August 1, 2008
The full name of this restaurant is Adour Alain Ducasse, The Saint Regis New York. Its slogan is “Cuisine designed with wine in mind.” It is the great chef’s effort to compromise with the realities of New York after two previous failures. Linda, John and I went for dinner on July 28, 2008. (The Adour is a river in Southwest France near the birthplace of Alain Ducasse.)
We were seated in a small room with three tables off the main dining room, a space which we remember as the big, vibrant King Cole Bar in the good old days. (The Maxfield Parrish mural of King Cole has been cleaned of generations of cigarette smoke and reinstalled in a small bar nearby.) John ordered a bottle of Champagne and a bottle of Montagny, a white Burgundy from its southern end. They were very nice.
Linda and John started with the
SWEETBREAD “MEUNIÈRE,” EGG PURSE, WILD MUSHROOMS, BRIOCHE
They thought it was terrific, the egg, the sauce and the crispy sweetbreads. The three slices of toasted brioche were off to the side. The eggs seemed to have been poached in a net so they curled up into the shape of a large head of garlic.
My first course was
CUCUMBER VINEGAR MARINATED HAMACHI, AVOCADO, GRANNY SMITH, KAFFIR LIME, GREEN APPLE MUSTARD
The “cucumber vinegar” was mild and brought out the flavor of the hamachi.
John went on to
AUSTRALIA BARRAMUNDI “Au Sautoir,” BRAISED/ROASTED FENNEL, VEGETABLE JUS, OLIVE OIL, LEMON
He said it was delicious.
Linda’s main course was
DIVER DAY BOAT SCALLOPS, SALSIFY, SPINACH, BLACK TRUFFLE-SHELLFISH JUS
The combination of the black truffled shellfish jus with the salsify was a great addition to the nicely seared scallops.
I had the
OLIVE OIL POACHED GLOUCESTER COD, PROSCIUTTO, BELL PEPPER-WHITE ONION “PIPERADE”, ESPELETTE JUS
I think that olive oil poaching is a great way to cook fish. I have always had it before with a more solid fish than cod which can be poached longer so the oil is absorbed more. But this was nice.
Our waiter took our photo as we enjoyed the fish course.
Linda’s dessert was the
CONTEMPORARY EXOTIC VACHERIN, MANGO MARMALADE, COCONUT, PASSION FRUIT EMULSION
She had read how great this was and ordered it even though she doesn’t like coconut. She thought it was quite good, a contemporary way of preparing a vacherin, very strong on the mango flavor.
John and I had the
APRICOT SOUFFLÉ, COMPÔTE, BITTER ALMOND ICE CREAM
The sofflée had a perfect texture and plenty of fresh apricot flavor. The almond ice cream was an excellent unsweet counterpoint.
There were two trays of lovely mignardises.
The service was flawless. When Linda asked for the music in our little room to be turned down, a manager appeared quickly and did it. Bravo.
The meal had been very enjoyable, but it was not a challenging cuisine, either for us or for the kitchen. The ingredients, the preparation and the presentation were flawless, but these dishes are similar to what one can find nowadays in many expensive restaurants. They are not classic cuisine, but trends expand rapidly nowadays. That wouldn’t be noteworthy except that the titular chef is the world’s most famous. Well, the restaurant is in a hotel in the heart of New York’s most upscale business district. New York’s cutting edge restaurants are well south of here.