Le Fooding Guide’s Best Restaurant of 2007
Ten years running and the Iñaki Aizpitarte-fronted rock band at Le Chateaubriand is just as hip as ever! In the big dining room with its handsome old-fashioned look, there’s a line of people waiting at the bar for cancelations (it’s booked straight for the next three weeks), while the set menu floats out on a piece of paper. The score begins with a complex number, carefully playing with flavors and genre, just like on opening night so many years ago. An amuse-bouche with an explosive crescendo: a powerful shot of lime-marinated mullet ceviche jus; followed by an incredible ribbon of raw cuttlefish nestled into a rhubarb jus; and a luxurious tomato velouté shot through with blackcurrants. Then come the dishes that really amp up the volume: bonito from Saint-Jean-de-Luz cooked in a fragrant garden of crisp nectarines and purslane; a pearly-white filet of line-caught yellow pollack surrounded unpretentiously by juicy coco beans with hints of dill; roasted veal sweetbread in browned butter – raw sensuality on a plate – with grilled corn and wild sorrel…. The desserts are out of this world: tomato and mozzarella ice cream (a scoop topped with congealed olive oil with green tomato and basil sorbets); a legendary tocino de cielo, which you eat without an explanation of the dish (as it turns out, it’s an egg yolk that’s caramelized with a small blowtorch, served over an almond powder dacquoise). And a natural wine list that’s 60 pages long, which spits out fire and fruit: Chambolle-Musigny from Fred Cossard (€9 a glass), Puy Long blanc from Jean Maupertuis in Auvergne for €30 a bottle, BG blanc from Antoine Arena in Corsica for €49… and other insane bottles that you can browse through at the wine bar next door (Le Cave), like this crazy Pinot Noir from Kelley Fox in Oregon (€35). Menu €70 (€135 with food and wine pairings). // R.deC.