Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Felice

Le Chateaubriand

Recommended Posts

I went to Inaki Aizpitarte’s latest venture, le Chateaubriand (discussed here), last night and was very impressed. The space itself is quite nice, with a modern bistro look that doesn’t appear to have changed all that much from its last incarnation, but I could be wrong. The crowd on a Saturday night was mixed, with young, hip bobos from the quartier and well-heeled Parisians. At the end of the evening I even spotted Pierre Hermé.

And the food? Delicious. I started with the Thon, Betteraves, seared tuna with what I imagine was a beet foam and pomegranate seeds, with a julienne of raw or barely cooked white beets (I think). A friend had the mini-tartare de boeuf à la cacahouète (peanuts), which I regretfully didn’t manage to try but it looked amazing with cubes of fresh beef topped with a tiny quail’s egg. Another friend had the asperges vertes, sesame-- fresh asparagus with what I imagine was a sesame foam. The main courses were equally good. I had a wonderful saddle of perfectly cooked lamb served with a puree of potato and a delicate sliver of eel. Friends had poitrine de cochon, celery rave, réglisse, and the cabillaud vapeur, sauce bourguignon, laitue, pak choy, which, again, I unfortunately didn’t try, but everyone raved about and there wasn’t a speck left on any of our plates. For dessert we all had the rose ice cream with a boulette de lait caillé and lait ribo, which was my least favorite course, but still good. Next time I would try the pot au chocolat, piment d’espelette instead. They also had a cone de chevre and a crotin de Cavignol.

For now the menu is limited to only three entrees and three plats. Prices are 30 € for entrée, plat or plat, dessert, or 36 € for all three. The wine list was great as well, with wines from Puzelat, Dard et Ribo, Foulards Rouges, Domaine du Possible and Villemade to name a few.

I tried to take a few photos but I obviously need to re-read my camera manual because they came out quite badly. This was the only one that was salvageable—my entrée of thon, betterave.

gallery_7346_2565_11301.jpg


Edited by John Talbott (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I went to Inaki Aizpitarte’s latest venture, le Chateaubriand

Phyllis, thanks for the review. From it I presume that things seemed settled and polished (as you know the rumors on the street were that Aizpitarte was uncertain of which way to go - a fixed 30 something dinner, a la Comptoir; lunch more mezze-ish or something more complex at both meals, etc.) Is lunch the same three entrees, three plats or is it different, as he did/does at Transvзrsal? And did you see him; i.e., how's he sharing his time between the two. Thanks again, Rubin's three hearts seems merited. I'll try it next week.


Edited by John Talbott (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I went to Inaki Aizpitarte’s latest venture, le Chateaubriand

Phyllis, thanks for the review. From it I presume that things seemed settled and polished (as you know the rumors on the street were that Aizpitarte was uncertain of which way to go - a fixed 30 something dinner, a la Comptoir; lunch more mezze-ish or something more complex at both meals, etc.) Is lunch the same three entrees, three plats or is it different, as he did/does at Transvзrsal? And did you see him; i.e., how's he sharing his time between the two. Thanks again, Rubin's three hearts seems merited. I'll try it next week.

I think the lunch menu is quite different and is only 13 euros.

Yeah, I was worried to go so soon, thinking they might not have gotten all the kinks out, but everything was great. The service was friendly, informed, etc. The food was great, interesting wines. This is by far my favorite of his last few restaurants. The only complaint that some of the people I was with had was that we were seated in between two tables of smokers and there didn't seem to be a separate non-smoking section.

Edited to add:

Yes, we did see him often. During the service he could be seen cooking behind the line and even helped run out a few plates later in the evening.


Edited by John Talbott (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What were the white stalk-like vegetables on the tuna plate? The restaurant sounds marvellous.

My six year old keeps asking when will we be returning to Paris. He still has great memories particularly of his meals at Aux Lyonaisse and L'Astrance. Certainly reading descriptions like this whet my appetite for a return, although I am sad to say that it remains on the back burner for the time being.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What were the white stalk-like vegetables on the tuna plate? The restaurant sounds marvellous.

You know I wasn't sure what they were, but now I realise they must have been white beets, either barely cooked or even raw. I'm surprised I didn't realise at the time, especially since I have even bought Joel Thibault's white beets; I'm sure that's what they were.

I guess the name of the dish should have been a big clue :huh:


Edited by Felice (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting, because Galesne of Les Echos described what he had (which may have been different) as "Thon aux agrumes et fruits secs" and Rubin talked of "betteraves, mimosa." Ah well, Aizpitarte certainly has the inventiveness for all of the above. Details in tomorrow's Digest.


Edited by John Talbott (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What were the white stalk-like vegetables on the tuna plate? The restaurant sounds marvellous.

You know I wasn't sure what they were, but now I realise they must have been white beets, either barely cooked or even raw. I'm surprised I didn't realise at the time, especially since I have even bought Joel Thibault's white beets; I'm sure that's what they were.

I guess the name of the dish should have been a big clue :huh:

Thanks Phyllis. I have never seen beets look like those. I was thinking they were either spring onions or white asparagus, but it was probably just the way the beets were cut.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like the stuff I ate already at La Famille...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For our gentle membership who consult the France Forum frequently, I just wanted to say that a number of us have been mangling Inaki Aizpitarte's name and I have tried to fix those I could see so as to make his name more searchable. If others find errors in titles, alert me; if errors in text, alert the poster. Thanks and apologies to M. Aizpitarte. John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Le Chateaubriand was awarded "the Breakthrough Restaurant" of the year by The World's 50 Best Restaurants this year.

www.theworlds50best.com

I think the last time I went was right before they were going to change to a 4 or 5 course menu, has anyone been recently?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Host's Note: this was posted by Frege on the UK site and from its wording see that it was meant for here. Much as I respect Felice's opinions, we disagee about Le Chateaubriand and Anaki and I personally agree with Frege.

I suppose that many of you have now seen that the 2008 version of The World's Best Restaurants has been posted. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, here is the link:

http://www.theworlds50best.com/2008_list.html

Now needless to say there is much to be debated about this list, both in terms of inclusions and exclusions, as well as overall rank - for sure it is hard to imagine how some of these restaurants can be considered among the best in the world, and equally for sure some restaurants are left off that should be on the list. But given that this is the France forum, I'll take this shot: Having eaten there last week, I am completely mystified how Le Chateaubriand makes the list (ok, 2nd 50), as well as being honored as the breakthrough restaurant of the year. I thought it was, at best, a reasonable neighborhood place; in all honesty, I think I can cook better!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay let's just suppose for a couple of minutes, just for discussion's sake, that this '50 restaurants' list (which is getting more laughable every year) is to be taken seriously (I had lunch recently with one of the French participants, who smiled when I mentioned that list and said that he just replied n'importe quoi just to get rid of the job. Looking at the results I suspect he is not the only one to do so. I'd probably do the same.)

I think both Felice and Frege are right. Meals at Le Chateaubriand can be either stellar or terrible. It depends on many conditions, but I have seldom seen a restaurant where the quality is so up-and-down. Not just uneven, but rising to great heights and falling to deep pits. Depending on when you eat there, you may think like Frege or Felice and either way you will be right. Inaki Aizpitarte's presence in the list would make perfect sense if he bothered to deliver an even quality day to day.

Which amounts to saying that Frege is right because regularity is a crucial quality in a restaurant. Which makes the choice of Pierre Gagnaire at such a high position in the list another matter of discussion. So is the absence of Eric Fréchon.

Edit to add: "Best in Asia", tssss… I bet they didn't try Karakorum, Tiruvannamalai and Vladivostok.


Edited by Ptipois (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Edit to add: "Best in Asia", tssss… I bet they didn't try Karakorum, Tiruvannamalai and Vladivostok.

I'm not sure that they tried Bukhara! :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We ate at Chateaubriand last night knowing nothing about it -- not its reputation, not that the format was a single 4/5 course meal with no choices, etc.

It was a really excellent meal. At €42 prix fixe I don't think it's an incredible bargain (portions are very small; with three glasses of wine and coffees we hit €120; the crowd is entirely hipster unshaven depths-of-the-11th) but then I can't think of any restaurant in Paris where you can eat food of this creativity or precision for that price.

The front of the house was short two servers so there wasn't really an opportunity to ask about the components of each disk, and I didn't take notes so won't try to guess precisely what was in each disk.

We started with an amuse of marinated tofu with a kind of shaved savory gelato made to look like roe -- I think it might have been chilli sauce. This didn't really work at all.

Starter: barely seared sashimi-grade tuna (lightly marinated in rice vinegar I think?) with superb tiny yellow and red beets and baby turnips. My wine had the same with basque anchovies (2 ways) instead of tuna -- 8 2/3 months pregnant and all that. Superb dish. We were hooked.

Main 1. Lieu jaune (pollock) served in a bowl looking raw, at room temperature, with assorted coquillages. Hot broth poured over it. My wife (very pregnant) looks dubious. We're assured that it's been cooked for 2 hours over very low temperature and they remove the coquillages from her dish (mostly). I'm pretty sure sous-vide, given the texture is almost of raw fish. Nice dish, quite subtle, but no fireworks.

Main 2. Cut of meat I didn't understand cooked blood rare (except for my wife's which is of course well done). Two small slivers of red onion (or shallots? not sure) that are superb -- they have been marinated and doctored in complicated ways we couldn't figure out. Puree of smoked eggplant. Very good, not superb.

Cheese (me). Didn't get name of cheese, semi-hard, quite dull, with good membrillo.

Desert. Verveine sabayon with assorted berries. Superb.

Wines: glass of a lovely, light champagne that I failed to note down. Glass of 2006 Touraine domaine des bois lucas (100% sauv bl) -- late-harvest but dry, something like Thevenet's wines. Worked well with food, not sure I'd want a whole bottle of this. Glass of (vintage unknown) Domaine des Foulards Rouges "Potron-minet" [a new phrase to me -- vulgar slang for "the crack of dawn"] -- quite nice, very mineral.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went last week and had a lot of the same things you did. Fine for a 42€ menu, but I've never really understood why Inaki gets all this press like he's some sort of genius. For example, for the same price, you eat far better at Spring or Caius.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I went last week and had a lot of the same things you did. Fine for a 42€ menu, but I've never really understood why Inaki gets all this press like he's some sort of genius. For example, for the same price, you eat far better at Spring or Caius.

I don't know about you, but I'd say that 20 out of our 25-ish restaurant meals in paris this year were either mediocre, seriously overpriced, or (most often) both. So I was pretty excited to even find something where I walked out thinking that the meal had been good, interesting, and fair value.

Doubt we'll manage Spring before we have to return to London, but will look into Caius.

Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doubt we'll manage Spring before we have to return to London, but will look into Caius.

Cheers!

Just don't be disappointed if all the stuff listed on their outside signs isn't available in fact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems this topic needs an update. This place is a good example of the latest "casual dining trend". I don’t have enough Paris dining experience to judge. Maybe there are many places in town with similar style and quality, or this place is really unique enough to be one of the best restaurants in the world. I really don't know! In any case, here are some highlights of the meal:

Line-caught pollock with tiny balls of roasted potato and baby onion along with a garlicky sour cream. It was slow-cooked and precisely timed to produce such an incredible texture - crispy skin with moist and juicy flakes.

IMG_6738.JPG

Here is the main - Beef & Carrot - Perfectly seasoned slices of medium-rare grilled rum steak.

IMG_6744.JPG

Fruity dessert consisted of lemon mousse, fresh and dehydrated raspberry, and mint garnish. From colour to texture to flavour, everything about this dessert was spot-on!

IMG_6754.JPG

Good value for money, offering delicious trendy food with friendly service. The only trade-off is NO AIR CONDITIONING! We had to walk out in between every course to get some fresh air!

See HERE for photos of the full meal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like this topic again needs an update. After reading about the place for several years, and avoiding it for various reasons, I finally visited Le Chateaubriand on my most recent trip to Paris in March. Somewhat surprisingly, it proved to be the best meal of our trip. My story about that night is below, and my pictures, should you want to see those, too, are HERE

5701553749_771190b8c1.jpg

Sometimes I argue with the man in the mirror. I’m smart enough to know that he can be stupid, and I delight in proving him wrong. So in more ways than one, Le Chateaubriand was delightful.

I had to go there on this most recent Paris trip, precisely because I didn’t think I’d like it. I’d read the menu scores of times, seen pictures and reviews by friends whose opinions I really value. But a frustrating dichotomy was at work, the words “best” and “worst” uttered too frequently in the same breath.

I figured if I were going to investigate the matter for myself, a thorough approach was in order. First my girlfriend and I would visit Le Dauphin, the newer, arguably cooler little brother to Chateaubriand that’s down the block. Unfortunately after lunch there we learned that our date with the older sibling that evening was not, in fact, in the computer. By “computer,” of course, I mean the scribbled, folded, wine-dotted papyrus peeking out of our server’s pocket. Who, he asked, was our friend who’d made the booking for us, and what time would this hypothetical meal take place? Inquiring minds wanted to know.

After a little horse-trading and a lot of eyelash-batting from my girlfriend, the dapper young dude conceded that we could sit at the bar. In the meantime we explored the city for a while before circling back to Aux Deux Amis for an apéritif with one of the most prominent Parisian gastronomes around. Who should we bump into there but Iñaki Aizpitarte, the chef whose food we’d eaten just hours before and would eat again just hours later. There was definitely grape juice in his glass. I can’t speak to whether or not it was fermented. But I can say I found him to be in rather good spirits.

We were, too, when we slid up to the bar at Chateaubriand to find that our server was Urik, the same guy who had helped us sort out the booking earlier. This is not a bar designed to eat at, I should mention. Or not designed for humans with legs, anyway. Fortunately all we needed were our hands for the first snacks — gougéres, avocado in tiger’s milk, and duck hearts coated with coriander and sesame. My love of coriander seed notwithstanding, my favorite of the small bites were thumb-sized sweetbreads served with asparagus and finger lime. The taste was simple, clear and harmonic. A restorative celery root broth came shortly thereafter. With all this we drank a natural sparkler from Anjou — Jean-Christophe Garnier’s Brut Nature — that stood its ground beautifully with the spices and the innards.

Fish and chips meant tempura pollock and potatoes two ways. Chips dusted with tamarind powder made sense to me, a touch of tartness to liven things up. I was less convinced by burnt fingerlings, a technique surely already mastered by many a distracted home cook. Yet my main gripe with this dish was its lack of a sauce, a dip, a cream, something to bring more moisture to the (albeit expertly fried) fish.

But lemon sole smoothed everything over. It was the dish of the night, of the trip, hell, of the year. A sauteed fillet sat on a raw one, each bite bringing contrasting textures and temperatures. Chives and leeks made up most of the garnishing greenery. The overall effect was deceptively simple, but this dish more than any other showed me the clouds in which Aizpitarte can fly.

I was riding a certain high myself, still smiling about the sole as I slid my knife through slow-roasted pork. Crab jus and a sea urchin sauce were good company, a touch of iodine to counteract the fatty meat. Pickled daikon, beet and onion had much the same effect. Then a trio of hyphenated cheeses – Ossau-Iraty, Sainte-Maure, and Brillat-Savarin — segued toward the sweets.

Desserts here don’t change daily like the savory stuff, but as far as I’m concerned, our first one fully earned a consistent spot in the rotation. Orange sorbet came flanked by roasted endive, dusted with a crumbly powder of chicory and dried black olive. It was a pinball machine, slamming my taste buds against sweet, bitter and savory elements in rapid succession. I loved it.

A chocolate finale, meanwhile, was just fine, with bittersweet cocoa powder and little shards of feuilletine mounded over celery root ice cream. Fresh mango pieces coated in fennel seeds — some candied, some not — ended things on a fresh note. I consulted no wine list that night, choosing instead to work my way through all four sparkling wines on the chalkboard to our left. And with this lineup, I was perfectly happy.

We were both so happy with everything, in fact, that we tried to come back the very next night. A Saturday night. Hell Night for dining out. Aizpitarte’s sous-chef and right-hand man, Laurent Cabut, saw us near the end of the interminable queue outside. ”I’m going to run out of food, guys. Zis eez horrible! I’m sorry. I’m sorry…” He pulled out his cell phone, calling friends from other restaurants he might, in good conscience, send us to instead. For this incredibly generous gesture there was no need. Waiting it out stubbornly, our hope for a good meal whittled down to almost nothing, we ended up with a table at Le Dauphin. And the next time we’re back in Paris, you can bet that we’ll end up back at Le Chateaubriand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, so much different than our experience. Maybe it can just be chalked up to different expectations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, so much different than our experience. Maybe it can just be chalked up to different expectations.

... or to wild inconsistency. It can be hard to know for sure, sometimes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're planning to visit Le Chateaubriand (with Le Daupin as a fall-back if the line is too long) this Saturday night. Any recommendations for places to have a few ncie cocktails nearby beforehand?

Cheers,

Ian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×