His approach is decidedly more traditional—and seemingly more palatable—than that of fellow Top Chef cast member Hector Santiago. On the menu you'll find familiar combinations of regional flavors and ingredients, like Roasted Mussels with Garlic and Parsley Butter, a Baked Spanish Tortilla with Caramelized Onions and Chorizo, and Stuffed Calamaries in Ink Sauce over Spanish Rice. For those of you who haven't sampled the oceanic delight that is squid ink, don't blanch in disgust; it's actually delicious.
Desserts could be more inspired, with predictable inclusions of Crème Brûlée and Caramel Flan serving as the sweet coda to a warm, communal meal at Iluna Basque. Mattin's youthful charisma is what's allowing us to overlook what the menu lacks in overt experimentation. This passionate chef can amuse our bouche any day.
· Iluna Basque [Official Site]
· Former Top Chef Hopeful Cooks 'With Heart and Balls' in Atlanta [Jaunted]
· Top Chef coverage [Jaunted]