We started in the “cave” with an aperitif, which the chef, Inaki Aizpitarte, chose. Apparently, he likes to hang out there, because he was still there when we left the restaurant. Also of note, they do not serve French wines in the cave. I think this is meant to be a challenge to the customer to try something new.
We had beaucoups d’amuse-bouches, including red mullet escabeche, blood sausage with cocoa and fried sage, veal brains tempura with raspberry powder, and butternut squash consomme. Whew!
The menu included squid salad with black pepper, squid ink, and herbs; monkfish with fried potatoes, pomelo (similar to grapefruit), and onions; veal with salsify, sesame seeds, and meyer lemon sauce; cheese; and sunchoke puree with quince sorbet.
An interesting wine pairing was a vin de Gaillac that was rich and sweet with the sour red mullet escabeche. Among the more traditional pairings were cider and rose Champagne with the rest of the starters. And beer accompanied the sunchoke puree and quince sorbet.
A few preparations were new to me, such as consomme made with squash and sesame seeds served like risotto.
Le Chateaubriand has been on Restaurant magazine’s “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list for the past five years, and for good reason! And I might add that we saw chefs from two other cutting-edge restaurants—Septime and Astrance (more on that later)—while we were there.