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Paris and Le Chateaubriand Report


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Paris and Le Chateaubriand Report

fishskis | | Sep 5, 2009 06:25 PM

Just spent a week in Paris, and thanks to this board (in particular, "Souphie"), I had some great experiences. Loved La Regalade (as usual) and l'Ami Jean; how do these places offer such amazing food (at these prices)?...Le Cinq was a ridiculously incredible lunch at 78 euros, including a beautiful foie gras first course (no suplement!)...And Guy Savoy and Gagnaire were great; though my main course of Bresse chicken at Guy Savoy was extremely bland, and Gagnaire was a little less spectacular than normal, maybe due to the fact that he was not there(?), but I was still blown away by a couple of things.....However, I did not enjoy Le Chateaubriand (see below)......

I really liked the feel of the classic old space, and I wanted to like the meal, but I did not. The service was painfully slow (and not in a good, relaxed, Parisian way), the portions were oddly small (something I rarely complain about), and I did not enjoy the food at all. They offer a five course dinner prix-fixe at 45 euro; there are no choices on the menu, not even for dessert.

The first course was a small amuse; it was a brulee or a gelee with a few tiny pieces of smoked fish of some sort; both the texture and taste were unpleasant, and I did not finish even it's tiny amuse-like portion.....Second course was a sashimi dish of some sort of white fish, which tasted similar to halibut to me; it was served in a seaweed salad and tasted like the sea; the dish was fresh and light, though 2 out of the 6 pieces of fish were tough and had cartilage or something else texturally unpleasant due to improper prep. I did not really love this dish, and it was under-seasoned, but it was not bad....The third dish was a very small serving of a white fish (Cobillaud?, I think), served with four tiny baby mussels, and a few mini root vegetables. The fish was "tough" and flavorless, one of the mussels had broken shell pieces and/ or sand in it, and the dish on the whole was under-seasoned and generally bland and uninspired....The next course was duck. Once again, the portion was small: a piece of duck breast and literally one bite's worth of foie gras. The duck itself was extremely tough, flavorless, and, again, there was connective tissue which was inedible, so I discarded one third of the already small portion. Additionally, the skin was completely lacking in crispness and flavor. The one bite of foie was tasty.....Desert was a few berries under a giant dollop of whipped cream, with a few tasty pieces of meringue hidden inside; totally uninspired. there is nothing wrong with berries and cream for desert, but I want that to be my choice if I want something light and simple; this is their only offer for their prix fixe menu? Berries and whipped cream? Come on. Even I can do that at home.... There were no additional offerings; no extra amuse, no special bread accompaniment, no mignardise, no madeleines, etc. The bread served was Poilane; which I know has a great reputation, but to me is just good bread which reminds me of simple wheat bread - nothing special.

They seem to be very impressed with themselves at Le Chateaubriand; they should not be. Out of five courses, not one was great, not one was even very good. The food ranged from bad to acceptable. Clearly, the chef is trying to do something purposeful, going for a simple and light style; but giving them the most favorable benefit of the doubt, I just have completely different taste. The food is light to the point of being flavorless. If you are going to attempt simple food, the ingredients and technique better be tops; they were far from that here. After an interminable two and a half hours, I left unsatisfied and hungry (the only time this happened in my two weeks plus in Europe).