I was so, so embarrassed.
We were over an hour late to our reservation at Le Chateaubriand Paris. The circumstances understandable. Paris was in the middle of its worst transportation strike/protests in decades. Workers were so frustrated about a potential change in retirement benefits, they effectively shut down all public transportation in France.
The resultant massive traffic jam that arose during rush hour resulted in our 4-mile trip taking two hours. It would have been faster to walk (had we known!).
The staff at Le Chateaubriand were so, so gracious. They called, left a message, and I was able to call them back and tell them about our unfortunately circumstances.
I'm so thankful they were willing to serve us, after we showed up well past 8:30PM. The meal turned out to be fantastic. It was creative, mind-blowing at times, and all around really, really fun.
The Ever-changing Meal at Le Chateaubriand Paris
A meal at Le Chateaubriand Paris is ever changing. There is no menu, and Basque chef Iñaki Aizpitarte decides the nature of the 5-course tasting menu daily based on the season. He's bold, not afraid to try wacky things, and serves a lot of biodynamic wines that may not necessarily be from France.
Love it or hate it, you'll definitely have an interesting and (IMHO) really fun meal that may challenge your traditional sense of food and pairings.
To Start . . .
We began with the "bread", poppyseed encrusted cheese puffs paired with apple cider. Next was a liquid course. The server instructed us to drink the mezcal (clear liquid) followed by a ceviche raspberry shot. It was both savory and sweet, with elements of oyster brine and an oyster coupled with sweet and tart raspberry juice. It was brilliant.
Deep fried sardine "spring rolls" topped with tandoori powder were pleasant.
Next up we had sea urchin ravioli with mountain oil.
This next course is the one that blew me away and most. Bone marrow coffee oil consommé was, surprisingly, incredible. For some reason, the deep rich beef-flavored consommé paired beautifully with coffee and the unctuous bone marrow.
I was so surprised, and floored at the same time. Genius.
Seafood and Meat
For the next course, we enjoyed a single "ring" of squid stuffed with ground meat and topped with pickled onion petals. This was paired with a light red wine from Australia (cab franc). The pickled onions balanced out the meaty filling nicely.
Next was a white fish served with a mayo-based sauce, potato, sorrel, and champagne. It was pleasant, but did not blow we away like some of the earlier courses.
The meat course, a lamb neck served with grilled radicchio, chili, ginger, black olive, and a nut “tapenade” was also very pleasant. We enjoyed it with a North Italian pinot grigio.
Dessert + Cheese
We only had one choice to make for this entire meal, and that was "cheese or dessert?". Bryan is not much of a dessert fan and "has never met a cheese he didn't like." Accordingly, his response was lightening fast - "cheese!" he replied.
I hesitated for a moment before the server confidently said "the dessert is better."
It wasn't until I ate what "Surprise" dessert that I realized it was one of their signature dishes. The surprise dessert is actually a caramelized egg yolk on top of a chewy meringue disc. It's delicious and worth getting.
We finished with simple slices of fresh kiwi with pink peppercorn.
General Thoughts - Le Chateaubriand Paris
What can I saw? I really enjoyed my meal. Not every single course was ground breaking. Some were only OK, and others were interesting but not necessarily my favorite. However, certain courses blew me away. Others most definitely surprised me. For some, Le Chateaubriand is their favorite restaurant in Paris. Others aren't so fond of the chef's wacky ways.
One thing's sure. You won't be bored at a meal at Le Chateaubriand.
Furthermore, the service is warm and friendly, and the space is charming. It really feels like a casual neighborhood French bistro (despite the fact that it has a Michelin Star and frequents the World's 50 Best list, often near the top.
A meal at Le Chateaubriand Paris is ever-changing, so I would totally come back again just to see what Basque chef Iñaki Aizpitarte has up his sleeve.
Le Chateaubriand Paris
129 Avenue Parmentier
Folie-Méricourt, Paris, 75011 Paris
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