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Guy Savoy-Wonderful/L'Astrance-Weak

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.)
Water Grill
(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
French Laundry
Chex Panisse
Gary Danko
(This place rules for food and great service, can do for 1/2 price of Astrance)

In New Orleans
Dante's Kitchen
(1/3 the price and way superior food as far as taste)
Restaurant August
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.

May 31, 2008
sunsetlocal in France

Guy Savoy-Wonderful/L'Astrance-Weak

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.


May 30, 2008
sunsetlocal in France

Craft: Is it worth it?

The place is just not that special. The pork belly, octopus, spagetti and angliotti were all pretty good dishes but just not that memorable. There is a ton of competition at the $250 for 2 dinner level and while this is a very servicable place I can come up with probably 10 other places that I will go back to before returning here. Its really pretty good, its just there are lots of places that are better. On reflection, might go back for drinks. The bar area is pretty cool inside/out space and while we stuck with wine, the cocktails did at least look appealing. Could see some value for 2 rounds of drinks at $50 or so vs dinner.

Aug 11, 2007
sunsetlocal in Los Angeles Area

Opus 6 Course Tasting Menu

For $60 this is quite the deal. Depends on the mood of the chef, but for us:

Hamachi with Gooeduck Clam and Avocado Sorbet
Corn soup with crab and fried soft shell crab w/ pickled beet
Short Ribs and John Dory
Beef Cheek and Duck Breast
Lamb Leg slice with Gnocchi and spinach
Pana Cotta with Brickle and Tres Leches Ice Cream

Quite the deal. Excellent flavors and nice portion size. Clean presentation and some interesting contrasts..cumin sugar sauce with dessert. Dress code from shorts to slacks. Good eating.

Aug 05, 2006
sunsetlocal in Los Angeles Area

Social Hollywood

This is clearly a spot that hopes to attract the hipsters, but surprisingly the dining experience had some promise. The space is interesting with lots of screens and good basic bones to the architecture. Servers (and a captain for goodness sakes) make an effort to enhance your evening, with perhaps a little more patter and staffing than is necessary. Appetizers (the sweetbreads and the salmon napoleon) were tasty but a bit on the small size. Salting was borderline too much, as with the mains, but the flavors were intense. Entrees on the other hand are huge. The duck breast with confit of duck leg and the loop du mer in grape leaves were each a meal in themselves. For us, the Moroccan inspired spicing was perhaps a little over the top, but the quality of the basic ingredients was quite acceptable. Too much food to sample either the cheese plate (all Cal) or desserts. Service is still working out the kinks. They actually have a stand for your purse (should this be your accessory of choice) but in our case it did not appear until half way through the service. The Capitan actually encouraged us to go with the Pouilly Fuisse at $60 instead of the Chateau Montelena at $90 which to me is a good sign. Lately was too many "Hollywood Sommeliers" have tried to up-sell me to wine twice what I suggested, so perhaps this should not be a positive, but an expectation. In any event would probably go back, at least to check out the bar to your right which had a sort of cool red/black vibe going on. Good hunting.

Jun 30, 2006
sunsetlocal in Los Angeles Area