L'Auberge Basque, Saint Pee sur Nivelle
Address: Vieille Route de St-Jean-de-Luz
At L'Auberge Basque's striking dining room overlooking a lush valley in the backcountry near St-Jean-de-Luz, chef Cédric Béchade has people flocking from French gastonomic towns and nearby San Sebastián, Spain. After working in some of France's top kitchens, including the Plaza Athénée, Beacute;chade has come home to serve his own brand of haute cuisine, a modern take on Basque food. His brief menu changes regularly, but he uses only local produce and takes pride in reworking regional classics. Among his best: a starter of sauteacute;ed foie gras wrapped in a cornmeal crêpe and garnished with a salad of yellow beans, Bayonne ham, and three different sauces, and an entrée of Ibaiona pork fillet in a shallot glaze with sautéed eggplant. A superb cheese tray stars Ossau-Iraty and other native cheeses, and the wine list has plenty of southwestern French and Spanish bottles (entrées, $29$52).