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Old Classic, New Classic


Laidback
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Pharamond has been famous for its Normand Cuisine before Les Halles moved to Rungis. I could never quite force myself to try it until Fresh_a mentioned that there was a change in management and gave it a very good write up. The place does have one of those beautiful interiors that has been deemed historically significant, but wary we were of any place situated next to a Goth shop. I am happy though to report complete satisfaction with their enormous(1 kg.+) cote de boeuf of Normand origin. It was cooked just as I ordered, seared exterior and interior between saignant and bleue.

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Served with fried potatoes, this was a very satisfying, simple meal of well prepared quality ingredients .

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The new classic we returned to for the 7th time is Astrance. We went there the 1st week they opened thanks to a heads up from Catherine Constant and have been back repeatedly until reservations became so difficult about 2 years ago. This trip I walked over mid day with calendar in hand and collared Christophe Rohat. After an absence of more than 2 years he still greeted me by name and asked why it had been so long. I told him that the reservation difficulty level had surpassed my tolerance threshold, but here I was in person with an open calendar and he booked us for lunch 2 weeks later. There is a reason this spot set records for attaining its 1st and again its 3rd Michelin star; it is superb. We ordered the menu surprise for €150 with selected wines, and Christophe reminded us that originally you could get the lunch menu for €27. The decor is the same but the staffing is much improved in number and knowledge. There is now an excellent young sommelier who was with Lucas Carton for 8 yrs. and Pascal Barbot has gone from a brilliant young protege of Passard to a polished virtuoso in the kitchen. I am only going to touch on a few of the many dishes we were served, skipping the amuse bouches which were served with Deutz champagne, entremets, and several desserts. One highlight, served with glasses of Pettental(?) Reisling, was called Nage de Langoustine served with herbs et fleurs de printemps in a consomme of vegetables, ginger and garlic.

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Later came a dish of petit pois with a cappucino of chorizo and an intense cured ham:

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Somewhere about here we were switched to a Herault white wine and were served a rouget filet on top of a bed of cauliflower and broccoli that even the senior Geo. Bush may have liked, enhanced with an emulsion of curry and a side of mango/papaya:

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Another superb dish was called quasi de veau served with mushrooms and fevettes. Instead of the normal red wine I would have ordered, the sommelier paired it with an excellent Meursault.

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In a stab at brevity I will only show 2 of the dessert selections which don't require more than a picture:

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€150 may seem exorbitant, but this included at least 10 different little plates, copious servings of champagne, 3 different wines, coffee and unlimited Chateldon mineral water. My shaken faith in Michelin is partially restored.

Edited by Laidback (log)
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Excellent report of contrasting restaurants. there is no reason that both can't be great despite their totally different styles. That beef looks perfect! I absolutely loved L'Astrance the one opportunity that I have had to dine there. Barbot's platings are indeed beautiful and matched by the flavors held within. Especially by the standards of 3* pricing in Paris, 150 Euros is very reasonable. It is absolutely on my list of restaurants to repeat when next in Paris.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Its truly amazing that my experience with L'Astrance is similar to yours.

I went there the 1st month of their opening.Since then i have been there a few times and each time they remembered me.Also each time i want to go I call and ask for lunch cancelations and end up with a reservation.

I guess the secret is out on how to get in with no advance reservation

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We went there the 1st week they opened
I went there the 1st month of their opening.
It's truly amazing

Everyone knows by now that I'm a grouch, a contrarian and a misanthrope.

Well, what's truly amazing is that I went there the first week it opened and loved it and brought back my food gang during the first month and we had a "train wreck" of a meal.

So my dear friends, Pierre and Laidback, I've got to disagree. Maybe we all six should go together and vote.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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We went there the 1st week they opened
I went there the 1st month of their opening.
It's truly amazing

Everyone knows by now that I'm a grouch, a contrarian and a misanthrope.

Well, what's truly amazing is that I went there the first week it opened and loved it and brought back my food gang during the first month and we had a "train wreck" of a meal.

So my dear friends, Pierre and Laidback, I've got to disagree. Maybe we all six should go together and vote.

As much as I hate joing the curmudgeon camp, I'm strongly behind John. Shortly after its opening, we absoultely loved our November dinner, returned in April for an annoyingly out-of-balance tasting meal. At that point, my husband dug in his heels and told me to find a friend to accompany me if I wanted to return. I will admit that reception was very warm and service beyond reproach on both our visits. It's a shame the plates weren't in keeping. They say it is superb now. However, there are too many other names on my list to worry reservations here.

eGullet member #80.

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Judging from Laidback's photos, it looks like a stunning meal. I went once for lunch a few years ago before they had any stars and it was amazing.

I’m curious to know from those of you who have been since the restaurant opened, how the food has evolved from a 29€ lunch menu to three stars.

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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Some wise elder stated a long time ago: de gustibus est non disputandum. A good example is the bearded e-Gullet Johns two different takes on Ze Kitchen Galleries. Both are experienced gastronomes but one loves it the other hates it.

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Some wise elder stated a long time ago: de gustibus est non disputandum. A good example is the bearded e-Gullet Johns two different takes on Ze Kitchen Galleries. Both are experienced gastronomes but one loves it the other hates it.

Even my fellow-curmudgeon John T would have voiced his displeasure at the India-rubber strips of calamari I was served. My only satisfaction is that a Google search brings my detailed protest up on the first page. Vengeance froide is a delicious dish. :raz:

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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