élan, NYC

September 2, 2014

David and Karen Waltuck ran the legendary New York restaurant Chanterelle for thirty years, closing five years ago.  David opened  élan on July 1, 2014 in the former space of Veritas. We had enjoyed both restaurants and so were looking forward to a good meal when  Blair joined Linda and me for dinner at élan on August 11, 2014.

We ordered a bottle of Pierre Moncuit “Hugues de Coulmet” Blancs de Blancs Champagne. Fresh soft pretzels with mustard butter arrived.
DSCF9709 (480x276)
These were very good, with nicely matched traditional flavors.

We ordered to share for the table
sea urchin guacamole
taro root chips
DSCF9710 (480x268)
The sea urchin made the avocado luscious and good. There were appropriately less spicing and lime juice than usual.

Linda’s first course was
potato potstickers
summer truffle
DSCF9712 (480x283)
There was a good potato purée inside. The sauce underneath tasted like finely chopped mushrooms, with a hint of truffle. We had Waltuck’s potato potstickers as part of our tasting menu at Chanterelle in 2009, but the truffle sauce in the photo of our blogpost then looks more refined.

Blair started with
“general tso’s” sweetbreads
leeks, orange, chilies
DSCF9713 (480x415)
He wrote that: “The flavor of the “General Tso’s” sauce was significantly less bold and spicy, which let the flavor of the sweetbreads come through. The Chinese greens brought a welcome crunch.”

Mine was
grilled seafood sausage
DSCF9714 (480x253)
There was a lovely seafood flavor in the sausage. The sauerkraut and mustard sauce was very mild enhancing the seafood nicely. This was also a classic dish at Chanterelle, although we did not have it on our tasting menu there.

We then started on a bottle of 2003 Domaine de Trevallon.
DSCF9711 (437x480)
It was good, but not as good as other years we have had of this, one of our favorite wines. I guess that the very hot summer of 2003 had made it somewhat jammy.

Linda’s main course was a special of the evening, a duck and foie gras burger with fried Yukon Gold potato slices.
DSCF9718 (480x294)
There was not enough foie gras in the ground duck burger to give the dish much of a taste, nor did the mayonnaise-plus sauce help. If a small slab of foie gras had been on TOP of the burger, it probably would have made the dish. Linda could not really get any flavor from the duck. 

Blair had the
chicken pot pie
chanterelles, bacon
DSCF9716 (480x332)
He wrote that: “The pot pie was significantly smaller than it appeared on the plate. The puff pastry was excellent and the chicken was solely the flavorful thigh meat, which I prefer in this application. Nothing dominated; the chicken, the top quality bacon and chanterelles complimented the chicken and puff pastry.”

My main was
duck breast
smoky jus, vegetable spring rolls
DSCF9720 (480x270)
This was an example of how an excellent chef can make good ingredients shine while a lesser chef would leave them bland or submerge them in overly complicated or strong garnishes. The flavor of the duck was brought out by the lightly smoky duck glaze underneath. The spring rolls filled with finely julienned vegetables had a completely different textures while offering a vegetable contrast to the rich meat.

We shared a board of five cheeses.
DSCF9722 (480x182)
They were described to us, but I did not take notes. There was a wide variety of styles and origins. All were good and in good shape.

Blair had for dessert
blackberry-blueberry tart
corn, basil
DSCF9723 (480x409)
He wrote that: “The corn ice cream was not nearly as “corny” as I was hoping, none the less it was interesting.”

Chocolate truffles finished off the evening.
DSCF9724 (480x243)
They were very good, not too sweet and with little dark chocolate bits inside that added texture.

We enjoyed our meal. One can easily see the hand of a fine chef in its conception and execution. One can also see that he is somewhat old-fashioned, which is a high compliment coming from me. There was no over-garnishing or over-complexity in the dishes. Chiles only showed up in the one dish in which they were in the menu’s course description.

The service was good and the pace just right. The noise occasionally rose to the annoying level, but I think that the somewhat older clientele compensated for the acoustically challenged room.




One Response to “élan, NYC”

  1. ojile Says:

    we’ll have to try Elan next we are in NYC
    thanks Michael

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s