Had the 100e lunch at Guy Savoy and must say that it was as advertised. The lunch ends up being quite a bit more than 200e if you pick a modest wine from the menu but the level of service and food is fantastic. In particular the artichoke soup and the 42 day trio of lamb were a delight. Great cheese presentation too, although not part of 100e lunch.
L'Astrance on the other hand was the most over-priced and mediocre experience that we have had in 35 years of fine dining. To pay $960 for dinner and wine at this place is a joke. There is no way that this is a 3 star facility, there are at least 10 restaurants in Los Angeles (my home turf) with more creative and innovative cuisine at 1/4 to 1/2 the price. They offer you 1 type of bread and butter, at Savoy you pick from about 5 choices of bread (at lunch) plus two types of butter. They used Yuza as a flavor condiment in both and entree and as a gelee in a dessert and acted as if this was the most innovative thing in the world This ingredient has been around forever, and you certainly don't need to use it as an accent twice. The fish course was a dainty slice of sea bass (skin not crisp, while at Savoy the sea bass skin on my entree I can still taste here at my computer 3 days later) one piece of green and once piece of white asparagus, a bit of lemon confit, a grapefruit supreme, and a pinky of a sauce I do not recall. Why do I not recall it? Because it had absolutely nothing to do with the dish and did zip for the flavors. The lamb entree was two chops of a quality that I could obtain from 5 butchers in LA one (1) small carrot no better than what you can get at the Hollywood Farmers market (overcooked) a few other vegetables and a cocoa based dab of sauce. Boring. The 42 day lamb at Buy Savoy was 3 EACH of the most delicate loins, chops and shoulders that you could imagine, so far superior to what Astrance offered. Part of the problem of course was that we were stuck in Siberia in the second floor while the host, all the captains and most of the servers were on the 1st etage. Above our table was a Halogen light that created an environment somewhat similar to that of a heat lamp. After stewing for a bit we finally got a server to adjust it a bit so it was not right on top of us. When the host showed up 20 minutes or so later, I mentioned the light to him and he said OH YEAH' I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT CHANGING TO A LOWER WATT BULB! WHAT? THINKING ABOUT IT? THIS IS THE PERSON RUNNING THE FRONT ROOM?
Ok, enough of my rant. I'm not sure this makes me feel any better (or that that is the point of this message board), its just that we only get to Paris every 5 or 10 years and I wasted my 3 star dinner on this joint in 2008. Good hunting to you all, and enjoy Paris; it is a great spot. Just my final 5 cents, go to Guy Savoy and not L'Astrance or Astrance or whatever it is.
Interesting. I actually liked being upstairs.
But in any case, thanks for the report!
And I'd love to hear about those 10 restaurants. Aside from Urasawa and Providence, I'm honesly not sure where else I should look for the best LA has to offer. (It's been a few years for me, but another trip is in the works.)
Restaurants I've been to that I like:
(Way less money and much more creative)
(This was over-priced too, but at least it was an experience worth doing once.)
(Factory like service yes if you are not a regular, but a ton of different and interesting stuff in tasting menu with top quality ingredients)
(Certainly not 3 star, but the Omakase is like $55 or so and food is very creative)
The Hungry Cat
(Can be a little precious, but the egg cooked in ash and the "caviar dessert"--nothing as creative and different as that was served to us at Astrance)
In Bay Area
(This place rules for food and great service, can do for 1/2 price of Astrance)
In New Orleans
(1/3 the price and way superior food as far as taste)
Cochon De Lait Poor Boy and lots of other booths at Jazz Fest
(OK, now I'm out of control, but as far as the food itself, better)
These of course places are not all 3 star. but the food for sure and in my case at least the service was superior. Good luck out there.
Sorry to hear about your L'Astrance experience as well. We just got back and had a phenomenal! meal there. On the butter front, from my experience and understanding of French culture, you are almost never served butter with bread at lunch or dinner, only breakfast. Bread and butter is more of an American menu item so I wouldn't dock them too much on that. I was somewhat jealous of the patrons up on the second floor, it seemed more exclusive. The grass is always greener I guess.
We ate at L'Astrance in 2006, before it got its third star and loved it. Sorry you were disappointed – and grateful for the feedback because we were intending to go back, early next year. Will have to keep our eyes on the Board to see if your experience of the place is shared by others.