Le Chateaubriand is a casual restaurant from chef Inaki Aizpitarte, a self-trained chef who had gained fame (or notoriety) as a sort of maverick chef not constrained by any boundaries and leading the so-called bistronomy movement in Paris, where a number of up and coming chefs had moved away from classic (and expensive) fine-dining institutions for more affordable fare with new ideas from all around the world. It has constantly been subject to mixed reviews, some critics loving the kitchen’s novel approach and others not fans of the at times unstructured philosophy to food. While I’m always a fan of something new that a restaurant can offer, my impression with Le Chateaubriand unfortunately was closer to the latter. While there were certainly some surprises, I felt the execution was a bit lacking and wondered why the kitchen decided to take certain approach to flavor and texture in some dishes.
I went for the tasting menu route at 65 euros per person, which would’ve been a fantastic bargain had the food been good. Most of the dishes, however, were rather ordinary without much surprise, or the flavor was simply unbalanced. I couldn’t find anything special from fried shrimps or crab that came with Sicilian onion, and was rather puzzled that wasabi-like flavor was added to the skate dish that could’ve worked better without it.
John Dory fish was well cooked, but the combination with artichoke and goat cheese didn’t add much. Sometimes, it was the texture that was the problem. Perhaps because I’m generally not a huge fan of sweetbreads due to its mushy texture, but I felt a rather crunchy vegetable instead of similar mushy turnips could’ve saved the dish. While I was a fan of the fresh fermented milk ice cream, I was less impressed by the small bite of eggs, almonds and sugar where the eggs simply overwhelmed all the other sweeter elements.
The restaurant accepts reservations for only the first table at 7:30 p.m., with the subsequent tables served only on first-come-first-serve basis. The restaurant was packed by the middle of my meal, and I saw a number of people coming over to inquire about availability for later dates. Overall, the food at Le Chateaubriand wasn’t bad at all, but neither was it ground-breaking. I wonder whether it has to do with lack of structure in the chef Aizpitarte’s approach to the food, or whether the restaurant just happens to have a bad day (it apparently features a menu that changes daily based on the fresh ingredients that are available that day). Will that merit a second look next time I’m in Paris? We’ll see.
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 7.0/10
- Ingredients: 7.5/10
- Flavor: 7.0/10
- Texture: 7.5/10
Address: 129, avenue Parmentier, 75011, Paris, France