Astrid y Gaston
April 13, 2019
Astrid y Gaston was the 15th restaurant on Jonathan's quest to visit 50 of the World’s Best Restaurants. It ranked 33rd on the list in 2017, and 39th on the list in 2018.
After Tuesday's delicious meal I was excited to try tonight's at Astrid y Gaston. My excitement was tempered by some trepidation after I learned about Jonathan's trip to the restaurant's sister restaurant and the circumstances of that trip, figuring this meal would be all about comparisons between the two, but he didn't mention the other place, so that worry eventually diminished.
We decided to walk over to the restaurant, on a precisely timed walk that went past Incan ruins, through a lovely part of town, and into a hip happenin' commercial district. We were definitely in the haves part of down, and far away from the have-nots on the walk.
I messed up Jonathan's precise timing about half way through the walk. We were walking along a tree-lined road, a park along one side, fancy large condos along the other side. My best comparison would be walking along Orange Grove in Pasadena if there were no cars and the street were half as wide. The night was pleasant, the air smelled of a flowering tree, a gentle breeze kept us company.
As we walked, I heard laughter and turned to look, then stopped.
In front of me was a four or five story condo building set back from the road, trees in the yard. The laughter came from the first floor apartment, likely a 3000ft2 apartment, brightly lit, its whole front was floor to ceiling glass, some windows, a few sliding doors, one was clearly open. Six adults were seated around a table, talking, laughing, sharing a meal. Two younger people, likey teens, were off to the side in the living room playing video games intently. The adults' voices drifted out from the condo, a language I didn't understand, a joy I did.
I stood frozen, watching the family, mesmerized by the perfection of the moment: family, food, friendship, joy, sharing, laughter. It took my breath away, and reminded me of how much I had lost. I didn't want to move.
Jonathan, however, had his timing, didn't want to be late. He pulled me out of my reminiscing and longing, and set us back on track for the restaurant, the moment gone.
We arrived on time.
This would be the third and last time I tried to write a review like Jonathan's, where he describes each dish. I wrote down all the dishes, and was so focused on the details of what we were eating that I stopped enjoying the actual food. I decided at the end of the meal that I didn't want the details, I want the delight, the adventure, the magic of the moment.
Also, I lost my notes. I suspect they are somewhere on my phone. Lessons learned.
When we arrived, we were seated in the grand dining room. We were handed menus, which we handed back, letting our waiter know we had ordered the tasting menu. He looked at us in a way that told us immediately that something went wrong in the reservations. "Just a moment," he said, returning a few minutes later with the good news that the chef had made extras, and yes, we were all set for the tasting menu.
As normal, Jonathan had the wine pairing and I didn't. The sommelier seemed quiet overwhelmed, running around among a half dozen tables and I don't know how many more in the other dining rooms. Speaking of other dining rooms, we were in the main one off the kitchen, able to watch kitchen from our table. I made sure to sit so that Jonathan could watch the kitchen, and they did not disappoint.
The food was delicious. The dessert dishes were wonderful. The fake cigars made of chocolate fooled Eric and Mom, so there's something to that.
This was our last Lima restaurant. If you go, check out the toilets. WOW!
And, if I had to say, I would state I enjoyed Kjolle the most, but I think Kjolle has spoiled me for all other restaurants, it's my favorite ever so far.