Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

L'Astrance


StuDudley
 Share

Recommended Posts

Bux, I'm not putting L'Astrance in a class by itself. It just so happens that I could not resist tying together the straying into the area of Fascist buildings and the original topic of the thread. Sometimes I can't avois making conceptual leaps from one seemingly unrelated phenomenon to another; i.e Fascists architecture and modalities of dining. There are some examples of Totalitarian architecture I find interesting and most I don't. Call El Bulli my culinary Soviet Foreign Ministry headquarters. El Bulli is also "sine qua non"; or is it "non pareil"?

Sometimes I would put my myself in the hands of a chef, but they weren't the same hands that were touching everyone else exactly the same way. And what kind of luxury is it to find a chef you would trust implicitly if you have never eaten the chef's food before, a state that characterized my first, only, and last visit to L'Astrance?

Has anyone thought of the possibility that if L'Astrance revokes reservations from concierges, it may depend on who the concierge is or what hotel he works for?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always conisder it a luxury to get to a three star restaurant and if the mood strikes and opportunity arises, I will put myself in the chef's hands. Yes it's a risk and ordering a meal in any restaurant, especially an unfamilar one is a gamble. Like most gamblers, I play the odds and a hunch every now and then.

:biggrin:

I have thought it well "may depend on who the concierge is or what hotel he works for." The same may be said about getting reservations in the first place. Neither all hotels, nor all concierges, are created equal. I don't make extensive use of concierges, but those who do, often go out of their way to cultivate a good relationship with a particular one.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Sorry about jumping into this so late in the game, but here are a few thoughts from my professional perspective:

* The Paris Marriott has a very competent concierge desk. I know all of them personally, and know that they take great pride in their work, and are all people-persons. They *do* have their fair share of whiny spoilt tourists, but always do their best in trying to get reservations. They would not have *sold* the table to another guest, or messed around a reservation in any other way just for the sake of doing so. The only restaurant I know they would never attempt to get a table at is "L'Ami Louis", whom the team detests as being overpriced, full of American tourists, and owned by a major psycho. But, even in this event, they would be happy to call, and pass the client the restaurant...

*Most problems at "L'Astrance" are the fault of the prospective diner, in my experience. The staff is highly competent, and if they're full, well then, they say they're full. They have no interest in angering people. Their job isn't easy, though. This is one of the most consistantly exciting gourmet restaurants in Paris, as well as being one of the smallest, and it's true they don't have a huge reservations team working around the clock... I would suggets sending a fax with a credit card number for all reservations, to be taken more seriously, as they must be getting literally hundreds of calls per day. They can get tired of the colossal workload, like anyone else... imagine neglecting your lunch or dinner clients every two minutes to answer the phone. Christophe and Pascal are also really nice people , and deserve their success...

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

fresh_a -- I am mystified by your response, are you claiming that this is really ellenesk's fault? Did you actually read her original post? I find it strange that your first reaction, cosidering that you work in a service occupation, is to blame the customer. Frankly, I find your descriptions of how concierges function in deluxe Paris hotels so obscure and elliptical that I now have even less confidence as to their actual operation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not responding to ellenesks post directly.

As I said, "In my experience...". I was responding to a very general topic, that of the problem of reservations in restaurants like Astrance, and what I have unfailingly found to be the cause of this sort of problem over the years.

If I respond directly to her post, I will say so. She had an unfortunate experience, which, as cabrales said, might have been a "premature" action on the part of the concierge involved, but then again, i don't know the exact situation...

And concerning the concierge "comment", you obviously don't know the right ones...because there are some excellent, professional, friendly and very straightforward members of our comunity in Paris.

Edited by fresh_a (log)

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

fresh_a, I'm glad you jumped in. For the most part, I share your opinion about the professionalism of of restaurateurs and concierges. I'm particularly inclined to think well of everyone at l'Astrance because we were so well treated when there. Nevertheless, the original poster on this thread received unprofessional service from someone.

I have been planning a trip to Paris for this weekend. One month ago, I contacted the concierge at my hotel(marriott champs elyesses) and requested a table at L'astrance. I reconfirmed me request on the 7th of October. On October 8th I spoke with the concierge who was please to confirm a table for 11/8. Today(11/5) he called to tell me when he reconfirmed the table, Astrance had cancelled it.
I can't see from this report that any fault lies in her behavior. She called the concierge to secure a table for one month ahead and then confirmed and reconfirmed on two successive days that she had her reservation. Almost a month later, just days before she is scheduled to arrive, he calls to say that when he reconfimed the reservation, l'Astrance had cancelled it. Assuming our poster is not lying and why would she, someone screwed up. I can't ask you who that person or organisation is. You don't know and I wouldn't expect you to tell me if you did. I can ask when it's customary for a concierge to confirm a reservation--or how far in advance that call is usually made. It seems to me that I usually reconfirm the day before, but I have checked in to a hotel and had the concierge tell me he's already confirmed my dinner reservation for the next day. So it's not unusual for a concierge to confirm a reservation even when the guest hasn't actually arrived in Paris.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I usually confirm earlier than the day before (e.g., 2 days before), unless the restaurant otherwise specifies.

I am a great procrastinator. I always mark my calendar to confirm two days prior to the reservation, but usually don't get around to actually doing it until the day before the event.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's difficult as well, because most people visiting Paris aren't as knowledgable as us, and don't have the same conception and understanding of gastronomic restaurants as us.

Therefore, perhaps they don't act with the same precautions as might a person accustomed to these establishments.

Also, a lot of people with money think they can do what they want, change their mind at the last minute and cancel restaurants at the last minute at will....

This doesn't translate to respect in the finer dining establishments...

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even well-intentioned, interested diners might have to cancel reservations at the last minute. I'd have to admit that I've done that on occasion when I have held a "backup reservation" in hopes of receiving a last-minute reservation from another restaurant.

In addition, a diner's plans change. I've cancelled two Bocuse lunch reservations at the last minute in the last twelve months. The first time, I missed the TGV from Paris because I couldn't wake up (despite several hotel wake-up calls) and I had another restuarant lined up for dinner the same day and had to get to that other restaurant. The second time, I had such a good time the meal before the intended Bocuse meal that I stayed at that other restaurant. It's ironically the same "other restaurant".

Edited by cabrales (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

cab: All this I understand. But many people just don't understand, don't care, and don't make any effort, and this adds up to what I'm describing. Very few are in your situation, where they really aren't able to make the cancellation until the last minute...

You'd be surprised by how many people don't act seriously...

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

To follow up on David's question, I'm a bit confused. An earlier post indicates that Astrance takes reservations starting at 1530 Paris time; last time I tried (for a reservation in May), I think the time was 0930 Paris time.

Can anyone shed light on when they start taking reservations, and whether it's a month in advance or 30 days?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is a month in advance (i.e., the prior month, with the 'number' from 1-31, as applicable, the same as the targeted reservations date). It is 9:30 *am* Paris time; currently France is 6 hours ahead of EST. So one must wake up at 3:27 am and start calling.

jordyn -- You might wish to consider trying to call a month before the earliest applicable date, so that, if you fail, you can try again on ensuing mornings.

Edited by cabrales (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cabrales is correct - of course - in that it's one month in advance and - not 30 days per se - and starting at 9:30 Paris time - not 15:30. But they do tend to have lunch reservations fairly available at short notice. And just in case you were wondering one cannot use the automatic callback feature that France Telecom offers for busy lines because it's not available on their line.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David: I think I recall hearing that the price is at about 90 Euros for dinner these days. I have no idea where that number in my head is coming from, though.

In other news, I called L'Astrance this morning, and was happy to get through right at 0930 Paris time, only to discover that the restaurant is closed from February 16 through the 26th. So, anyone considering waking up early over the next few days--don't bother.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

. . . the restaurant is closed from February 16 through the 26th. So, anyone considering waking up early over the next few days--don't bother.

Members should be advised that although for dinner reservations you generally have to call exactly one month in advance, it is somewhat easier to get lunch reservations. When I called last week, they had availability for lunch every day the week of Feb. 10th.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Update.

While trying to obtain reservations for friends this morning, I found out a couple of things which might be of interest to the group.

They only start taking reservations at 10am. I believe someone had mentioned 9am in a previous post.

The restaurant will be closed for vacation 1-12 May.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I am going to Paris in 2 weeks. I am now quite intrigued by L'Astrance. If I had a chef from Ducasse call, would that be the best way for me to get a reservation? I do speak french fluently, but I am an "unknow American?" Is it even worth the hassle?

Lauren

"Is there anything here that wasn't brutally slaughtered" Lisa Simpson at a BBQ

"I think that the veal might have died from lonliness"

Homer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...and now they're open only from Monday through Friday

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am going to Paris in 2 weeks. I am now quite intrigued by L'Astrance. If I had a chef from Ducasse call, would that be the best way for me to get a reservation? I do speak french fluently, but I am an "unknow American?" Is it even worth the hassle?

Lauren

Other issues are involved. Is he chef, sous chef, or line cook, etc. and can he call in the name of the restaurant or in Alain Ducasse's name? In which Ducasse restaurant is he a chef? Might he know the chef at l'Astrance? There's an old boy network and these guys cross paths in other kitchens on the way up. It's certainly possible that the chef can succeed where you might not, but there's no guarantee. Where he might have been able to help best is before the restaurant is fully reserved. I suspect two weeks notice is not good enough. Worth is a relative thing. It's hard for me to assess your interest in this restaurant and I have no idea how much of a hassle it would be to have the chef call for you. I suspect he can give you an idea of his chances or lack thereof, better than any of us can.

For all that, my best guess on limited information is that you might be wasting a contact at this late date. Parisian restaurants rarely get no shows, but they do get late cancellations. You might consider asking to be placed on a wait list and call the daybefore or the day you are free to dine there.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...

I am trying to book L'astrance for December 2003, but apparently it is closed for remodelling at present - does anyone know when it is due to re-open? It seems impossible to contact them at the moment

thanks!

Scott

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...