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Jun 15, 2012 09:42 AM

Did anyone actually have the 70€ lunch menu at l'Astrance ?

Hello all,

Last year for my birthday I decided I would take the leap and go to my very first 3 Michelin Stars restaurant. I went to Pierre Gagnaire and loved it (Chowhound review : - ChezFood review (in french, with a few pics) :
This year, unfortunately the finances won't allow me to go for a 250+€ meal, but my taste buds are begging for it anyway... Tadaaa here comes the lunch deal !
I understand the consensus around here is that the best lunch deals are at Guy Savoy and Le Cinq, but L'Astrance is really on my radar for so long it actually left a burn mark on my radar screen.

Enough with the intro.

I've seen a bunch of reviews here and elsewhere indicating that the 70€ lunch menu is a bit poor food-wise, that the quantities are very small etc... But at the same time, all the aforementioned reviewers had the 240€ surprise menu. So I'm thinking, maybe they imagine the portions would be small because their portions were small, but wouldn't a chef give you bigger portions if you get 3 rather than 7 or 9 dishes ?
So my question is this, has anyone actually seen how much food the 70€ deal has ?

Thanks for the input.

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  1. Yessir. It really is just fewer plates, same food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: souphie

      Thanks for the answer... and bummer... maybe I'll still try to get a reservation and order the "middle" menu.

    2. One man's opinion, but l was not happy there in any and every way.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        I tried to search for a post about l'Astrance you wrote, but didn't find any... could you please tell me a bit more ? What didn't you like there ? And why ? And most importantly do you usually like restaurants that could be compared to Astrance (modern, or even modernist), or is it the overall style that you dislike or find pretentious ?
        Thanks for your help.

        1. re: Rio Yeti

          l was there with uhockey and let him write his always well executed review, go to Alinea was one of my favorite meals along with Degustation in Prague which are both quite molecular in style and scope. l have been to El Bulli three times and loved everything about it, granted two of the times were before Adria became a household word.Here is another uhockey post when l was with him, that also demonstrates my interest in modern cuisine as shown by Per Se.. In Paris of that style thus far am happiest at Rino and Saturne, neither molecular but certainly very modern. l just found L'Astrance to be lacking in interest, both in the ingredients used and the way they were prepared, in a word boring. In Philadelphia there is a resto named Farm and the Fisherman where very fresh ingredients are served very simply, this place for me is perfect, although the dishes are simple they are loaded with natural flavors thus appealing. Others call F&F boring so who knows, you pays your money and takes your chances.

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            Thanks for your reply. I did read uhockey's review (but didn't realize you were the other diner). The second link sends to a page about "NYC Hounds in DC!", I'm not sure that what you intended.

            It's really hard to decide, I trust your opinion, but I am still deeply fascinated by modernist cuisine and feel l'Astrance is the closest to that in Paris. I am also considering Le Cinq, but to be honest I'm just considering it based on all the great reviews (except for that recent one), but a "palace" atmosphere, even if the waitstaff makes you feel comfortable, isn't really the type of places that attracts me.

            Thanks again anyway, if I end up going to l'Astrance, at least you warned me.

            1. re: Rio Yeti

              Sorry, it should have been That was the meal at Per Se. Go to L'Astrance, what the hell, try it, we all do this stuff for the experience, enjoy it. l will be back at Le Cinq this coming Saturday so l can see if has gone downhill.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Considering how hard it is to get a reservation, and I can only go for lunch on one particular day, I'll let faith decide (not that I believe in faith...) So if I get it, I'll go, if not... well I won't. ;)

                If I don't get the reservation I'll wait for your opinion on Le Cinq saturday, to decide what plan B is.

              2. re: Rio Yeti

                If I were you, I would have dinner at Agape Substance. It's quite brilliant.

                1. re: Nancy S.

                  Agapé Substance is definitely on my list, so is Passage 53.

                  But since I have only one date available for lunch this year, I thought I'd give a shot at a 3* "lunch deal".
                  Maybe it's silly to think that way, especially since the expensive menu at Agapé is 99 euros, so it would still be a splurge meal.

                  But thanks for your opinion, I'll consider the option.

                  1. re: Rio Yeti

                    The 99 euro menu at Agape Substance is a "relatively" amazing deal.

                    1. re: Nancy S.

                      I had the lunch there a few years back and I enjoyed it a lot. Of course, I guess it depends on what you're looking for. They certainly do practice modernist techniques but it's not as futuristic as some other places. As for my own tastes, I loved El Bulli and Arzak - I thought they used modernist cooking as a big step in the right direction where the qualities of the ingredients are enhanced. However, I wasn't into WD-50 since I felt the original qualities of the ingredients were sacrificed.

                      As for quantity, I was pretty stuffed after my meal. Guess it also depends on how big of an appetite you have.

                      At the time of my meal I thought it was clever how each proceeding dish contained a reminder (an ingredient, a flavor, a presentation) of the dish that had come before. It reminded me of the experience of seeing a jazz performance where the players "quote" a previous song in a similar manner...or likewise like a DJ set where one track is beat-matched into the next...but if to you that sounds like a silly reason to enjoy a meal, then feel free to disregard :p

                      1. re: waxyjax

                        Actually, comparing a meal to a jazz set is probably the best argument I've read so far, so no I don't find that silly at all !

                        1. re: Rio Yeti

                          ha - awesome. looking forward to hearing your take on the meal then :)

        2. I love L'Astrance. The 70 euro menu is a nice lunch; the 120 euro menu is generally comprised of 2 more courses and is more substantial. L'Agape Substance is fantastic, but is a totally different type of experience; try to go to both if you can. If you can get a table at L'Astrance, and you have never been, you should go; get the 120 euro menu if you can, if not, the 70 euro will suffice.

          1 Reply
          1. re: fishskis

            Thanks for that, I'll make the phone call today. It will either be yes or no, so I will know pretty fast.

          2. Well, well... they're already full until their summer break... so that's that.

            Back to choosing where I'll have lunch.

            Wherever I end up going, Chowhound's getting a review of course.

            1. I second the L'Agape Substance suggestion. Be aware though, you will probably be seated at the communal table; but to me, it is really more of a chef's table as you are almost in the kitchen watching the chef and people work.

              4 Replies
              1. re: fishskis

                We always reserve the little table for two next to the pass.

                1. re: Nancy S.

                  If I go there, I will ask for this table. I have nothing against communal tables if I were to go with friends, but I'm aiming at something slightly more intimate.

                  But I'm still waiting for DCM's comment on Le Cinq, this weekend, before making a decision. ;)

                  1. re: Rio Yeti

                    Hi there,
                    Rio, i would like to find out where you went in the end and what it was like.
                    I am to going to book a table for lunch at L'Astrance, i am taking my fiance there for his 30th.
                    However i also want to visit somewhere slightly cheaper for dinner.
                    I looked at L'Agape Substance however not sure i like the look of the layout of the restaurant. I would like somwhere slightly more intimate too.
                    I was looking at Le Restaurant in L'Hotel. From reviews this looks good.
                    Could you please give me some advice on a nice place to visit for dinner.

                    1. re: ccivelek

                      Hello Jan,

                      I ended up going to Le Cinq (review here : ).

                      I never went to l'Astrance, and would say that it's slightly fallen of my top list for places to go, however Agape Substance is still very well ranked on that list, and although I've never been, I'm pretty sure based on some reviews on this board you would have a great meal there.
                      For something more intimate, La Table d'Eugène could be a good choice, it is smaller and still has some modern edge to some dishes (although not as much as Agape Substance).