L'Astrance or Ledoyen for lunch?
I wanted to have a 3-star lunch while in Paris and I narrowed it down to L'Astrance and Ledoyen -L' Arpege is not included due to price:(. I realize that there are many posts on this, but as most of us know, chefs and restaurants change! What I appreciate most is authenticity, ingredients, and skill. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Well, those two restaurants don't change much, but they are very different. First the settings are opposite -- L'Astrance is small, not luxurious, contemporary, new and discreet. Ledoyen is luxurious, feels old and used, spectacular, large.
Le Squer and Barbot are both exceptional chefs, but Barbot does a few small plates that tend to change every day depending on the market and his mood, based on the minialistic techniques of Passard and a constant look for unexpected pairings in the plate. Speaking of which, L'Astrance does very great and very interesting wine pairings. LeSquer on the contrary has a much more traditional approach, emphasises the ingredients much more, and is constantly looking for perfection. Dishes are geometric (square - le squer, I just realised the assonance) and pure, and very finely tuned and balanced.
So I'm not sure what you mean by authentic, but both are great chefs, following their own way, using great ingredients (Ledoyen probably has the better and more spectacular ones on average, but Barbot has a market-based approach, he only buys what he likes that day) and spectacular skills in both cases.
Your remark about l'Arpège suggests hat you're going for lunch prixfixes. As you'll see in my pictures and elsewhere, a three course meal at l'Astrance is a seriously frugal one. By comparison, there is easily twice as much food in a lunch deal at Ledoyen. I'd say Ledoyen does more food, l'Astrance more... painting. In me personal opinion, l'Astrance is more original, but Ledoyen has better food.
Pics from l'Astrance:
Pics from Ledoyen:
I just got back from France (sigh) and here are the places I went in Paris for lunch and dinner:
Ledoyen for lunch was impeccable, particularly, the main dish which was a cod.
For street food, I always get crepes on Rue Mouffetard (the Greek stand), and go to L'As du fallafel but it seems that the fallafels' magic had gone? Have they changed or is it me? I had the lunch menu at L'Avant Gout (carrot soup and poulet) which was good but did not incline me to return. At Bistrot Paul Bert, the entrecote was cooked to perfection but maybe not the best source of meat? L'Ange Gardien had an enjoyable cut of lomo, but not prepared as well, they also had some very good interesting appetizers (lentils w/ fois gras and crayfish w/ white celery - both served cold). Chez Robert et Louise was lively and enjoyable, but we made the mistake of ordering the cote de boeuf for three, which I was told is not as a desirable as the cut for two.
L'ami Jean and La Regalade were my favorites. Whereas, Le Baratin was my biggest disappointment... probably due to my main's seasoning (the capon) resembling a weaker version of a Bangdaleshi restaurant that I frequent and the puddings texture being too soupy.
In Alsace, we had a perfect Christmas lunch at Auberge D'Ille and some of the best fois gras at Wistub du Sommelier. In Strasbourg,we went to two traditional winstubs: Le Clou (quaint, really good choucroute and bratwurst) and Le Strissel (one of the only places open on Christmas Eve - need I say more).
For my next trip, I will definitely want to return to La Regalade and L'Ami Jean and will need to try L'Astrance.