What are five things to know about Aubergine?

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Aubergine, the Restaurant at L’Auberge Carmel is the fine-dining restaurant located on the ground floor of L’auberge Carmel. A dinner there is a singular experience and here are five things to know before you make a reservation:

1. Seafood is the star. Chef Justin Cogley takes inspiration and many ingredients from the local waters around Carmel and Monterey. Expect sea urchin, abalone and shellfish to appear during your dinner.

2. Tasting menu only. The Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant's chef takes diners on a journey with a succession of dishes, so it’s not possible to order a la carte. Choose between a four-course menu for $110 and a spontaneous chef’s menu of about 10 courses for  $125, with wine pairings for an additional charge. 

3. Trust the chef. Cogley isn’t one of those chefs whose menu reveals every detail about a dish. His tasting menu especially is a cryptic list of ingredients that will appear; the fun part is seeing how.

4. It’s intimate. Aubergine, the Restaurant at L’Auberge Carmel isn’t a large space at all — it has only eight tables and usually seats 22 people. Since Cogley’s cuisine is getting popular, advance reservations are a very good idea.

5. It’s internationally acclaimed. Chef Cogley is in his early 30s, but already he’s receiving international attention for his creative and delicious cuisine. He was just named to Food & Wine Magazine’s 2013 Best New Chefs list and his hero — legendary French chef Pierre Gagnaire — recently came in to dine.

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