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Adour at the St. Regis


oakapple
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My understanding is that ... Adour is a Michelin two-star-type project.

That's consistent with the prices people are talking about. It's not conceivable that Ducasse would plan a restaurant without having a particular number of stars in mind. Some of his folks might say that they're not in it for stars, and some gullible listeners might fall for that, but I don't think it's reality.
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The Ducasse organization thinks, fundamentally, in terms of Michelin stars. They think that way whether or not Michelin is involved. When ADNY opened, there was no Michelin guide for New York. Ditto for Mix. Nonetheless, they were conceived as Michelin three-star and one-star restaurants, respectively. It's not so much about getting Michelin to award the stars -- Ducasse has plenty of experience with not getting the number of stars that fit the model of a given restaurant in his group -- but rather about the way the team thinks through these projects. Indigenous New York restaurants above a certain level think this way too, but with New York Times stars: "We're building a four-star restaurant." The restaurant may or may not get that many stars. Nonetheless, the model remains.

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The Ducasse organization thinks, fundamentally, in terms of Michelin stars. They think that way whether or not Michelin is involved.

exactly. what i was told by all the powers that be for adour is that the concept is the most important...with rigorous standards for excellence of cuisine. they could give a shit about the stars - they are just going to do what they are going to do. also, during all of my 6 interviews with all those involved, they were very pleased that i have served frank bruni on several ocassions. they asked me what he was like, what he wanted to drink, etc etc. there wasn't much talk of michelin ......

i was also told that there were going to be a hundred wines under a hundred dollars. (that is not a very michelin 3 star idea, but i think it is a great idea).

i was also told by thomas combescot, the wine director, quote

"this is not a three star michelin restaurant. you need to get in, get out, sell the bottle, go to the next table, turn the tables, do not schmooze."

end quote

Edited by chefboy24 (log)
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I can assure you they are going for 3 Michelin ***.

i can assure you they are not.

The prices posted upthread tend to support chefboy's assertion that this isn't intended to be Michelin 3* establishment. However, chefboy's statement that "Ducasse is not going for michelin stars" — implying he would be pleased with zero — is ludicrous.

i don't know really, i don't think it is a concern

was joel robuchon going to be pissed if he didn't get a star at the four seasons? is he pissed he didn't get two?

my money is on him not caring. my money is on him caring about the new york times review.

is eleven madison and daniel humm pissed that they still don't have a star? probably not, although i think it is a joke that they do not have one. they could probably care less, as they're doing very well.

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My understanding is that ... Adour is a Michelin two-star-type project.

That's consistent with the prices people are talking about. It's not conceivable that Ducasse would plan a restaurant without having a particular number of stars in mind. Some of his folks might say that they're not in it for stars, and some gullible listeners might fall for that, but I don't think it's reality.

If Senderens and Robuchon hadn't already done that and if bistronomy wasn't currently so popular around the world I would absolutely agree. I think that amongst some of the bigger named chefs, hey may feel that they are above stars or at least not in need of stars to propel their business. It is possible the death of Bernard Loiseau may have had something to do with it.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

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i don't know really, i don't think it is a concern

was joel robuchon going to be pissed if he didn't get a star at the four seasons?  is he pissed he didn't get two?

my money is on him not caring.  my money is on him caring about the new york times review.

is eleven madison and daniel humm pissed that they still don't have a star?  probably not, although i think it is a joke that they do not have one.  they could probably care less, as they're doing very well.

I definitely agree that Ducasse is concerned with the new york times review. The article in New York Magazine seems to point to that conclusion as well. I also think that his goal is create a a product that the average new yorker (not necessarily the people on this board) will enjoy and appreciate. Knowing Thomas as well, I find his comments regarding customer service to be shocking. He as always been wonderful towards me.

Also, it is fascinating reading on this board people's interpretations of Ducasse's motivations, aspirations, and goals. The restaurant opens for business in 10 days. Lets go eat there ( i have three reservations already) and then we will all have a better idea of what Adour is all about.

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Of course Ducasse is concerned about stars, both Michelin and NYTimes. Don't forget--Delouvrier got the axe because of NY Times stars.

Ducasse has cultivated the Michelin group more than about any other chef. Now, he has again a luxury setting (St. Regis) and the same basic team that got them 3 Michelin stars in the past (chef, etc).

The Michelin slight of Eleven Madison was certainly noticed--they certainly cared, and still do.

Not trying to be argumentative--but anyone who asserts that a gastronomic restaurant by chefs such as Ducasse or Humm don't care about Michelin stars, isn't being realistic.

In any event, chefboy is going by job interviews; I'm going by knowledge of the Ducasse organization in France. But we're all speculating. Let's wait and see what happens.

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I had a very enjoyable experience at Adour last night. I was the first dinner: First, I was given a tour of the restaurant. It has a main room and two or three smaller rooms. Large wine fridges line the walls, showcasing the best from the restaurants wine collection.

My dinner started with a small comte in pastry. Very nice. My first course was the hamachi sashimi with geoduck and a green apple mustard. My second course was complimentary: a slow cooked halibut with vegetables. My main course was colorado rack of lamb which was one of the few holdovers from ADNY. A cheese course followed, No cheese trolley as at ADNY. A selection of four pieces which included a vermont cheddar, an italian goat cheese and an italian sheeps milk cheese, and a tommoe de savoie. My desert was the chocolate sorbet. My wines were a rose champagne nv, a half bottle of 95 Cos, and a 1985 Graham's Port.

A note on the wine list. THey present two different lists. One is more of a seasonal list. The second is the reserve list.

Adour has much less pomp and circumstance as compared to ADNY. More americanized in service. The food is also not nearly as complex as at ADNY.

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Thanks for your report.  Given their focus on wine how did you find the price range on the seasonal list?

Looking forward to dinner there on the 5th of Feb.

I was there last night and had a glass of wine at the bar. (Trivia: I was supposedly the sixth customer; thus I was informed by the fellow who said he was the first.)

Though I took only a cursory look, I was impressed at how reasonable the prices were. For instance, the least expensive red wine by the glass was $9. There are plenty of restaurants in town that offer nothing in single digits.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had dinner her last night and it was a decent experience. We went a la carte rather than tasting menu as most of the interesting options seemed to be on that side.

Our captain was friendly but somewhat hesitant during certain parts of service. Almost felt like the front of house is still deciding on what level of service they are working on delivering for this restaurant concept. Since our reservation was at 6:30 we almost had her undivided attention at the beginning but towards the end when we needed the check she was more or less slammed with two additional tables seated simultaneoulsy that needed incessant attention.

Silverare changes, refills and clearings were done so they weren't noticed at all so I take that to mean that it was done perfectly but I'm not a front of house expert.

Our captain arrived with each course to explain the dishes.

The room itself has a few nooks that are off the main "see and be seen" middle area and it was very entertaining to see some guests begin to freak out if they weren' sitting in that main area. One couple put up enough a fuss that they were being lead to a side nook that they were given the middle table of the restaurant that was obviously meant to be a four top.

Amuse consisted of 4 tiny puff pastries filled with a ricotta like cheese ( I forgot the name). Nothing revolutionary but a fine way to start the meal.

Bread service brought mini baguettes, olive bread and sourdough. I believe they mentioned that the dough is shipped frozen from Paris. The mini baguette was dynamite. Excellent crust and a yeasty interior. Butter was whipped to an airy consistancy and I think was flecked with chunks of olive.

I started with the Sweetbread "Meunière", Egg Purse wild mushrooms, toasted brioche. The sweetbreads were perfectly cooked with a terrific crunch followed by the soft goodness underneath and the poached egg on top took it to a level of richness that I thought was out of this world. Vegetables were cut to diamond like precision and the sauce poured tablside took this dish to another level. The toasted brioche sticks sopped up any remaning sauce leaving an totally clean plate.

My companion started with Tender Ricotta Gnocchi lettuce, prosciutto, xérès vinegar. To me they seemed more like perfectly quenelled gnudo rather than gnocchi. If I'm not mistaken our captian mentioned that there was no potato used in the preparation. They were tasty and well seasoned but also very conventional.

The one truly inspired part of this dish is that the lettuce was either blanced or cooked to a point that it tasted like the essence of lettuce. Never has its taste been more pronounced or delicious to me. It was like having lettuce straight from the garden for the first time in my life. If would almost say you could tast the chlorophyl!

My main dish was the Beef Tenderloin, Braised Ribs contrast of carrots, "jus de cuisson". Unfortunately the tenderloin was so generic to me that it almost felt like convention food. It had been requested rare to medium rare and came out closer to medium which I wasn't particularly distressed about but the flavor just wasn't there...and it was dry. The braised ribs on the other hand were sheer perfection. All of the food porn in the world that shows perfectly carmelized and glazed beef doesn't live up to the image of that meat on a white plate at Adour. Complex in flavor it was a perfect mix of salty, crunchy sweetness and fat.

Sauce was poured tableside and was everything it needed to be. The perfect thicknness, rich and velvety.

The vegetabe accompaniment while miniscule almost upstaged the meat. two or three pieces of potato were once again the essence of that vegetable. Soft to the point that it almost didn't require chewing but not at all mealy or mushy.

It's been said you haven't truly eaten until you've tasted perfect potatoes and I finally think I know what this means.

The carrots were great too. See the lettuce and potato description. There is some serious vegetable cooking currently going on at Adour.

My companion had Adour Lobster Thermidor swiss chard fondant, armagnac. It's served out of the shell and for someone who rarely eats lobster my companion found it to be quite good but it's definitely not something she would order again or switch her over to a crustacean lover.

The bite I was offered revealed some perfectly cooked lobster in a luxurious sauce that almost tasted of the ocean...in a good way.

For dessert I had the cheese plate and thought the selections were terrific. By the time it was delivered our captain was a bit rushed due to the new seatings and all the drama ensuing when individuals didn't want to sit in the area.

My companion had the apple souffle and I can assume it was out of this world as I wasn't even offered a bite!

We had an excellent bottle of 1999 Neuf Du-Pape for $90. I am the furthest thing in the world from a wine expert but I found the list to be well set up as far as navigation and the prices were reasonable for a restaurant of this calibre. A very long selection of by the glass and half bottle too.

I found that Adour is serving perfectly prepared food with simple yet very precise presentation. Sauces and vegetable preparation were the standouts.

Nothing new or revolutionary is coming out of the kitchen but I also don't think that was the intention of this concept.

Can't say I would return for a second visit for dinner but I would love to have some glasses at the bar and try their bar menu. Seeing as the bar and "lounge" is so small that might prove to be difficult.

Edited by flinflon28 (log)
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What makes you say that you don't think you would return for dinner? The descripton of your meal (minus the tenderloin) sounds enthralling.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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While it certainly wasn't Essex House prices it doesn't feel like a place I'd return to two or three times a year due to the cost.

To me it was perfectly prepared almost classical but somewhat "boring" food.

That's not in the least bit a slight but it didn't hit me on alevel the way my first meal at Gilt under Liebrandt did. While the types of cuisine being served at Adour and Gilt aren't really comparable I found the litmus test to be "Would I pay $400 again to eat at Gilt?" To me the answer was an emphatic yes but at Adour I'd be hesitant. Would certainly return for a visit to the bar though!

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To me it was perfectly prepared almost classical but somewhat "boring" food.

That's true at many restaurants like that. Many of their clients are looking, quite simply, for classic food executed well. Critics had the same complaint about Gordon Ramsay. I ate at Veritas recently, and had a similar reaction. (I looked back at reviews a decade ago, and that's what they said then.) La Grenouille once had four stars for classic food executed almost perfectly. The execution may have slipped since then, but the concept is still the same.

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To me it was perfectly prepared almost classical but somewhat "boring" food.

That's true at many restaurants like that. Many of their clients are looking, quite simply, for classic food executed well. Critics had the same complaint about Gordon Ramsay. I ate at Veritas recently, and had a similar reaction. (I looked back at reviews a decade ago, and that's what they said then.) La Grenouille once had four stars for classic food executed almost perfectly. The execution may have slipped since then, but the concept is still the same.

I agree completely. I have often wondered what is the difference between "boring" and "exciting" food. Most of the great restaurants exhibit what you describe as classic food executed brilliantly. How many restaurants truly do something different; Gagnaire, EL Bulli, WD-50, ALinea. Can you name any others?

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There is a lot to be said for "boring" food that is perfectly executed. I had the sense that money might be the issue as it becomes a question of value. I agree with flinflon28 that I would sooner drop big coin on a restaurant that excites me conceptually and executes that well than a restaurant that that simply provides reliable deliciousness without the extra intellectual or emotional component. That is not to say that every now and again I don't enjoy re-experiencing classical perfection. :wink:

I hope to try Adour for myself sometime.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I have often wondered what is the difference between "boring" and "exciting" food.  Most of the great restaurants exhibit what you describe as classic food executed brilliantly.  How many restaurants truly do something different;  Gagnaire, EL Bulli, WD-50, ALinea.  Can you name any others?

It's easy to forget, but Jean Georges was considered innovative in its day — not as far "out there" as El Bulli, but not classic French cuisine by any means. Obviously the edge has worn off a bit, because Vongerichten has stopped innovating. But there's a huge difference between JG and La Grenouille.

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I have often wondered what is the difference between "boring" and "exciting" food.  Most of the great restaurants exhibit what you describe as classic food executed brilliantly.  How many restaurants truly do something different;  Gagnaire, EL Bulli, WD-50, ALinea.  Can you name any others?

It's easy to forget, but Jean Georges was considered innovative in its day — not as far "out there" as El Bulli, but not classic French cuisine by any means. Obviously the edge has worn off a bit, because Vongerichten has stopped innovating. But there's a huge difference between JG and La Grenouille.

.... moto in Chicago; The Fat Duck in Bray, UK; L'Arnsbourg in Baerenthal, France;... what about L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon?

Sometimes "exciting" is just what's different from what we call familiar. For an Asian, David Chang might be doing classic Korean/Asian food in an "exciting" way. Likewise, as oakapple noted, Jean Georges has brought a new way to approach French and Southeast Asian cuisine. The same might be said of Samuelsson and Scandinavian and, now with Merkato 55, Indo-African cuisine.

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Yeah; I'd say that a giant heap of restaurants falls outside the "classic cuisine prepared perfectly" sphere. Heck, Per Se does given Keller's repeated forays into whimsy; JG definitely does with spicing and ingredients, and even the Modern (and Atelier before it) showcase more innovative takes on haute cuisine. Paris is full of these sorts of restaurants (L'Astrance, Le Cinq, etc.).

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  • 3 weeks later...
Has anyone eaten here recently? Is there anywhere else you would recommend over it in teh same price bracket?

As we saw it, Adour was charging three-star prices for very boring food. I have only one data point to go on, but at this point I would recommend any other three-star restaurant in town—Eleven Madison Park, for instance.

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Has anyone eaten here recently? Is there anywhere else you would recommend over it in teh same price bracket?

As we saw it, Adour was charging three-star prices for very boring food. I have only one data point to go on, but at this point I would recommend any other three-star restaurant in town—Eleven Madison Park, for instance.

Depending on your wine choices you can even do Daniel instead of Adour for ALMOST but not quite the same price.

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