L’Atelier Etoile de Joël Robuchon Paris

If you've read my other France posts from these months, you now realize it is quite possible to eat at Michelin starred restaurants without breaking the bank (most of my tips are here). The key is having a place with a kitchen to save on breakfast & dinner so that you can take advantage of some amazing lunch deals. Lucky for me (and you) Joël Robuchon's Etoile (located steps away from L'Arc de Triomphe), but a little hard to find. In order to get there, you must go around the corner to the restaurant entrance (it is not "actually" on the Champs Elysees or enter through the gourmet store that is housed above the restaurant.

Once we entered we were in for a surprise. The restaurant felt comfortably informal. Nobody offered to take my coat, which was a slight annoyance, but I simply put it on the back of my chair. The restaurant has a 1980's black and red lacquer feel. Somewhat of an Asian aesthetic. I would describe the decor and ambiance as fun.

We took a seat at the bar and glanced at the menu. Since we were there for lunch, there were some great lunch offers (again, for me value is derived by the quality of the food, not the price):

Menu 41 € (my choice)

Amuse Bouche (a teaser)
1 Entree a Choix (appetizer of your choice)
1 Plat a Choix (main course of your choice)
Dessert

Menu 61 € (if you're a little more affluent 😉

Amuse Bouche (a teaser)
2 Entrees a Choix (2 appetizers of your choice)
1 Plat a Choix (main course of your choice)
Dessert
Coffee or Tea

Menu 81 € (if you're one of the lucky few)

Amuse Bouche (a teaser)
2 Entrees a Choix (2 appetizers of your choice)
2 Plats a Choix (2 main courses of your choice)
Dessert
Coffee or Tea

T

here was also a Sommelier's pairing offered which was pretty reasonable, so we splurged.

Our wine was brought over with great speed and the sommelier gave a great explanantion of the Colombard-Sauvignon we'd be imbibing. As we sat we started to get a glimpse of what makes this such a renowned restaurant. The kitchen was quiet as a large number of people worked on their individual task. The kitchen was simply pristine. The team worked in an effortless cohesion. Sitting at the bar felt like an afternoon show in Paris.

The amuse bouche came out. I was suddenly in heaven. Foie gras is good. Good foie gras is amazing. I was dealing with the 2nd kind. In a shot glass was a gorgeous serving of cream of foie gras, port and parmesan foam.  The foie and port were sweet, decadent. The Parmesan brought in just the right amount of umami. I started to get excited.

There was bread, it was good...but let's get to the really good stuff.

I had the green asparagus "in cappuccino" served with tiny goat cheese raviolis". The dish simply captured the essence of asparagus. It was elegant and luscious in the mouth. The goat cheese raviolis reminded me of very delicate mantis. Superb.

Antonio had the oeuf a la coque without shell in a symphony with candied peppers chorizo juices. I'll be blunt, I really dislike peppers, so I skipped here. He said it was wonderful.

For my main course I went for the Peking duck in spices and a kumquat sauce. First off, gorgeous presentation, this was plated like a piece of art. The duck was spectacular (yeah...lots of superlatives today, but it simply was). Juicy, flavorful, and nicely contrasted with the kumquats. Did I mention mashed potatoes French style. I saw these at a lot of restaurants and fell in love. It was a challenge not to eat the entire thing.

Antonio had the roasted chicken. He was disappointed by this dish, but then again...it's roasted chicken and he makes an AMAZING roasted chicken. He did enjoy the greens that came with the dish.

It was time for dessert. I chose the rhubarb, it was a red fruit compote with Tahitian vanilla, and a "lightness" of cheese. This dessert was a bit too sweet for my palate even though it had enough acidity to counteract it (my mom would have loved it).

Antonio won with dessert. He got the "chocolate" which was a cream baked with cocoa, friable sand with orange zest, and a Manjari ice. The dessert looked like Saturn. It's rings were sprinkled with what looked like edible gold. Let me tell you, it tasted as good as it looked. The chocolate had a gorgeous bitterness. Each element here was perfectly textured. When you go, if this is available, do yourself a favor and order it.

We left Etoile happy, full, and sated. We even considered returning. Definitely check it out during your next trip.

L'atelier Etoile de Joël Robuchon is located at 133 Avenue des Champs-Elysees, 75008 Paris, France

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Blanca Valbuena

I am the co-founder of FriendsEat and Socialdraft. I've got an unhealthy obsession with Burgundian Chardonnay, ASOIAF, and travel.

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