L’Astrance

I feel I made a huge mistake in the way I ordered at L’Astrance in that I ordered the dejeuner [lunch] menu instead of the full Surprise menu. Other tables who had ordered the surprise menu were getting the mushroom/foie dish that I loved the last time as a first course. Instead the dejeuner menu started with a scallop dish. Of course, I begged for the foie millefeuille, but they would not do the dish we wanted because they felt it would destroy the balance of the menu. They did have a surprise for us later.

Beautiful flowers on the table set the scene.


Amuse #1 – A thick slice of brioche with butter and Parmesan fondant.

Amuse #2:

Cauliflower mousse with mustard yogurt and spicy milk flavored with a Spanish spice…very nice.

1st course:

Scallops in a vegetable consommé with edible flowers, carrots and herbs. This was a delicious, subtle, balanced and all together a perfect dish.  Even John the hot scallop hater liked the dish once he decided to treat the scallops like matzoh balls and cut them up in tiny pieces.  He fooled himself into liking a hot scallop dish–oh the power of his weak mind!

2nd course:

Caramelized cod, cockles in the shell with green and white asparagus, olive oil, sweet pepper and cumin.  What I love about Chef Barbot’s cuisine is his less is more approach, especially after the Gagnaire mish-mash more is more approach the night before.  Barbot allows each of his ingredients to shine. There are no muddled flavors.


3rd course:

Christophe knew that I was very unhappy that I did not order the larger menu and missed out on the foie millefeuille. He more than made up for it with this dish.  It was created at the moment and supposedly had never been served before…it was delicious.

Pan -fried foie gras with white beans and a deep fried lettuce leaf.  There is no way to convey how perfect a match this was…the beans added perfect accompanying flavor to the perfectly cooked foie…it was spectacular.

4th course:

We were given sharp knives.  We knew meat was coming.   We asked if we should have a couple of glasses of red wine to go with the meat.  They assured us that the very good Chabis we had ordered would go just fine.

Veal with salsify and veal jus.  This was the weakest dish of the meal.  It was just a hunk of meat.  We think if we had ordered red wine, they would have come up with a more significant and more flavorful meat dish.

L’Astrance is big on pairing of wine and food; what you are drinking dictates your menu.

Desserts:

1. lemon grass/pepper sorbet–quite hot and it certainly woke up the palate.


2. coffee sorbet


3. sabayon with a swirl of chocolate


4. molded coffee mousse


Wine:

2004 Chablis [John can't find his note on who the wine maker was].

The wine worked very well for the first courses.  We should have ordered at least a ½ bottle of red or better yet have gone with the wine pairing.

Summary:

The first time we went to L’Astrance some years ago it was a very “hot” 2 star and a very hard reservation because there are very few seats.  It is now 3 stars and even more difficult to get a reservation. The first time all John wanted to do was get out of there.  The food was really idiosyncratic and difficult to understand. We went back in 2006 after they received the 3rd star…I had to push John very hard to have lunch there.  We both loved it. In spite of my misguided ordering, we absolutely enjoyed this lunch.


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