what it’s like eating in a Michelin – starred restaurant – Au Crocodile, Strasbourg

High on my “things to do in a lifetime” list is dining in a Michelin – starred restaurant. Of course, when I traveled to Strasbourg, I took full advantage and ended up having lunch at “Au Crocodile”, a restaurant which, in 2019, held a Michelin star (the restaurant is not listed in the 2020 Michelin guide and I can’t really tell you why not). Here is my take on what it’s like eating in a Michelin – starred restaurant.

The location

I chose the restaurant based on its location and availability. The entire experience of having lunch at “Au Crocodile” was pleasant. As I am more accustomed to visiting restaurants which are intimate, personal, I found the atmosphere of “Au Crocodile” to be a bit impersonal. 

The maître d’ and the staff were nice, trying to accommodate my needs and wishes, but all the while, my feeling was that it was a bit rehearsed and their behavior did not quite have that personal touch, that I prefer when I am out eating. The dining room was a bit stuffy for my taste, everyone was whispering, not talking and you almost felt afraid of dropping your fork by mistake and make the smallest of noises.

I did however, thoroughly enjoyed the food. Beware, in a Michelin – starred restaurant (especially in a French one!), there will not be any aromas coming from the kitchen to entice you, there will be fancy dish names, which more often than not, do not really explain what you are eating.

Michelin - starred restaurant restaurant cu stele Michelin

So, I prepared myself for the So, I prepared myself for the surprise of enjoying dishes, whose name I could not really pronounce, in a menu available only in French. Despite the fact that the staff did their best to translate what I was eating in English, I must confess, half of the time, I had no idea what I had in my mouth 😊

The food that was extra...

Michelin - starred restaurant restaurant cu stele Michelin

When you go to a French restaurant, there is something you should be warned about. You get these small samples of various dishes, called by the French amuse – bouche. These are served both to prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse of the chef’s style. You might get a full belly indulging in these, before your actual meal arrived.

Before the first course arrived, I got to experience various types of amuse-bouche. In the order of their appearance on the table: I indulged in finger food like items, made up of a foie gras tart, a cheese ball covered in ink crust and a butternut squash purée macaron; these were followed by a typical French pastry, which was served warm, waiting for it to be buttered up and a rather strange dish, made from mushrooms, with a reduction of white wine, covered by a mushroom mouse. 

The pasta like side that you see on the plate is not pasta, it was something chewy and I have no idea what it was. But it was tasty 😀

The food that you actually pay for...

By the time the appetizer of the tasting menu arrived, I also already a bit full, but looking forward to seeing and tasting the dishes. Just to get something off my chest, one of the surprises that I got in this restaurant was the size of the servings. I had this idea in my head that the servings were going to be small, really fancy and hard to eat. In reality, the servings were of a perfect size for one person to enjoy, the dishes were nicely plated, not too sophisticated, but delightful. I ordered the tasting menu, which consisted of four dishes, including dessert.

#1 Huître Tarbouriech tiède farcie, purée de cresson et oreille soufflée – Warm, stuffed Tarbouriech oyster, cress purée and puffed pork ear

The Tarbouriech oyster is named after the French farm where it was grown. The oyster was cooked to perfection, stuffed with pork meat and cress purée and decorated with the puffed pork ear. It was interesting to find out that cress, in France, is also known as the oyster plant, as the aftertaste that is left after eating it resembles the taste of oysters. The puffed pork ear was not to my taste. Maybe because I have memories from my childhood, where we’d eat the pig’s ear almost raw, after the pig was cut and roasted as part of Christmas preparations. The taste and the texture did not match my memories, so I was not impressed 😊 As I am a huge fan of seafood, though, the oyster made the dish charming for me!

#2 Lotte rôtie, déclinaison de butternut, châtaigne, sauce au pinot noir - Roasted monkfish with a variation of butternut squash purée, chestnut and pinot noir sauce

To be honest, this dish was an unexpected surprise for me. I am not a squash eater. I find the taste of squash a bit vapid. This variation of the butternut squash purée, chestnut and pinot noir sauce however left me with a thrilling aftertaste. The tender fish meat, the sharp pinot noir sauce, combined with the sweet sensation of the butternut squash purée and the woody taste of the chestnuts made this a different, but yet pleasant dish for me.

#3 Chevreuil de chasse, salsifis rôtis et purée de betteraves, sauce aux Cranberry façon grand veneur – Venison steak, roasted salsify and beet purée, Cranberry sauce, great huntsman style

Full disclosure – before I tasted it, I thought that the meat was veal. Although I usually eat my steaks a bit more cooked than this, I found this one to be perfect. There was a nice balance between the center part of the steak and its edges, which made the entire serving to be quite tasty. Despite what was in the menu, the actual dish contained roasted asparagus (which is one of my favorite vegetables) and a different kind of sauce than the one advertised. Nevertheless, the dish was more than rich and satisfying. I was, again, amazed by the combination of sweet and savory, with the beet purée perfectly combined with the asparagus.

#4 Tarte Tatin, sablé breton garni d’un duo de pommes crues et cuites, crème de Bresse et caramel de pomme - Tarte Tatin, Breton shortbread, topped with a duo of raw and cooked apples, Bresse crème and apple caramel

As we, Romanians, say, the “cherry on top of the cake” of the lunch was the dessert. This different rendition of the famous Tarte Tatin beat even the original. Firstly, I was impressed by the aspect of the dish. The careful arrangement of the apple slices shows the dedication put in the making of the dish. The crème Bresse was smooth and light and the apple caramel sauce beautifully added its own taste to the dish. The crispy shortbread made the dish complete.

At the end of the meal, I was, of course, provided with some more small desserts, a coconut ball and a lemon madeleine, on behalf of the chef. Top that with an espresso and you have a lovely way of ending a meal.

The conclusion

I much enjoyed the food at this restaurant, I was surprised by the servings and the dishes, but I was not too thrilled with the restaurant itself. I would probably not go back to this particular restaurant, but I would, however, like to try out some more Michelin – starred restaurants.

If you’ve enjoyed this review, you can check out more of my reviews here.

8 thoughts on “what it’s like eating in a Michelin – starred restaurant – Au Crocodile, Strasbourg

  1. Hubby would definitely want to eat in a restaurant called Au Crocodile. He would hope to try all kinds of new delicacies. Especially if cooked by a Michelin star chef! It is a good think he can fully read French! So great that the butternut squash dish surprised and delighted you! That Tart Tatin looks perfect with the caramel sauce. I am drooling just reading this post.

  2. Wow! The food looks amazing! I would love to dine here, you had my mouth watering from start to finish! My favorite has to be the Tarte Tatin. I’m a huge dessert fan and it looks incredible!

  3. My struggle when choosing to dine at any French restaurant is the fact that the majority of their menus are in French. I know it is obvious but that put me on second thoughts of dining with them unless I tagged my friend who speaks the language. That is why restaurant experience just like you shared is very helpful for me to pick if this restaurant will give me a good experience, and based on your story – I reckon it will be amazing.

  4. I have never eaten in a Michelin starred restaurant before, but I obsess over Chef’s Table! You’ve addressed so many of my concerns in this post. It’s AWESOME that the food portions were typical. I can’t tell you how many upscale restaurants I visit only to be served food that amounts to the size of four peanuts. I agree – the staff and ambiance can make or break an experience. I feel so uncomfortable when restaurants are too quiet!

  5. The food in this restaurant looks great—culinary works of art, exquisite and elegant. I would gladly visit this place, although it may be too expensive for me. I love oysters, so I would like to try stuffed Tarbouriech oysters, looks so delicious. And I would like to eat Venison steak and Tarte Tatin for sure.

  6. I have also wondered a lot how it is to eat in a Michelin star restaurant. I have a friend who’s a chef and she tells me that everywhere she goes, she has to eat and see how it tastes. I visited Strasbourg many years ago for its architecture and atmosphere, but I have never known of Au Crocodile. The dishes look great and if you say you enjoyed the food, that’s what is important. I wonder how much you paid there ?

  7. Oh my goodness that food sounds and looks divine! Interesting about it being poor form to have smells (even if good) coming from the kitchen. I’d also be hard pressed not to fill up on the complimentary starters, even after you saying the main courses were a nice size. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to soak up ever corner of that Michelin star!

  8. I totally get you when you say you are accustomed to personal attention. I see that this one is quite impersonal and to be honest, it would take away some bit from the food too. Am glad though that despite the blind tasting, your food experience was not so bad. It does look scrumptious in your description and your photos. And desserts….am so craving for some now!

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