Letter from Paris: Astair
By Alexander Lobrano
Astair is the newest address of a trio of the French capital’s most innovative restaurateurs–Jean Valfort, Charles Drouhaut and Jean-François Monfort. This team has real gift for delivering restaurants that hit a bull’s eye in terms of what Parisians want to eat right now (Canard et Champagne and Farago are theirs, too), but their signature talent is the sincere and polished hospitality they unfailingly deliver.
Settling in at this good looking dining room with a natty decor by interior designer Tristan Auer that includes terrazzo floors, ox-blood banquettes and bentwood chairs and an art-moderne style cocktail bar in the middle of the room, we immediately liked the lively and very Parisian atmosphere. Then our waiter, a Frenchman who’d lived and worked in Washington, D.C. for many years, was charming and very knowledgeable about the menu. This was a big help, too, since my mind was racing as I tried to decide what to order. Almost everything on the menu sounded appealing, but the real reason for my slightly frantic indecision was that it’s signed by one of my favorite French chefs, Gilles Goujon, who has three Michelin stars at his superb restaurant L’Auberge du Vieux Puits in Fontjoncouse in the Aude … continue
Alexander Lobrano grew up in Connecticut, and lived in Boston, New York and London before moving to Paris, his home today, in 1986. He has written about food and travel for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Saveur, Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler. He is the author of Hungry for Paris: The Ultimate Guide to the City’s 109 Best Restaurants (Random House), which was published in a second edition in 2014, and is a Contributing Editor at Saveur Magazine. His latest book, Hungry for France, was published by Rizzoli in April 2014. Visit his website, www.alexanderlobrano.com (Photo by Steven Rothfeld)