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Aug 19, 2010 11:53 AM

Le Chateaubriand -- Yes?

I have reserved at Le Chateaubriand for dinner, but I have not read a positive review in months. I am interested in modern cuisine, so this appealed to me. Yet, I am concerned after having read such disappointing reports. Any recent experiences that are positive? Many thanks.

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  1. Not from me, I won't go back to Inaki until he goes back to the way he first cooked at La Famille, after that it's been downhill.

    1. I ate there last year and thought it was our best meal of our visit (including Frenchie). It isn't a place for the conservative diner nor for one who likes a safe experience. But for €45 the menu delivered very good food in a "Mugaritz" style. Some course were less successful but balanced by the successful ones. If it was more expensive I would be less forgiving but at this price I believe you get fair value for avant garde food.

      1. I have only been once, and I did not enjoy the meal. I know there are a large number of people who agree with my opinion that this restaurant is highly overrated, and there is a little bit of Emperor's New Clothes at work. There also seems to be a group of people who love this place, particularly in the world of gastronomic journalism.

        I would only recommend it to someone who was going to be in Paris for more than few days so they could try it and judge for themselves. If going there will take the place of another potentially good or great meal on a short trip, I would advise against it.

        If you go, I would go with an open mind, understanding that you may or may not like the place, rather than going with the expectation of this being the 11th best restaurant in the world, only to set yourself up for disappointment.

        Incidentally, as a side note, in addition to not liking the food, I found the portions quite small; this is never an issue for me, but it certainly was here. I left not just unsatisfied, but also a little bit hungry.

        3 Replies
        1. re: fishskis

          I disliked most of the 5 courses enough that they could not have been too small for me. Interestingly, my usually not-adventurous-at-table husband enjoyed most of the dishes and finished those of mine that I refused to eat. This is a curious address.

          1. re: fishskis

            "there is a little bit of Emperor's New Clothes at work. "
            Hear, hear! 10 E for a bio beet is rubbing your nose in it.

            1. re: John Talbott

              Le Châteaubriand is one of my very favorite restaurants in Paris. I have been disappointed only twice, at lunch, when the chef was not around. Otherwise I was always dazzled. Inaki is, with Gilles Choukroun and Claude Colliot, one of the geniuses of food pairings and taste associations.

              It is one of the very few places where the creativity and culinary talent are so high that I never feel I have been gypped if the portions seem a bit too small or if the service, the customers and the press buzz seem a bit too hyped. Le Châteaubriand, I believe, is functioning below its competence level.

          2. i went here as well, last night as a matter of fact and felt that although the price is reasonable @ 50 euros, i would probably not go back. felt as if the chef was trying a bit too hard and some of the flavors did not blend well. so far, le comptoir, chez georges, le chateaubriand, la regelade st. honore have all been so-so dining experiences. I'm beginning to think the french restaurants in the US are doing better things than Paris?

            Correct me if I'm wrong, I have 3 more days here and would love to be proved wrong :)

            13 Replies
            1. re: dep516

              Try to get into Table d'Eugene, closed Sunday and Monday, so a cancellation for tonight or tomorrow are you only hopes.

              18, rue Eugene Sue Metro:Jules Joffren

                1. re: dep516

                  There are so many other places. Try Le Bouchon et l'Assiette, Claude Colliot, Saturne, Le Baratin, Café des Musées. Café Pleyel for Arnaud Daguin's veggie-friendly, strong-flavored country fare.

                  1. re: Ptipois

                    Ptipois, I am going to venture a guess that it has been a while since your visit to Café Pleyel. J.T., Ms. L. and I had an unrelievedly bad meal there recently; beautiful setting but I think M. Daguin would weep if he knew what is being done under his name.

                    I am in agreement with your other choices from recent experience other than Baratin which I haven't yet gotten to.

                    1. re: Laidback

                      No, actually my last visit to Café Pleyel was quite recent since I have been there regularly during the last three weeks for a project. Mr. Daguin (who takes care of his maison d'hôtes in the Pays basque) is there two days a week though it is not the same days each week. I see no problem with his cooking but I agree that it is very personal, very gutsy, closer to traditional French home food than to Paris restaurant fare, and not to everybody's liking. When he cooks at Lurrama (the Basque equivalent of Terra Madre) for a large number of visitors, his queue is always the longest and his dishes are the first to go. Maybe you do not like his style, and maybe also you were there on a bad day. I still recommend the place but maybe I should point out that Arnaud cooks with very assertive flavors.
                      His products come directly from his network of producers in the Pays basque and they are unsually strong in taste compared to the stuff usually served in Paris (particularly the vegetables).

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        "and maybe also you were there on a bad day."

                        I think that must have been the case as certainly the Daguin family's pedigree needs no defending nor does yours. This day it was not a matter of style, but inattention to the cooking or oversight of the plates before serving, which leads me to believe M. Daguin was not there that day. My appetizer was champignons cuit-cru; the cru portion was ok, a few slices of champignon de Paris, but the cuit was beautiful ceps which had been overcooked to the point of being burned. The pintade was probably fine product but was so dry and overcooked that neither JT or I could eat more than half. As you pointed out, bad days happen and there were a few nice reviews on the place before we went.

                        1. re: Laidback

                          Just so Laidback isn't seen as hanging out there all alone against our resident expert Pti, I have written too much already about my one and only meal there - I must say I do not and have never worked with him, but I knew his cooking years ago in Auch with Papa and loved him then.
                          As Laidback says, I fear he's just not there enough. One is aware of Frechon's presence at the MiniPalais and Doucet's at the original Regalade and Martin at Sensing (ring a bell Pti?); that day may have been aberrant and all kitchens like all orchestras, indeed all people, have bad days, but he wasn't following the Ducasse Rule - "Who cooks when you're not here?"

                    2. re: Ptipois

                      Thanks. I'll give those a shot. Any recommendation on a restaurant where i can have some of the more classical? dishes such as a good coq au vin or bouef bourguignon?

                      Also, and not to offend anyone, but is it just me or is the food here much more bland than the US?

                        1. re: mangeur

                          Happily for me, less onions and garlic, in everything, and not copious amounts of oil.

                        2. re: dep516

                          I generally find traditional French cuisine to be less spicy than much American cuisine, the exceptions being Basque cuisine and the wonderful mustards.

                          1. re: dep516

                            "Any recommendation on a restaurant where i can have some of the more classical? dishes such as a good coq au vin or bouef bourguignon?"
                            Oh my goodness, try a search here. Chez Georges for a start.

                            "Also, and not to offend anyone, but is it just me or is the food here much more bland than the US?"
                            Well Indian and spicy stuff is toned down - as I was told - "They don't like that here, Sir."

                            "Less salt and sugar, perhaps?"
                            The famous filmguy and I had a dish (yes we both had the same one) today that was so saturated with salt that his diabetes and my hypertension were in crisis.

                        3. re: dep516

                          "I'm beginning to think the French restaurants in the US are doing better things than Paris? " - I think sometimes we get used to what we eat at home and that becomes the yardstick to judge, even if it is inaccurate standard to start with.

                          I moved from Sydney to Hong Kong and thought Sydney Cantonese food was better. After a few years in Hong Kong my palate had adjusted and I appreciated the subtlety and sophistication of Cantonese food, and thus wondered why I had ever liked in my favourite Sydney Cantonese restaurants.

                          From your other comment "Also, and not to offend anyone, but is it just me or is the food here much more bland than the US?" I suspect this is the case, you have a style of French food at home that you love but the Parisian food is different and as part of the art of good French food is its subtlety, which I suppose could be viewed as bland.

                          Maybe it isn't the restaurant maybe it is simply the dishes you order? Try choosing dishes that should have a strong Flavour punch, as Ptipois suggests try the strong country style dishes; although I am surprised these weren't centre stage at Le Regalade or Le Comptoir.