It’s a shame that the world’s foodies aren’t coming together to present an annual Best Restaurant of the Year award.

I felt this deficiency quite acutely a few weeks ago, when some of us gourmets, hearty eaters always refer to themselves as foodies, we were just sitting there drooling on our breasts.

A favorite indoor sport for foodies is remembering Memorable Meals at famous restaurants.

I was of the opinion that Antoine’s of New Orleans has to be among the leaders because of their Steak Robespierre.

“Steak what?” demanded my incredulous companions, as wise eaters often do. “Who ever heard of that dish? You’re cheating us.”

Annoyed to the quick of my taste buds, I flatly stated that Antoine’s made the most delicious steak this side of Pearly Gates; and, in fact, Robespierre, was his name.

“Pooh,” they replied.

This is how I started my search for the recipe for Steak Robespierre.

None of the cookbooks in our house, already committed to the Smithsonian Institution after my death, had a word about Antoine’s famous steak.

Also, the kitchen department of the Public Library.

Also, the gastronomic editors of three major newspapers.

Finally, in desperation, a long-distance phone call to Antoine himself.

Clever!

A conversation with the chef.

How do mere mortals converse with men on whose shoulders rests the awesome responsibility of preparing Great Meals?

“Please oh one of August sir, my credentials as a Gourmet Master are in jeopardy because certain neophytes have failed to make their pilgrimage and therefore ignore the joys of Steak Robespierre.

“Do you deign, in this extreme, to enlighten the wretched of Ohio who doubt my veracity and your culinary ability?” Long pause at the other end of the cable.

“Damn!” the Great intoned. “It is a secret recipe that I have sworn to give only to my son.”

“I am devastated,” I replied. “They will take me out of the Gourmet’s Club and I will eat pork and beans again every Saturday.”

“Well, in that case, I’ll tell you the ingredients, but not the quantities. My son, do you understand?”

“Yes, yes, yes! But please continue, my three minutes are almost up.”

Here, then, Friends of the Sauce Pan, are the materials that are part of Antoine’s exclusive Robespierre Steak. This is a culinary first in the world of food journalism; other newspapers may copy.

Marinate whole, aged beef tenderloins in red wine and French dressing for up to four hours. Bake over medium heat.

Next, make a little brown sauce with beef broth and arrowroot. Add these ingredients: sauteed and diced bacon; chives red wine; tomato juice; chicken livers sautéed with bacon fat; sliced ​​green olives; mushroom caps; and finally, sweet, well-boiled and clean cut veal loaves.

Garnish with artichoke hearts marinated in olive oil, wine vinegar, and dill.

If this description has not started to boil your digestive juices, leave us and go to the sports page.

For those of you now passing out with involuntary contractions of your stomach muscles, read on at your own risk.

The proof of the pudding, that is, the steak, is in eating, so the Mother of My Children graciously agreed to prepare the dish for our doubting friends. Our now eager friends promised to surround it with the same food that accompanied our first Steak Robespierre at Antoine’s, lo and behold, so many years ago.

Oh what a dinner it was. It will be a legend for my children.

First there was bouillabaisse with large chunks of white fish, scallops, and eels. Shrimp boiled with spicy tomato sauce. Ponchartrain Salad with red wine marinated tomato slices topped with finely chopped blanched asparagus tips, potato salad, Thousand Island dressing and black caviar.

Steak Robespierre, light cloud and dripping with that exquisite sauce.

“Dirty” rice steamed into beef is consumed. Crackling rose for table wine.

For dessert, my specialty, Bananas Foster, flambé.

Coffee with milk.

Bon bons and mixed roasted nuts. Panatella and Southern Comfort cigars for men and women.

Well sir and Bob, you can imagine the effect this masterpiece had on my doubting friends. There is already a movement underway in my gourmet club to give me a Certificate of Appreciation, and maybe become a Great Skillet Guard.

I hope I can carry the title modestly.

October 10, 1973

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