It is not easy to find good french fries in Paris, most are undercooked so they end up soggy and pale. You have to order them 'bien-cuit' in the hopes of getting some with crisp exteriors and melting interiors. Maybe they cannot get their oil hot enough, maybe they don't double-fry, whatever it is, the reason remains a mystery to me.
Recently though, I came across a version that may adress these problems. The fries served at Schwartz's Deli in the Marais have a unique shape, looking more like long boats than cylinders. This shape allows more surface area to come into contact with hot fat, so the exterior cooks up crisp and brown. I have some conflicts about the interior though, ,mainly that there is less of it, at times it felt like I was eating crisps (which is what they call potato chips in the U.K.)) instead of fries. V on the other hand loved it so much we ordered another side portion. For her, fries are just vehicles for scooping ketchup and these boats do a really good job, she probably ate a third of a bottle by herself.
Other than fries, Schwartz Deli also specialises in pastrami sandwiches. They may not have many competitors for this dish in Paris, but their claim of having the best in town is probably justified. Barely held together by slices of rye bread, the thinly sliced pastrami was plentiful and delicious. I loved the colourful coleslaw too.
Macaroni cheese looked more European than American. I was expecting something white and creamy but this was agreeable too, the cheese flavour seemed to have been cooked into the pasta.
Chicken soup with matzo balls was another first for me. The taste reminds me of Knorr chicken stock cube, only less salty. The matzo balls were borderline stodgy, but paired companionably with the slices of chicken breast under the surface. I probably wouldn't order this again unless I was feeling exceptionally unwell.
Pancakes, looking like an improved version of those served at McDo's, were served warm with very cold butter. They were tasty enough. The burgers that were served to other diners look good, I want to go back to try them out next time. At least we know the boat fries would be good.
Schwartz Deli is open every day. Come here for a slice of Americana, the decor feels like an American diner, the pickles and condiments are placed on the table for people to help themselves with, if you go early you might even snag a booth table and play Archie and Veronica (or Betty).
16 rue des Ecouffes, 4th arr