France- L'Astrance- ✪✪✪

PARIS, FRANCE

SERVICE: 9.0/10

FOOD: 8.5/10

PRICE PAID: $184 PP (LIST PRICE- PRE-CHALLENGE)

VALUE/MONEY: 8.5/10

FINAL SCORE: 8.5/10

 Pascal Barbot

Pascal Barbot

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. 


 First Bites- Vegetable Tart 10/10

First Bites- Vegetable Tart 10/10

A tart with layers of foie gras and mushroom appeared first, with cirtus and fruit creme dollops flanking it. A great start. 10/10.

 1st Course: Apple + Mushroom, 8/10

1st Course: Apple + Mushroom, 8/10

 Layers of Mushroom Underneath

Layers of Mushroom Underneath

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.

 2nd Course: Oyster + Flower Salad, 10/10

2nd Course: Oyster + Flower Salad, 10/10

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.

 3rd Course: Mackerel + Dipping Sauce, 10/10

3rd Course: Mackerel + Dipping Sauce, 10/10

 The Dippin' Sauce

The Dippin' Sauce

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.

 4th Course: Veal + Black Truffle, 10/10

4th Course: Veal + Black Truffle, 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.

 5th Course: Duck + Oregano + Cherry, 10/10

5th Course: Duck + Oregano + Cherry, 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.

 6th Course: Cheese Course 8/10

6th Course: Cheese Course 8/10

First cheese course is a beautifully presented flower with melon leaf and red fruit. A ton of goat cheese on the inside. 8/10

 6A: Melon Leaf

6A: Melon Leaf

 6B: Nectarine Cracker

6B: Nectarine Cracker

Next, a "cracker" and nectarine dish. Cracker is fun and full of fruit. Delicious. Nectarine has a sorbet richness. Simple and peachy. 9/10.

 Course 7: Fruit + Sorbet + Egg + Madeleine's, 9/10

Course 7: Fruit + Sorbet + Egg + Madeleine's, 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.

 7B: Sorbet

7B: Sorbet

 7C: Egg Custard

7C: Egg Custard

 7D: Madeleine's

7D: Madeleine's