess steam to escape (without making the bread soggy). At the same time allowing for me to feast with my eyes and take in everything that was going on within.
As you can see, the bacon was incredibly crispy, the cheese, melted, just so.
The burger, plump, juicy and with the right amount of pink in the middle. The onions, caramelised in port (no less) perfectly coated the upper bun, so as to reach the tongue with every bite. It was a burger that truly fulfilled every boy’s Killa vs Filla dream…
But, if I’m perfectly honest, the burger was, just a bit, bland… Don’t get me wrong the sum of the parts were, together, pretty good. But the patty, literally the meat in the sandwich, was sub par. It wasn’t the cooking style, it was the seasoning. Which surprised me.
I mean they didn’t have a problem at all with the crab cake, so why hold off on the salt ‘n’ pepper for the main course!?
It didn’t ruin the experience but it was a poor display, especially considering the burger cost about $50 AUD.
These were decent, they made up the Filla and they held their own. But really, it’s not difficult to prep some hand cut chips and a Petri dish of slaw.
If I’m perfectly honest, they were like any other chips and slaw I’m sure you’ve had before, I will remark and say the chips were perfectly fried however. Twice, I presume, and not a second too long.
This was tasty, New York style cheesecake! Probably my favorite dessert post 12 years old. I’ll confess it was not a scratch on my Mother’s, but I might be bias.
In short, it was creamy, smooth and just the right amount of sweet. Perfectly complemented with the berry compote drizzled atop.
Ralph’s on St Germain is an incredible restaurant, the staff are amazing and the room is exquisite. The menu looks amazing and from my experience the entrees are the star performer. Sadly however our burgers, the main attraction (if you will) left much to be desired. Overall I give it 65/100, but without the staff it’s only worth 45.