We had dinner at Aubergine, the restaurant at L’Auberge Carmel in Carmel, about 10 minutes drive from Hyatt Highlands.
Aubergine is the restaurant of the hotel L’Auberge Carmel, a member of Relais & Châteaux. When I went to Reims, France, in 2017, the dinner and breakfast I had at Les Crayeres , a member of Relais & Châteaux, was great, so I was excited to try this one Michelin star restaurant.
When you arrive for your reservation, you are guided to the courtyard first.
It’s a small hotel, but it has a very nice atmosphere.
During the waiting time, there was an aperitif menu with cava, rosé sparkling wine, and Krug champagne. The Krug was a whopping $65 per glass. To save a little money, I chose cava and J chose rosé. The cava was unremarkable, but I liked the rosé sparkling because it was dry. Sorry that the photo is blurry.
I was guided to my seat before finishing the apéritif. The restaurant has few tables and has a calm atmosphere.
I asked for a sommelier wine pairing on the tasting menu. Reserve wine pairing is possible, but the price will increase by about $100.
First, there are “Three Gifts From The Pacific.” The presentation in the box is visually pleasing, and the three sea urchins have a super-rich taste.
The wine pairing started from the second dish with a Pinot Gris from a winery in Mendocino County in California. The dish is shima aji (striped jack).
The next dish was ayu (sweetfish), which was exquisitely roasted. The accompanying vegetables and salmon roe were beautiful. The wine was from Sicily.
The fourth item was lobster with shiro dashi and herbs, served with brioche. The wine was from France.
From the fifth dish, meat dishes were served, with duck served first. The wine was from Spain. The roasted color is also beautiful and the roasted celery stalks were delicious.
The beef dish was paired with a California Cabernet Sauvignon and was served with sourdough bread and butter.
Before dessert, a digestif was served.
By this point, with all the wine pairings, I was a little drunk and my memory of dessert is cloudy. When I checked back to the menu I received, it seems that 3 desserts were served.
I even got a small birthday cake (I forgot the photo) and a souvenir.
The menu included a variety of dishes inspired by Japanese cuisine, such as shima aji, ayu, and shiro dashi. I especially liked the seafood in the first half. A great show, not only for taste but also for sight. It was a good memory for a birthday dinner. I would like to visit again if I have the opportunity.