Update: in the 2019 Michelin guidebook, L’Astrance lost their third star after 11 years on top. Three 3-stars lost their coveted third in the 2019 book, causing quite a stir. I expect L’Astrance will be back!
PRICE PAID: $184 PP (LIST PRICE- PRE-CHALLENGE)
FINAL SCORE: 8.5/10
Pascal Barbot is an up-and-coming culinary all-star. His tiny 25-seat restaurant, tucked under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, is a beautiful statement in modern French style. Service was almost coffee-bar casual at certain points, which was actually a hugely welcome change from some of the more formal Parisian 3-star neighbors.
A tart with layers of foie gras and mushroom appeared first, with cirtus and fruit creme dollops flanking it. A great start. 10/10.
Next came thinly sliced apple and mushroom tart. Lots of work! Layers of soft mushroom and crunchier apple work well together. Enjoyable and interesting course. 8/10.
Oysters with a salad that brimming with bright flowers. A stunningly beautiful presentation. Small leaves have an almost coconutty, tropical flavor. Amazing dish. I can't quite place the taste of the small round baked guy; doesn't matter, it's delicious. 10/10.
Mackerel with a big ol' dipping sauce. This is easily the best mackerel grillé I've ever had. Underneath is a base of extremely soft material- tastes like mozzarella. Flavor is woody and smoky, the seeds on top have a great crunch. Love this dish. 10/10.
The main act is this dish of veal and black truffle. Super soft and delicious. A deep, dark, forest floor-y dish, in a good way. 10/10.
As a follow-up main, duck with oregano and cherries. Oregano sets the Cherries and duck off perfectly. A hint of salt. Duck-and-cherry pairings are traditional and a bit predictable in French cuisine, but this one sets a new, high bar. 10/10. Inside the cherries is an almond oregano mixture.
First cheese course is a beautifully presented flower with melon leaf and red fruit. A ton of goat cheese on the inside. 8/10
Next, a "cracker" and nectarine dish. Cracker is fun and full of fruit. Delicious. Nectarine has a sorbet richness. Simple and peachy. 9/10.
Final round of dessert is fruit, sorbet, egg custard, and Madeleine's. The fruit is fresh and delicious. I haven't seen stuff this fresh anywhere in Paris.