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L'Astrance Restaurant Review: Why is L'Astrance one of the hottest restaurants in Paris? It doesn’t have an extravagant décor or a super innovative cuisine. Parisians just fell in love with its discrete nature and remarkable chef, Pascal Barbot, who named his restaurant after a flower that grows in his native Auvergne (the mountainous center of France). This young man was second to über-chef Alain Passard at L'Arpège. Barbot's unusual but delicious broth with grilled bread is an introduction to his magic touch. Although he respects the product, he also knows how to enhance them with last minute additions. For example, crab in fine avocado raviolis is transformed with a hint of sweet almond oil. The terrine de lièvre (hare) takes on another dimension with a light, sweet onion salad and its pine tree aroma. The glazed rabbit with its savory curry, and accompanied by tomato and sorrel, is typical of an eclectic cuisine that doesn't try to marry, at any price, today's fads. It remains very personal with impeccable realization. There's no menu to speak of; the maître d', Christophe Rohat, will tailor it for you, guessing---with your help---your tastes. Every day Barbot follows his intuition and improvises a menu with 15 “delights” based on the best products available that day; the “menu surprise” is indeed the philosophy of the restaurant. From his travels to the Far East and Australia, Barbot has acquired a taste for the more exotic pairings of modern gastronomy, with a remarkably harmonious result with the scallops married to seaweed or the peppery lemon grass sorbet. While the wine cellar is still modest, its intentions are quite visible, and well adapted for this cuisine. Reserve early: reservations can be made at the beginning of each month for the month that follows.