Astrid y Gaston
Lima, San Isidro
- Ambience 90%
- Service 100%
- Food (Execution) 100%
- Creativity 90%
- Value 80%
Restaurant review for Astrid y Gaston
Rating: 4.6 stars
It was a tranquil Sunday afternoon. Easter Sunday. The little girls being seated were wearing their fancy Easter dresses. Pink and aqua plaid. The locale for this afternoon outing? I was at the notorious Astrid y Gastón in San Isidro, the affluent neighborhood in Lima. This is where world-famous restaurateur and diplomat for Peruvian cuisine, Gaston Acurio, and his wife, Astrid, recently moved their flagship restaurant from the prior location in Miraflores, after decades of dominating high-end dining in South America at that Miraflores location.
The restaurant now occupies an impressive remodeled mansion that more resembles an art museum than it does a restaurant. And in fact, works of art from aspiring artists decorate the walls of each of the interior dining rooms in the big mansion.
The bar is impressive too, as are the Pisco Sours and Capitáns being churned out minute by minute by the skillful mixologists behind the bar.
I elected to sit in the large atrium overlooking the busy kitchen. Twelve cooks, with barely enough space to pass each other were busily going about their prep work. The “jefe de cocina” is a guy the size of a Panzer tank. And when he’s expediting at the pass, barking out orders, it’s as if his big guns are thundering. And in response to each order every chef in the kitchen shouts ‘’OIDO!” which “functionally” translates as “YES, CHEF!”.
And so, the base elements of great restaurant are in place. A talented army of chefs in a well-engineered kitchen located in an architecturally stunning location.
Astrid y Gaston offers a tasting menu. Within the span of two months I will have eaten at Astrid y Gaston in three separate Latin American cities. I don’t want to spoil the thrill of it all with thirty separate dishes (some of which might be repetitive) so I declined the option of going with the tasting menu and opted for my usual three course test.
For the appetizer, I had the Easter special, the bacalao croquettes. I’ve complained on more than one occasion about how every croquette I’ve been served in Latin America looks like a frozen fish-stick and doesn’t taste much better. Well, I’m here to tell you that these croquettes, stuffed with a mixture of flakey bacaloa and this oozing sexy buffalo mozzarella sauce were nothing remotely close to Cap’n Gorton’s frozen fish sticks. They were excellent. Perfect execution. Unique.
For the main course, I opted for the sea scallops, accompanied by small sweet lucuma gnocchi, chestnuts, and a slightly tart, slightly sweet sauce, made from an Amazonian fruit called a cocona, highlighted with a coriander pesto. Brilliant. The perfect use of contrasting flavors and texture. And it was as elegant and beautiful in appearance as it was delicious.
After those two perfectly concocted courses, how could I not give one of the magical desserts a try? I went for the orchestra of flavors in a dish comprised of fresh figs, a scrumptious half-foam/half-mousse concoction, a sangria sorbet. Looks pretty darn delicious in that photo, doesn’t it?
I was attended to by three brilliant waiters and waitresses, who all speak English quite competently . . . Jason, Anibel and Cindy. Flawless. Truly flawless service.
My day, drawing to a close at the gorgeous Casa Hacienda Moreyra, I turned to Cindy and said, “I’m just glad you didn’t force me to eat edible sand and gravel” (a reference to the dog and pony dishes you encounter at Central across town). Fully understanding the hidden meaning, she smirked, tongue-in-cheek, and quietly stated, “We don’t do that here.”
Astrid y Gaston
Astrid y Gaston … …