Thursday, February 26, 2009

Le Chateaubriand: Fabulous sans Frills

I'd all but given up on this Republique-area find. I walked by a couple times and could find no sign of the well-recommended restaurant. I decided it had closed and (sadly) went on my way. However, a couple days later, as I was going somewhere else, I happened to walk by during business hours (which are quite strict) and discovered it still exists!

Walking into this bustling, no-frills restaurant, I was acutely aware of the wonderful aromas emerging from the kitchen, as well as the very local crowd-- always a good sign. This is not a tourist destination, due mostly to its location away from the major tourist sites, but should be on the list of anyone in the area. The lunch menu is a just 19 euros for which you receive either an entree and main course or main course and dessert (being a lover of desserts, I chose the latter). While there is only one main course served daily, they have a variety of wines, and the house carafe was a bit young though not bad. The main course on our visit was "deconstructed" lamb in a bouillon with a mixture of vegetables and spices. Truly exceptional. The desserts were as beautifully simple as the main course was complex and included pot chocolate and apple crumble, both of which I would recommend.

The dinner menu is a bit steeper at 45 euros per person, but includes 5 courses of delicious foods. Note that you only choose your dessert (the rest is pre-set), so you have to be open to new foods, but they've never led me astray. The wine list at dinner was lovely-- with many very affordable wines. Also note that the flavors of the meals tend to be complex, so I recommend asking your server for wine suggestions.

The hours are 12-2 and 7:30-?p. During our lunch, the chef emerged from the kitchen promptly at 2p and went outside even though there was a line out the front of the restaurant and around the corner. Needless to say, arrive early because at the end of the meal, they close up shop and you'd never know there is a great restaurant hiding behind the closed facade.

Note: Due to the break-neck pace at which the waitstaff functions and the lack of choice for meals, I would recommend leaving the kids with a babysitter.

UPDATE: This restaurant is now listed in the top 50 restaurants in the world (it is also the Breakthrough Restaurant of the Year)! Due to that designation, as well as significant press as of late, I highly recommend securing a reservation in advance.

Le Chateaubriand
Address: 129 Avenue Parmentier, 11th arrondisement
Metro: Parmentier

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