I've never been a huge fan of Inaki Aizpitarte's Chateaubriand. Maybe it's all the media hype surrounding this bad-boy Basque, a rogueishly handsome, perpetually unshaven lady killer of a cuistot. Maybe I'm jealous of all the attention he gets variously from the top food and travel magazines, as well as a legion of hot young foodies. My friend and fellow chef/food blogger extraordinaire once told me, "I don't know what all the fuss is about- it's nothing special, just n'importe quoi" . Another friend Trish, who profiled him for a top French food mag thinks he's sex on a stick. Most girls do. I swear when he pops out of the kitchen you can almost hear the panties drop.
Well, all this hype has sort of muddied the water a little, making people expect something on the level of El Bulli I have the impression. All the fashionistas and gastro-tourists arriving for dinner last night had a similar look on their face, "Is this it?" One bobo type style editor girl got into a heated argument with the head waiter because they took more than 4 seconds to find her reservation. He couldn't give toss. I expect he gets it every day. Too much press buzz giving an impression of something else.
Anyway, last night I got it. A 45€ , five course menu with very decent food is a good deal:Amuse bouche of marscapone, crab and pissenlit, Bouillon with mushrooms, radishes , foie gras and various crunchy peanuty things floating around, lieu jaune with mashed purple tomatoes and raw, thinly sliced cauliflower, Lamb from Hugo (a bit too chewy), with carrots, agrumes and "carri", and a pear crumble/yoghurt dessert with caviar like little yuzu pearls. Cheese (coulommiers, "young" gorgonzola and chevre) was very decent.
So, despite previous misgivings, I've been won over for a simple, slightly creative cuisine at good prices. And it really was fun observing all those stupidly dressed fashionidiots waiting for my table in desperation at the standing room only bar, while I slowly sipped a last glass of chilled bubbly ;)