You won't spend hours pouring over the menu here - there is no choice. To start, a simple green salad with walnuts and a mustard vinaigrette. This is served with some pieces of crusty baguette so you can make the most of the dressing.
That's followed by steak frites, so the only question you need to answer is whether you want it rare, medium or well done. The best bit about the main course is the secret sauce that comes on the steak. I don't quite know how to describe it (I suppose it wouldn't be a secret if I could!) but think garlic, and herbs, and something that compliments the fantastic meat, and doesn't overpower it.
When your main course arrives you may think the portion sizes are small, but they cleverly serve it in two stages, holding one half back to keep it warm. This means you enjoy the meal at its best, and the second half of your steak is served with freshly prepared frites.
As for the wine and desserts there is a small but perfectly adequate wine list which suits all budgets, and the desserts are what you'd expect from a French restaurant - a cheese board; lemon tarts; profiteroles, and creme brulee amongst other delights.
I really did feel like I was in France when I was in the Le Relais de Venise. They have achieved in not only with the food, but also in the ambience they've created - waitresses in black and white uniforms; tables for two close together; and teeny wine glasses just as 'en France'. In answer to the question I posed of whether it works outside of Paris - I think it does. The food is simple, but delicious. The service is swift, but not rushed and the staff are friendly. If you're looking for a good old steak but want it delivered in the style of a Parisien restaurant, then this is the place for you.