I am interested in any thoughts reader's may have about L'Astrance? Is it worthy of the hype?
My companion and I ate at L'Astrance in the fall of 2005 and by all accounts it remains one of the hottest places in town--and deservedly so! We ordered the 150 Euro tasting menu and ordered wine by the glass. According to my journal, the meal was as follows:
Parmesan french toast w/ black truffle
Smashed cod w/juniper and lime
Avocado and crab ravioli (the signature dish: tasty, but it didn't knock my socks off)
Scallop in miso broth and green radish dressing, served with a clam and tasty pieces of ? (journal illegible!)
Whitefish accompanied by a sauce(orange juice? tomato?)on the side containing bits of shellfish; cabbage w/ wheat berries and two kinds of foam.
Shrimps with onion, caper, red pepper and 'peanut butter'(i.e. smashed peanut)
Turbot w/ morels and 'weird' spinach blob (puree?)
White and green asparagus in Belgian biscuit ('Spicuous') sauce; cinnamon and coffee 'blob' on side
Three purees: Potato and truffle, watercress and truffle, parmesan
Chicken thigh, w/ crackly-crisp skin and chocolate-pepper stripe; eggplant (side dish)
Pepper sorbet and lemongrass (in shot glass)
Macaroon with almond cream; apple tatin, apple slices
Eggnog in eggshell (the Passard influence--the chef apprenticed under him)
The usual assortment of after-dinner confections.
So, the fussiness quotient is definitely there. I was skeptical at first but the meal improved as it went along and by the end, I was delighted. It was a spectacular meal and a wonderful way to round off our stay in Paris.
PS. We were seated in the balcony. At first, I thought we were being given the Parisian cold shoulder and being balkanized but the view gave us a wonderful vantage point and it proved wonderful theatre.
Hope this helps!