L’Astrance is located a couple of blocks from the Eiffel Tower. It’s a fairly small restaurant off of a main street and it has compiled a list of awards in its time. Here are L’Astrance’s significant accolades:
- 3 Michelin star in 2014
- 3 Michelin star in 2015
- #38 on the San Pellegrino 2014 World’s Best Restaurants
- #36 on the San Pellegrino 2015 World’s Best Restaurants
- #57 on the San Pellegrino 2016 World’s Best Restaurants
L’Astrance is runned by Chef Pascal Barbot who came out of Chef Passard’s Arpege kitchen. Chef Barbot is redefining French fine dining and his dishes features a lot of Asian ingredients. The rich flavors of butter isn’t apparent in a lot of his dishes. The service was a lot better than a lot of restaurants in its class. They actually pay attention to your likes and dislikes. I asked for the crust of the bread and that’s what I got all night.
The main floor contains a bar area, main dining room and the kitchen is behind closed doors. There seems to be only one seating per night and only 5 wait staff working on the shift. The restaurant is really colorful with yellow seats and gives off a very vibrant ambiance. In addition, it provides a contrast to the dark tones of the restaurant walls and contemporary design.
Now, the food. The tasting menu consisted mainly of savory courses and dessert. There were a three amuse bouche, five savory courses, and two dessert dishes.
- Foie Gras – This is Chef Barbot’s signature dish. It’s foie gras layered with mushroom. There was hazelnut oil and lemon confit to dip the foie gras in. I really enjoyed this dish because of the complex texture of it. The plump texture of the mushrooms with the buttery foie gras was fantastic. In addition, the lemon confit gave it a refreshing flavor to it. The ingredients really gave the dish a very robust flavor.
- Mackerel – This is another signature dish from Chef Barbot. It’s mackerel marinated with miso. It’s served with baby leek and a slice confit lemon. The mackerel was cooked perfectly and had a lot of flavor. The tender texture of the mackerel didn’t have a hint of fishiness in it at all. It was the perfectly cooked mackerel with white meat and a golden seared outer layer.
- Pigeon Liver – This is definitely an acquired taste. It was spread on a cracker and it looked like peanut butter. I was pre-occupied with something and I didn’t hear the details of the dish, so I accidentally ate it. The pigeon liver had a very bitter; I found it extremely unpalatable and unpleasant.
Overall, I really liked L’Astrance and thought it was a lot better than Septime and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. It was one of the better dining experiences I had in Europe but I didn’t think it was on the same level as Arpege. I would definitely recommend L’Astrance if you can’t get into Arpege. I definitely enjoyed the experience.
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- Service - 9/109/10
- Presentation - 8/108/10
- Flavors - 7.5/107.5/10
- Ambiance - 7.5/107.5/10
- Decor - 7.5/107.5/10
As an Arpege alumni, Chef Pascal Barbot definitely has the technique and expertise down. The modern French cuisine, the Michelin 3 star service and the vibrant decor makes a memorable night. In addition, the lax dress code makes it a comfortable and non-stuffy experience. L’Astrance is definitely the next best thing if you can’t get reservations to L’Arpege.