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L'Astrance


StuDudley
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I'm not an expert on procuring reservations at L'Astrance, but I called this past February about two months before I wanted a reservation (and not at 10:00 Paris time or whenever it is they start taking reservations) and was able to get a reservation for lunch. I think it's possible I could have had a dinner reservations, but not sure, my French is not so good. And I certainly had no special connection, so I don't know why they would have told you one month.

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You ask eGulletters. Thing is, some places do a great work with wine pairing: when that happens, the dish and the wine both take a whole new dimension from their encounter. That was the case at l'Astrance, where several dishes were transfigured by the wine.

To be fair, it only rarely happens, and mostly with Senderens and Senderens' disciples (the sommelier at l'Astrance is former Lucas Carton, and of course Barbot is a Passard guy who is -was- a Senderens guy -- though wine/course pairing at l'Arpège starts with both being ridiculously expensive). It is all the more admirable at l'Astrance since dishes change very often and, unlike Senderens, the chef does not design the dishes seeking the wine pairing but lets it up to the sommelier to find out the good wine once he came up with a new dish.

Actually, we could start a topic: apart from l'Astrance and Senderens, what are the places that offers really exceptional wine pairing? I'm guessing there's gonna be mention of Il Vino, though from what I read, they seem to have a very rustic approach to pairing, and mostly put wines first, rather than looking for the magical pairing. Some places have great wine, some great food, some both -- but the pairing?

Also, There is a 120/190 menu at l'Astrance too, the 5 course menu. (the 190/290 is 8 course, lunch is 3 course and 70/110). My pics from that meal: http://picasaweb.google.fr/jultort/LAstrance28Mars2008

Edited by julot-les-pinceaux (log)
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Hi tupac,

Why is it essential to have wine-pairing here?

Generally speaking, how do you decide whether or not it's necessary to have wine-pairing when you dine at 2-3 star places?

Thanks

Honestly, for me this was just a case of dumb luck. I hadn't heard anything good or bad about the wine program at L'Astrance; and at first we were ambivalent about doing the full pairing, considering the previous night's excesses. But I think Julien had it right when he said that both the dish and the wine take on a whole new dimension together. There were many wines I did not like on their own. And likewise many such dishes. But I'm not sure I've had a wine pairing quite so good before. I was very impressed.

BTW, great photos Julien. And good call with the second round of pork belly!

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Thanks for the reply

How about another famous wine-pairing at Paris ... Le Meurice? Is it essential as well? I agree that Senderens is the master of wine pairing, but L'Arpege does not seem so despite the fact that Passard is another Senderens disciple. If it does, I think it will be too scary pricewise

Julot, thanks for sharing great pictures at L'Astrance

In your blog, you said that you don't really like L'Astrance or Les Ambassadeurs, but why do you keep coming back to these restaurants? Whereas, the place you like such as L'Ambroisie or L'Arpege ... I hardly see any reports from you

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Haha, Bu Pun Su, you got me. l'Arpège or l'Ambroisie are a bit expensive, but I sure hope to go back soon. Especially l'Ambroisie. But you know I am not sure how much I really like those restaurants. I am only certain that they make the best possible food. For l'Arpège, I am pretty sure that I dislike the place, its poor setting and its atomic prices.

For les Ambassadeurs and l'Astrance, they were exploratory trips with other bloggers. Also, since you mention it, after my first l'Astrance review where I said that I did not want to go back, they told me that they hoped I would -- and I fell for that. And, while this is not my cup of tea, I think that l'Astrance is even better now than last year, more focused, more efficient, and great wine pairing.

For the wine-pairing issue... we should really start that topic. I thought John would have done it by ,now ;-)

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I’m a little stressed out about my reservation at L’Astrance for lunch tomorrow. I had planned on calling to confirm a day ahead (that is, today), but I had forgotten that L’Astrance is closed on Monday. When I originally made my reservation, I had hotel reservations at a different hotel than I eventually settled upon, so L’Astrance also doesn’t have my correct hotel info. Is there any chance they will call that wrong hotel tomorrow and then cancel my reservation since I'm not there, or am I likely to be safe if I call to confirm pretty much right at 10:00? If I send a fax today, will they get that before I call tomorrow? I'd appreciate any insight or your best educated guess. Thanks!

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I’m a little stressed out about my reservation at L’Astrance for lunch tomorrow.  I had planned on calling to confirm a day ahead (that is, today), but I had forgotten that L’Astrance is closed on Monday.  When I originally made my reservation, I had hotel reservations at a different hotel than I eventually settled upon, so L’Astrance also doesn’t have my correct hotel info.  Is there any chance they will call that wrong hotel tomorrow and then cancel my reservation since I'm not there, or am I likely to be safe if I call to confirm pretty much right at 10:00?  If I send a fax today, will they get that before I call tomorrow?  I'd appreciate any insight or your best educated guess.  Thanks!

Holly although I haven't dealt with the place for years, I'd do both - fax and tele.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Sounds like the safest bet to me too. Or do they have an answering machine? Unless they explicitly told you they'd be getting in touch at your hotel to re-confirm, I wouldn't worry too much...but a fax and a call can't hurt.

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Well, that was a fabulous meal! A really lovely evening of elegant, well-thought, delicious food, well-worth the journey half-way round the world; as per my comment in a previous post, this was certainly a meal I had to come to Paris to eat. My compliments to Barbot and staff a job very well done.

Ambiance: A small, pleasant modern room, comfortable if not visually exciting. We ate at one of the two tables on the upstairs balcony, which I liked very much.

Service: Lovely. Of the standard one would expect from a restaurant of this caliber, with a little informality and friendliness that added to its charm. To me, close to perfect service.

Food: Had the menu surprise with the wine pairings. They did not have a printed copy of the menu, so hard at this point to remember everything we had, but the foie gras tart, a simple plate of mixed Brittany shellfish, and a suburb Bresse chicken stick in my mind. All the flavors in each dish were clear and distinct, and harmonized beautifully, one right after another, straight through to the deserts. No dish failed, or even came close. We were all struck by the light touch, at no point was there something cloying or sweet (in contrast to Senderons). Every dish was simply delicious, a testament to what high-end cooking should be. It certainly passed my test of a great meal: as I walked out the door, I was already thinking of when I could return.

Also, I would be remiss if I did not compliment the wine pairings. All excellent wines that perfectly complemented the food, The clear standout, though, was a Domaine Prieure Roch 2001 Vosne-Romnee Les Suchots. Unbelievable nose; one of those wines you just want to keep sniffing. I was generously poured an extra glass of this exceptional wine.

A winner!

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  • 1 month later...

I know others have asked, but the details remain sketchy to me: how far out in advance to do I need to call for a dinner reservation? I have a three-day window of availablity in Paris.

Please tell me this isn't going to be as insane of a gamble as, say, momofuku ko or minibar.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Great, along with trying to jump through hoops to get into The Fat Duck, I have to hurdle tall reservations in single bounds for L'Astrance. Ay. The two months before I go to Europe is going to be one hellish ride.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I thought the worst was Le Comptoir.  We called in February.  They were booked until October...

Also I'm pretty sure we booked L'Astrance two months out.

Comptoir is only the worst food. :raz:

And maybe the l'Astrance rule is one month, or two, I don't remember. To me, the mere fact that I have to fight to get a table somewhere is reason enough not to go. There are plenty of other good restaurants -- to my taste, many are way better anyway.

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When I'm looking for a hard-to-book table, I just call and ask what their policy is, i.e., two weeks, one month to the day, two months to the day, roughly a month, etc. Then I call back in their timeframe when I have a date in mind. Sure, it doesn't get me in that evening or the next day or weekend, but for those few restaurants where this is necessary, it isn't a big deal.

eGullet member #80.

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  • 2 months later...
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