Steak with Mustard Butter and French Fries

A few weeks back writer and cookbook author, David Lebovitz, was in town to promote his new book, My Paris Kitchen, and we sent editor-in-chief (and super-fan) Anicka Quin to go chat with him as the two of them strolled the market at Granville Island. At the time, we had asked David for a few recipes to excerpt from his amazing new book and he sent us a few winners. I kept this one back for Father’s Day because it’s everything I think a dad wants: it’s classic but not stuffy, it’s easy but not simple, and it’s the type of dish that (when done right) transports you across the Atlantic, if only for the time it takes to eat dinner.

  • By David Lebovitz
  • June 1, 2014
  • Yield: 2 servings


1/2 teaspoon hickory-smoked salt, sea salt, or kosher salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley

Freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil or clarified butter

Mustard butter (see below)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons dry mustard powder

1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard


Mustard Butter

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)

2 teaspoons dry mustard powder

1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard



To make this bistro classic in my kitchen, I use a cast-iron skillet or grill pan that I get really hot, and then I sear the steak on both sides, cooking it medium-rare, which is the way I like it. My preferred cut is entrecôte, or rib-eye, and I ask the butcher to cut it into 2 (8-ounce/225g) rib-eye steaks that aren’t too thick since I like lots of surface area on my steaks. I rub them with chipotle chile powder to give them a bit of a smoky flavor.

It’s difficult to say exactly how long it will take a particular steak to cook to your liking since there are so many variables, but there is actually no truth to the rumor that if you cut a steak open a little and peek inside, all the juices will come gushing out and your steak will be dry. In fact, the best way to ensure a steak is dry is to overcook it. So feel free to peek inside if you need to.

Pat the steaks dry and rub them with the salt, chipotle powder, and cilantro. Refrigerate the steaks, uncovered, for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours.

To make the mustard butter, mash together the butter with the mustard powder and the Dijon. Form it into two mounds and chill on a plastic wrap–lined plate.

Heat a little oil or clarified butter in a grill pan or cast-iron skil- let and cook the steaks over high heat, being sure to get a good sear on each side. For rare steaks, cook 5 to 7 minutes total on both sides, or aller-retour (“to go and return”).

Remove the steaks from the pan and put on plates. Top each steak with a knob of the mustard butter and some ground black pepper and serve with a big pile of frites.

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