L'Auberge Carmel, Carmel-by-the-Sea
Carmel-by-the-Sea , California
Tel: 831 624 8578
Concierge.com's insider take:
Chef Christophe Grosjean took over the reigns from Walter Manzke in 2008, but the culinary wizardry that made L'Auberge one of the Central Coast's top tables remains. Some say that the food is even better now. Grosjean's technique is firmly rooted in French technique but tempered by a California sensibility and a lush earthiness that plays on the seasons. Heady Asian perfumes make cameos here and there, as in a corn soup with scallops, Thai curry, and tapioca pearls. The cooking has a lush earthiness that plays on the seasons. Main courses may include Sonoma duck with huckleberries, chanterelles, and gnocchi; or pork loin with glazed pork belly, Fuji apples, and hazelnuts. Light eaters beware: your only choices here are the chef's dégustation ($150) or a multi-course prix fixe with choices (starting at $69). If the white-glove silver service in the tiny main dining room seems too forced for low-key Carmel, try the bistro menu in the clubby room next door. And if you just can't bear to leave after dinner, book a room at the adjoining inn.
Open daily noon to 2:30 pm and 5 to 10 pm.