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New “casual place” by Iñaki Aizpitarte near/ next to Chateaubriand?

Back in May (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7074...) I saw posted here, from PhilD: “I understood [Iñaki Aizpitarte] had dropped lunch at Chateaubriand as he was planning a casual place 'next door.' " And by Phyllis Flick in the same thread: “From what I've heard (and it was a very knowledgeable source) he is taking over Le Dauphin, which is right next to Chateaubriand at 131, ave. Parmentier, Paris 11th."

We’ll be in the neighborhood pretty soon, and I’m wondering: Has this happened/ what’s the status? -- Jake

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  1. DK, will check in a couple of days.

    1. I drove by this morning while on the bus and it doesn't look like renovations have gotten very far, although there was a light on, so hopefully they are working on it.

      1. John and Phyllis, thanks for these responses. I know that these things take time -- and I look forward to your updates in the coming months. -- Jake

        1. Opening today I think. Get ready for the blaggers, hangers on and just plain freaky Inaki worshippers to clog the net with how great it is.

          2 Replies
          1. re: adrian

            Thanks Adrian, I'll go to Eugene tmrw and check on I.A. later

          2. What's up with Le Fooding naming it among it's winners when it hasn't even opened? Shades of the Michelin fiasco a couple of years back, that created such an uproar, yet no one to my knowledge has even mentioned the untimeliness of Le Fooding's announcement. Am I missing something here?

            The older I get, the less sense this old world seems to make.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Laidback

              Yah, l'Express had a teaser too about it being about to open and what I.A. does on a sample weekend.

              1. re: Laidback

                >>> What's up with Le Fooding naming it among it's winners when it hasn't even opened?

                Heh.. they know they're going to like it ;-) they don't even need to eat there.
                They're just showing that they can do as good as the Michelin.

                1. re: Ptipois

                  It reminds me of the expat blogger reaction to the new Spring..!

                  1. re: PhilD

                    You mean in general? A few examples perhaps? (Thanks.)

                    Actually I think I can figure out what happened. They made up the "Prix Fooding du meilleur décor" for the occasion so that they could include the yet unopened restaurant. Clever (or not).

                    1. re: Ptipois

                      Do I mean in general? Maybe not. To me it is reminiscent of the automatic expectation that it will be without fault before a single mouthful of food has been consumed, and once opened there is a barrage of un-critical reviews. It sums up quite well on this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7167... and then is somewhat tempered by: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7453... - my guess is that the "truth" lies somewhere between the two.

                      I am a fan of Iñaki Aizpitarte and Daniel Rose and like to see their success - I will be interested in the reviews after the initial hype and then inevitable "over correction" has taken place. Both important openings and both I will try when I next get time to get to Paris.

                      1. re: PhilD

                        I see what you mean. What I see in the first thread though is a lot of expectation, indeed, but no one really acts certain that the food will be flawless when they'll be able to taste it at last. They rather hope it will be at least as good as the old Spring. It is more about booking complications and - for some - overdramatizing the importance of getting a reservation as if their life depended on it. I see a lot of adoration but no real speculation over food that hasn't been tasted yet.

                        As for the second thread, it does look slightly like a case of burning-what-they-adored but I also see serious concerns about the opacity of the pricing and the result is disappointment, perhaps disproportionate as a consequence of former worship.

                        True, the two situations are structurally similar but I do see more of an attitude and a tad of cynicism in Le Fooding pinning an award onto an unopened restaurant and making up a non-food category for that. For Spring it's just fans expressing their feelings, for Le Fooding there's a bit of class pride added.

                1. re: Maximilien

                  wow a post banned by the Rem Koolhaas architect's copyright ..

                  1. re: adrian

                    Wow a Fooding award for best décor awarded even before the décor is completed.

                    That goes far, far beyond my regular observation that Paris food bloggers tend to visit new restaurants even before the wall paint has dried. Le Fooding has taken the trend to an extremity that will be hard to match, even by the most futile. It's going to be hard for them to growl at bloggers now.

                    Why is it so important for some to be the first to review a restaurant, or for a respectable food media institution to do things in such a childish manner? Isn't it more important to make a sensible, unhurried review of it without making it an ego race? Just see to what lengths it takes them.

                2. The go-go waiters are an important (and deliberate) element but not just for the expat blogger population.
                  I sincerely believe the food at Le Châteaubriand is at such a level of quality and creativity that seductive waiters should not be needed, but such is the folk-lore of the place and I am okay with it as long as the food is good.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Ptipois

                    Indeed. My experience there has always been hit or miss, up and down, mostly I think to do with Inaki's mood (or if he's even there! which isn't often the case..) . I think he's important, just don't think he deserves the level of adulation he has had (much of which from female expat bloggers) . I think it's a combination of funky food and sexy chef.........

                    1. re: adrian

                      Yes. The tragedy of Le Chateaubriand is that the level of adulation is a result of various elements, only one of which is food. I am a true believer in Inaki's talent but I also believe he tends to perform a few notches below it. Sometimes a stroke of grace happens and you know how great he is, or how great he'd be should he really want to appear so, sometimes you see the potential but also realize that he could do better, and sometimes he's just not there. The only thing I find interesting there is the food, the sexy attitude amuses me for all its tackiness, but would be infuriating if there weren't the promise of truly amazing food in the plates. Adulation is something that happens, I think in the case of Chateaubriand it was entirely built by the self-generated fan club, not by the team and certainly not by Inaki himself. Though it is clear that the waiters always did their utmost efforts to keep the show going.

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        I would add one qualification to your points which is the low(ish) price he delivers at. I think this allows some latitude to forgive lapses.

                        The other question I would throw out is, does this style of "avant-garde" food come with a degree of inherent risk? Iñaki like a few others (Adria, Aduriz etc) sits so close to the leading edge he, like they, sometimes fall off.

                        1. re: PhilD

                          Yes, you're right, the prices are quite fair.

                          Regarding the inherent risk: I think "avant-garde" is not a homogeneous category. For me the parting line is not between avant-garde and conservative cooking but between poetry and absence of inspiration. Some avant-garde I am enthusiastic about (Adria, Inaki) and some leaves me cold (the Basque "molecular" chefs like Aduriz).

                          I could write pages and pages about Adria. I think his art is 100% risk-taking or total absence of risk, depending on how you look at it, because he is never gratuitous and provides matter for meditation even when he fails. Some of his dishes are less successful than others but all of them question you. I did not have the same impression at all with the moleculars of Western Spain like Aduriz or Josean which I found more gimmicky and less poetic. I can't tell how much risk-taking there is in their food since it does not work for me, but some people like it a lot. With Inaki I believe the matter is simpler. Being able to take risks also means that you know you can rely on your intuitions and inspiration. Which produces a certain paradox, i.e. the more you're able to take risks, the less you're likely to fail. On the other hand people who do not take risks (and that does not apply only to cooking) are much more likely to fail than those who do, in the way that doing something dull, uncreative or uninteresting is always a failure. Therefore it is safer to take risks. Which brings me back to Inaki. This man relies on so much talent that his cooking stands constantly on the edge of the precipice - actually that is the case of all very talented people. His imagination is always active. The way he creates recipes is a fascinating process to watch. If you catch him on a day or night when he's in full possession of his power, he's not likely to disappoint. But if you catch him not in his best shape or just absent, well that is when the food is likely to deceive.

                  2. Ontopic: Is this place already open, because I'm quite interested to see what Koolhaas has made from it and to see if the food is any good...

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: ACSteenbergen

                      Yes - Adrian said it opened on the 1st December. I understand it is a "soft opening" and the kitchen won't be fully up to speed for a couple of weeks.

                      1. re: PhilD

                        Went a few weeks ago. Good, relaxed tapas bar. Reasonable prices. Good wine at E5 per glass. What's not to like?

                        1. re: zizouz

                          "A few weeks ago", uh, not quite. It wasn't open.

                          1. re: adrian

                            I was referring to Deux Amis, which was definitely open in November. It's not the joint next door, but rather a tapas place more or less around the corner. At any rate, it was where the Chateaubriand bartender sent me for tapas, and it was quite good. When there's good morcilla over pureed parsnips for five euro, questions of ownership seem superfluous.

                            1. re: zizouz

                              Zizouz - hence the confusion you are talking about the wrong place. This thread is about Le Dauphin which is next door and run by Inaki not the tapas bar opened by a few of the old FOH team which has been open some time.

                              1. re: PhilD

                                So I realized after I posted. Happy the crowds are going to Le Dauphin. More room for the rest of us at Deux Amis.

                                1. re: zizouz

                                  heh. Maybe you should start another thread. And go there.

                    2. Since the purported sexy waiters are not my style (nor target age), and since my only dinner at the mother house was pretty much inedible, I'm waiting for descriptions of food style at the new place. I'm also wondering in what ways Le Dauphin will be more casual than Chateaubriand, which was pretty informal.

                      A further grumble and perhaps grist for another thread: a major complaint in the last several years is the chasm between inspiration and execution. A piece of hard, green, flavorless fruit that added nothing when, indeed, the ripe fruit might have worked well; sand in spinach; bone and shell fragments in fish soups; as above, poorly chosen produce. All these in dining rooms with fine reputations and when the chef is in house. Who's minding the prep?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mangeur

                        I agree and add that innovative "plating" does not, by itself, turn mediocre preparation and cooking into great (or even fairly good) cuisine.

                      2. Been twice now. Loved it. Great review by Phyllis. You'll hear about it more soon (I've just completed reportage for two big name glossy mags..... shame on me)