129 Avenue Parmentier,
Phone: +33 1 43 57 45 95
Wander by Le Chateaubriand and you’d never guess it was one of the top fifty restaurants in the world, at least according to San Pellegrino’s annual list. In fact, it ranked number nine in 2009, which is no small feat. This humble bistro looks like it’s been around forever: The tables are a weathered wood, the floors made of faded tiles, dim globes hanging from the ceiling, and chalkboards along several walls, featuring wine makers and wines by the glass. Upfront, there’s a quaint bar with a Marzocco coffee maker and a window onto the street.
Boiled Mediterranean Shrimp
Not exactly what you’d imagine to find at one of the toughest reservations in the world. The menu is a 65 Euro tasting menu, a pretty good deal considering there are over six courses. The most pretentious thing about Le Chateaubriand is its name. Of course, that doesn’t mean the food’s not ambitious. It is.
Our meal started with a teeny bowl of Sea Bream Ceviche basking in Leche De Tigre, then it was on to a warm Poppy Seed Gougere, and an awesome Sardine wrapped in Fried Pastry Wrapper and finished with Raspberry Dust. It was smooth sailing until they plopped a plate of Boiled Mediterranean Shrimps Boiled still in their Shell with an aioli dipping sauce, so random and simple that I could’ve made it myself at home.
Thankfully, it was followed up by a bowl of satisfying Crab Broth that I’d much prefer to chicken noodle soup the next time the flu strikes. What made dinner at Le Chateaubriand so interesting was you never knew what was coming next and the combinations were all pretty original though some were more successful than others. ((I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had raspberry and sardines in the same bite.) There’s Trout Sashimi crowned with Acacia Flowers and a Horseradish Aioli, and Poached Codfish with Purple Spinach, Mushrooms and the unexpected sprinkling of Cherries. And I haven’t had Pork this good in a long time; Seared and sliced thin with White and Green Asparagus and Pine Needles.
Fermented Ice Cream
For dessert, there’s a tangy Fermented Milk Ice Cream with sesame and elderflower, which would’ve been better left unfermented, and the ubiquitous bowl of strawberries. Some dishes were better than others, and I’m not sure I’d include it in my top fifty list, but I’d say it makes my Paris top twenty toward the bottom.