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ADNY (Alain Ducasse @ Essex House)


Fat Guy x
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The San Domenico slicer is much more stylish.  I'll try to find out some more about it.

Perhaps, and it was a nicer color -- burgundy -- as well. It seemed to have a more "antique" look. I've never noticed (or sought to notice) a salumi slicer at Babbo, and I have not yet visited Lupa. Is this type of slicer generic to salumi? I no longer have the Steingarten article on Batali's salumi to see if the slicing mechanism is explained.

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Give the man a banana.

It is indeed a vintage Berkel, 1897 to be precise. It is in perfect working order, the blade is self-sharpening, and it is valued for the incredible thinness of the slices it produces. And I can testify to that. It was a present to Tony May from the Friuli region; lucky Mr May.

And that concludes my unpaid investigative journalism for the day. :cool:

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Thank you. Thank you.

Berkel would have been my first guess, but I got thrown off by the description of a unit with a lot of exposed parts. That overengineered look is characteristic of the NOAW models like the one shown above. But the old Berkel slicers, they're the most sought-after of all.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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There was a particularly awful one in the backyard at Cello. I wonder what happened to it.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I didn't mind those sculptures at all.  Not that I paid enough attention to them to have an unshakeable opinion, but they were on the plus side rather than minus side for me (at ADNY and Cello).

If that's the nicest thing you can say about a piece of art . . .

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'm coming in on this a little late, i realize, but Charles' comments blew me away because his experience at ADNY mirrored mine - particularly where the wines were concerned. Was there for dinner in mid-September accompanied by a very successful wine retailer whose knowledge and palate are superb. We had a number of problems with the wine service; one of which was a sommelier who was a very tentative & hesitant young woman. We had to ask several times for her to come to the table (because our friend wanted to talk with her directly about the list) - but the fact that we had to relay the request a good three times was surprising to us. During one course, we asked her to select a wine based on the wines we'd ordered & enjoyed with previous courses (and giving her a few additional criteria). What she chose worked beautifully for two people's dishes ... and not at all for the other two.

ADNY has a rep that's tough to live up to, i know ... but it fell short that night. Disappointing.

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  • 1 month later...

Had a return match with Alain Ducasse at the Essex House on Friday. I can't add much to previous discussions, except I will say that the service was not only excellent, but I also found it somewhat less formal than the first time I dined there. Our waiter was warm and friendly, and the two sommeliers we dealt with were positively chirpy. I think it's right for New York to leaven the French professionalism with a little informality.

I was tempted by the autumn menu, but outvoted by the Beloved we chose from the carte. After a gougere filled with warm Mornay sauce, and an amuse of a tiny fillet of red mullet in an intense bouillabaisse - which I could happily have eaten as one of the courses - we naturally started with game pie :laugh: .

This was venison, patridge and teal, studded with foie gras, in a simple short-crust pastry crust, garnished with finely diced pickled vegetables and a white wine jelly.

Roast main lobster with a slightly spicy sauce was preferred by my Beloved to the troncon of sole. I thought the latter was the dish of the evening, confounding my usual scepticism about white fish. The slice of sole was cooked right through - which I liked - and had a gentle mustard crust. My Beloved thought the white sauce was very eggy, but I found it delicate and smooth. To borrow a phrase, it was a dish which "tasted of childhood".

Slices of squab and foie gras wrapped in something-or-other is all the rage this season in Manhattan. From Atelier's Moroccon-influenced pigeon pie, to Lespinasse's pigeon in Savoy cabbage. At ADNY, the very rare slices of squab breast, sandwiched with foie gras, had been wrapped first in cabbage then in paper-thin bacon, and cooked as a kind of sausage, then sliced and plated. I liked the intense truffled veal reduction.

Cheese, ho hum, how boring. Why can't they lift their selection? I had a well ripened Cabrales, but the other selections were high street quality. Served with a black olive brioche, which was pleasant but hard to fit in at this stage of the meal.

A warm apple and chestnut thing in a big glass for madam, which I didn't get near; a crunchy praline in a chocolate case for me, guarded by dramatic candied nuts on long strands of sugar. A quickly melting sorbet ina mando soup. Chocolates. In-house macarons (excellent, velvety texture). Candy cart. Aargh, enough.

We were comped to champagne. The sommelier thought I ought to try a 2000 Volnay Les Caillerets, but I feared it was too young. We settled on a 1996, which came up quite chilled. Decanted, it improved during the meal, but wasn't a jaw dropped by any means. A South African dessert wine, Constantia, which I hadn't tried before, and a refreshing sparkling cider for Madam.

There were sixteen people working in the kitchen on a busy evening, and I should think at least that number in front of house. Sixty seven covers, so - in addition to no table-turning - one is also paying for a high staff to guest ratio. Happily, the check was actually smaller than last time round!

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I believe the Ducasse four-course is priced about $40 higher than the Lespinasse seven-course ($165 and $125 respectively) but I'd have to get current menus to confirm that. Also though both restaurants have severely overpriced wine lists I think the Ducasse list is the more overpriced of the two on average.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Indeed.

And according to my post on the Lespinasse thread, we paid $360 per head, including everything. ADNY came to the same price, almost to the cent. Lespinasse featured a seven course tasting - was there a forgettable amuse bouche? ADNY featured amuse, appetizer, fish, meat, cheese, two desserts, chocolates and macarons, and the candy cart. I was stuffed. Last time I went to ADNY, it was about a hundred bucks more, but we ordered an extra round of wine and weren't comped the champagne.

Ergo, no wonder Lespinasse was half empty.

Edit: And let's not forget the gift bag you pick up when you leave, which included a quite excellent bitter orange pannetone.

Edited by Wilfrid (log)
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Was there some sort of truffle, game, or other specialty-ingredient thing going on at Lespinasse? Typically the tasting menus there are around $125.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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That appears to be some sort of special menu, priced atypically. I'll make some inquiries as to the baseline Lespinasse tasting menu price.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Right, I don't mean it was special for you, I just mean it wasn't typical. It seems to be some sort of special theme menu. I'm telling you, I've eaten enough $125 tasting menus at Lespinasse to know that $175 either isn't typical or represents a very recent change.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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