It is safe to say that L'Astrance has been my favorite meal of my informal, condensed, tour of San Pelligrino's best restaurants in the world.
My trip to Paris was short-ish, so the goal was to squeeze in as many lunches and dinners as we could.
Before booking L'Astrance, I didn't know much about the chef, Pascal Barbot. Chef Barbot used to work at L'Aperge (another one on my list - for next time), and has been at the helm of his own restaurant since 2000, earning three michelin stars in 2007.
While at Noma, one of my dining companions told me she had gone to L'Astrance for her 16th birthday, and they brought out a course and asked her to guess what it was. I was ready and waiting to see what they would make us guess!
We had a lunch reservation, and it was a perfect fall day, so we strolled from our hotel to the restaurant. Once we arrived, we were quickly seated at the center table. The servers asked if we wanted any cocktails to start and sent out our first dish, mushroom with green apples.
The waiter handed me a menu. I turned to Nathan and said "how do we know how much it is?". Nathan looked at me incredulously and said "the price is listed on the side!" I showed him my menu - sans prix! Only his menu had the prices of each item listed in it. Why, how chivalrous of you, L'Astrance! I already knew this place was going to be my favorite.
Now, prepare yourself for a journey through the best meal I had in Paris!
Well, we had gotten to dessert and no one asked to guess what we were eating. Until our server brought out some dessert!
We sampled a small bite and both agreed that our dessert was something custardy, probably with 12 egg yolks.
No, we were wrong. The dessert in question was actually...mashed potatoes. Wow, what a feat! Our mashed potatoes tasted more like an egg-y creme brulee with vanilla beans.
Our final mignardises: madelines, an egg-nog style custard, and fruit.
Overall: I'm at a loss for words to describe this incredible experience. While I said above that this was the best restaurant in my month long San Pelligrino World's Best tour, this one ranks high up there as one of the top fancy* meals I have ever had! While it didn't have the "spectacle" I saw at Alinea, and it didn't have the claim to fame as being the world's best, L'Astrance that did a terrific job of serving us dishes that were a creative blend of traditional French cuisine paired with some outside (usually Asian) influence. Do not miss it next time you are in Paree!
4 Rue Beethoven
Paris, France 75116
+33 1 40 50 84 40
Call to make reservations. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, but closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday
*Indicates a restaurant that has multiple courses and wine pairings, features waiters ironing tablecloth and napkins, and is ideally saved for special-ish occasions