The group that brought you Six By Nico comes together to deliver a new French Restaurant in Finnieston.
For Chef Nico Simone, who seemingly values complexity in his meals, the transition to a French chateaubriand restaurant seems natural. Located not far from the heart of Finnieston and his previous triumph of Six By Nico, the chef brings the first of a string of new restaurants to life.
This restaurant is certainly for meat lovers. Nearly every dish that is not the famed steak has some beef product baked right into it, from beef dripping infused chips to the beef fat carrots. I’d encourage vegan readers to overt their eyes from the rest of this review. The meal centres around the famed chateaubriand split for two with diners having a choice of a number of sides, but a recommendation of three per pair is a good number. Despite the complexity of Chef Nico’s past menus, this menu’s options seem fairly standard from any steak restaurant and not overly complicated with a few odd ends like the bone marrow topped with oxtail. The restaurant itself has a dark and classical setting, but having a sense of rustic vintage despite being brand new.
"The meal centres around the famed chateaubriand split for two with diners having a choice of a number of sides, but a recommendation of three per pair is a good number."
While Six by Nico’s has fanciful themed openers, Chateau-X takes things back to the basics offering a sourdough with butter, and olives to accompany them. The olives are just olives, and the bread, while formidable, is essentially just bread. What makes this different is the butter topped with dried oxtail. This butter, while seemingly simple, has a quality taste that separates it from just an ordinary bread starter, as it presents a light but salty taste.
The roasted bone marrow and oxtail with parsley crust
These three components each bring something unique to the dish. The marrow is slightly firmer than ones I’ve had in the past, having the texture of almost fish but being softer, and surprisingly not very chewy. It provides a base for the stronger tasting components above it. The oxtail provides a slightly salty taste and a firmer texture having just slight chunks of it meshed in the parsley crust. The parsley crust gives a stark contrast with onions cutting through the general dark notes and savory herbs. In general, the three components work excellently when paired together, however there is a tendency for the dish to deconstruct itself even while tasting, which proves somewhat difficult given that each of these really need each other to get the full experience.
The mac and cheese croquettes with chipotle emulsion
This was my favourite of the sides. While croquettes play with texture and have a stiff outside and creamy inside, the crust feels more delicate. It felt like it was just a barrier for the mac and cheese to melt in your mouth. The cheese was rich and the crust gave a nice smoky, almost bacon-like after taste. The chipotle didn't actually add spice to the pairing as much as it provided a tangy contrast to the richness of the cheese and general saltiness.
Classic caesar salad with aged parmesan
While some might expect the salad to prove an exception to the saltiness of the other sides, those would be mistaken. The aged parmesan adds a sharpness to the dressing that combines for a surprisingly strong flavour for a salad. The dressing itself is a savoury base with which the lettuce is able to delicately pair. While seemingly simple the salad presents almost deconstructed with blocks of lettuce for the diner to select how to form their creation.
Beef fat carrots with carrot top and tarragon pesto
The carrots are surprisingly gentle and the beef fat again gives rich savoury tones, which is able to be complimented by the earthy tones of the herb mix. The herb mix itself brings out a bit of sweetness in the carrots as the tarragon cuts through. However, one is left with a sharp aftertaste, similar to parmesan. It was surprisingly complex as a dish despite the nature of just being a roasted carrot. The carrot tasted very natural and light compared to many of the sides, despite the fatty notes of the beef stock.
This is clearly the main event. A chateaubriand, for the uninitiated, is a beef tenderloin traditionally cooked between other cuts of meat that are discarded, which in theory makes the already tender cut retain its juice and makes for an orgasmic carnivorous experience. Today, not all chateaubriand are cooked this way, and may just refer to a tenderly cooked tenderloin. I wasn’t told how they prepared this chateaubriand, but frankly it didn’t matter. Alone it presents well being perfectly seasoned and salted, but lets the tenderness of the meat speak for itself. It is so tender, that despite the miniature butcher’s cleaver they give you to cut with, which is satisfying in its own right, one gets the feeling a butter knife could easily just as well slice into it. While they give you the option to have it well done, only a fool would deny themselves the privilege of having such a perfect piece of meat be ruined.
"A chateaubriand, for the uninitiated, is a beef tenderloin traditionally cooked between other cuts of meat that are discarded..."
While I have a philosophy that a steak done right needs no sauce, I might have to make an exception. At the encouragement of my fellow guest, Ollie Rudden, who did provide some useful notes for several of these dishes, I decided to get a sauce. Despite this act of heresy, I lamented and opted for the meaty salsa, as the rest seemed fairly standard and predictable. The meaty salsa added to the experience in ways I could not have imagined. The zesty citrus flavor with notes of ginger, paired excellently with the juicy base of the steak. This steak certainly could compete with any of the best in a Michelin restaurant, and it certainly shows why it is the center of not only the menu, but the restaurant as a whole.
The dessert was a simple soft serve ice cream and raspberry sauce, and what I mean by that is the one you get from the ice cream van. While not unique, it did bring home a simple comfort. Plus, it's complimentary with the meal so no complaints to be had.
While the courses other than the main were not much to write home about, the steak and its sides were something to cherish. While the sides seemed basic, there was clear attention to detail that made them superb and quality of both the ingredients and the ways they were made that clearly showed deliberate care. There is quite a bit of saltiness in most dishes giving a broadly savoury taste to pair with the beefy base notes in most of the dishes. I would highly recommend the experience for everyone - well, maybe not vegans...
The price and location lends itself well to formal dates for students with an average price of about £23 per person (that takes care of the steak for two and three sides to share). However, the quality is superb and should be enjoyed by everyone. Additionally, while many steakhouses make you feel as though you might need to go up a trouser size, this meal felt fairly light yet fulfilling, and overall had good balance in portion sizes. Can I mention the steak again? This steak is a gift to the people of Glasgow, may it be cherished for years to come.
Chateau-X is offering free meals for two over this weekend, Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 December, from 12pm onwards on a first come, first served basis.
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