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Astrid y Gaston

Mexico City, Polanco

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Overall Rating

  • Ambience 90%
  • Service 90%
  • Food (Execution) 90%
  • Creativity 90%
  • Value 80%

Details for Location Reviewed
Astrid y Gaston

Locale: Mexico City, Polanco
Address: Tennyson 117

Telephone: +52 55 5282 2666
Restaurant Type: Formal Dining, Upscale Casual
Cuisine: Eclectic Gourmet, Peruvian
Service Type: Table Service
Price: $$$$ Menu items offered: Ceviche - Aquachile, Coffee, Desserts, Espresso, Grilled Steaks, Salads, Seafood, Soups
Hours: Mon-Sat: 1:30 pm to 11 pm Sun: 1:30 pm to 6 pm

Restaurant Details
Astrid y Gaston

Locale: Mexico City, Polanco
Address: Tennyson 117

Telephone: +52 55 5282 2666
Restaurant Type: Formal Dining, Upscale Casual
Cuisine: Eclectic Gourmet, Peruvian
Service Type: Table Service
Price: $$$$ Menu items offered: Ceviche - Aquachile, Coffee, Desserts, Espresso, Grilled Steaks, Salads, Seafood, Soups
Hours: Mon-Sat: 1:30 pm to 11 pm Sun: 1:30 pm to 6 pm

Summary of Review

Astrid y Gastón in Mexico City can’t surpass the phenomenal restaurant they own in Lima. But it sure comes close. Superb in every category.

Summary of Review

Astrid y Gastón in Mexico City can’t surpass the phenomenal restaurant they own in Lima. But it sure comes close. Superb in every category.

Restaurant Review for Astrid y Gaston

 

Review by: Ollie O
Rating: 4.4 stars
Review Date: 09/12/2014

The Mexico City domain of Latin America’s most respected upscale restaurant chain, Astrid & Gastón, was the last frontier for ComaBeba. It was the last of Chef Aturio’s restaurants in Latin America that I had not visited.

After my recent visit to Gastón and Astrid Acurio’s restaurant in Lima on an Easter Sunday, I had nothing but adulation for Acurio’s restaurant, staff and menu there in Lima. Then, less than a week later, I visited Astrid y Gastón’s restaurant in Bogotá, Colombia, and was dumbfounded by the meal I experienced in Bogotá. As I stated in that review, “It is difficult for me to even fathom how [the restaurant in Lima] and the one in Bogatá are even remotely related to each other. My meal in Bogotá was a huge disappointment.”

So, it was with a bit a trepidation that I embarked upon the assignment of reviewing Astrid y Gastón in Mexico City. Would this turn out to be as disappointing as Bogotá?

The restaurant in Mexico is located in the heart of the city’s fashionable neighborhood, Polanco. The entrance is a small portal to a winding stairway that leads to the bar on the second floor. A brief walk through the bar and past the open kitchen on the left (behind a lattice screen) leads to three large dining rooms and a covered open-air terraza with fountains and lots of vegetation.

The restaurant décor is simple but elegant. Chef Acurio has opted to retain the white tablecloths at the restaurant despite the worldwide trend toward more informal dining rooms like those at A&G’s La Mar, the genre and format on which his restaurant dynasty has placed the majority of its chips.

The dining rooms in Mexico City are professionally lit with overhead spots strategically pointing at the tabletops.

Several large, elegant arrangements of fresh lilies give a slight elegance to the three rooms. Furnishings are subdued. Slightly contemporary, but perfectly suited to the ambiance of the three rooms.

The white tablecloths are high-grade linen, as are the napkins, both pristinely pressed. The tableware is heavy in the hand.

The waiters wear black ties and black jackets. In accordance with local custom, they are a bit more formal than the younger waiters in Lima.

The menu is typical Gastón Acurio. An assortment of fancified Peruvian and Nikkei appetizers (about half of which are ceviches or tiraditos), soups (chupes) and main course dishes.

The waiter made suggestions for an appetizer and a meat dish for the main course, but on this occasion, I was out to test the quality of the raw seafood preparations and a fish dish. I ordered a tuna and shrimp ceviche for the appetizer. The marinade was delicious. Not too tart as is sometimes my take on ceviche. Only a minor complaint. The shrimp had been marinated a bit too long. It was basically “overcooked” in the lime juice marinade.

For the main course, I ordered the Dorado Pachamanquero but was informed that the Dorado were on vacation. The suggested substitute of Red Snapper was more than acceptable.

The dish was beautifully plated. The top of the fish was carefully covered in that rich, smoky Pachamanquero sauce. A variety of accompaniments added bits of interest and texture to the dish. The Snapper was cooked perfectly. Flaky and moist. The flavors were complex and delicious. Execution was near flawless. I would have preferred it had the skin of the Snapper been seared a bit more to create a bit more crispness. But in light of the fact that the fish was otherwise so perfectly cooked this had no impact on my evaluation of the dish.

For a dessert the waiter suggested the (the “spherical surprise”) a chocolate orb filled with lots of goodies. These crackable and melting orbs seem to be “the new black” among the chefs manning the dessert stations these days. I opted out on the orb and requested something more familiar to the Mexican cooks, a sweet corn cake flavored with elote and accompanied by bits of fruit drenched in a purple corn marinade.

I’ve had a variety of corn-centric desserts thrown my way over the past decade in Latin America, where corn is the central ingredient in everything, including desserts. Most were good. None were great . . . until this one. It was superb. Not too sweet. A tremendously crumbly but moist cake laced with bits of soft, sweet corn kernels. That fruit, soaked in that deep red corn marinade was slightly tart. The little bit of extra sweetness and creaminess the dessert needed came from a small quenelle of vanilla ice cream. Astrid, send me the recipe!

Making a reservation was simple through OpenTable.com with immediate confirmation. The restaurant maintains a website with a menu but the actual menu differed slightly from the posted menu and no prices were posted, resulting in a less than perfect logistics score.

So, my review began with the inquiry, “Would this turn out to be as disappointing as Bogotá?” And the answer is obviously a resounding “No!” This was an extraordinarily enjoyable meal in a pleasant atmosphere with near-flawless service. Is this restaurant in Mexico as good as Astrid y Gastón in Lima? Not quite. But it’s close. Very close.

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