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ADNY (Alain Ducasse @ Essex House)


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MobyP wrote:
With such a small menu - realistically - how many times a season do we think a fan of Delouvrier or Ducasse might eat at ADNY?

If you ate there once a month, you still wouldn't exhaust the possibilities. The menu shows four appetizers and four apiece of fish & meat entrées.

I wouldn't think so. That Lamb for example - although a perfectly fine dish, and beautiful to look at - it doesn't seem to me very adventurous. The pork dish I had also I didn't think had all that many notes to it. Which is to say, although I thought the cooking exceptional, it seems he's playing it safer at the moment than I would wish for.

Even if I could afford it, I don't see that the restaurant could sustain four substantially different meals a season.

Edited by MobyP (log)

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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MobyP wrote:

I wouldn't think so. That Lamb for example - although a perfectly fine dish, and beautiful to look at - it doesn't seem to me very adventurous. The pork dish I had also I didn't think had all that many notes to it. Which is to say, although I thought the cooking exceptional, it seems he's playing it safer at the moment than I would wish for.

After tomorrow, I will have my own opinion, but in a sense, the point above is a variation on the "can a hot dog be 4 stars" question. Since people seem to think ADNY does deserve 4 stars, does the fact that the food, while well cooked, seems to be a bit simple, raise any issues in your mind?

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This is the best I can do, John, on account of the limited depth of field in the original.

gallery_122_337_1100832250.jpg

Thanks, Ellen. It is hard to make it out for cetain in the photo, but if you say it is raw fish, it is raw fish. I am curious as to what kind, though.

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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I'm not sure I concur with the characterization of the food as simple. There's an aesthetic of elegant simplicity and even minimalism to many of the plates but in reality they are decidedly not simple. Most of the sauces, for example, are dizzyingly complex and take days to make. That's why the cooks-to-customers ratio is so high despite the lack of table turns.

At the same time, I certainly would not recommend the lamb or the pork for our kind of people -- in other words for eGullet types who place an emphasis on interesting or unique food. A person to whom $500 means nothing -- and there are a preponderance of such customers at ADNY, which is fundamentally a rich person's restaurant, and more than a few of those customers have unadventurous palates -- should order the lamb because chances are it will be incrementally better than the comparable lamb dish anywhere else. Those who scrape and save to dine at this level should probably focus on some of the less widely available dishes. Actually the lamb dish is so good it's worthy of consideration anyway, but the pork dish is as Moby said a bit one-note. I had a long argument with Delouvrier about the pork dish -- both in the restaurant and in a follow-up phone call -- and I doubt it will be on the menu much longer if it even still is.

In terms of selection, what you've got to realize is that ADNY like any restaurant at this level is capable of doing a lot more than what is printed on the menu. If you're a regular -- and you certainly are a regular at ADNY if you dine there more than once a season -- you don't have to worry. Your meals won't be redundant if you don't want them to be. Not at all. At the same time, there are plenty of regulars who do enjoy eating familiar dishes -- it's like listening to a favorite piece of music (sorry for stealing the analogy Pedro).

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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Steven, could you fill us in on the general outlines of the argument about the pork dish? You've explained the con side, but what about the pro side?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Yeah - what he said.

It's not simplicity itself that concerns me - at ADPA, my wife ordered some Piege lamb chops coated with black olive, and it was ridiculously sparse, but also exquisite. As with much Piege food, it felt like it required an army of 10 to get those two chops to the plate in exactly that manner.

I think, as Steven notes, there are a preponderance of those for whom 500 bucks is not an entirely ridiculous sum - who might feel a dish of lamb as seen above is just the ticket. But it feels like, apart from perhaps technically, the above isn't really challenging either Delouvrier or the ingredients beyond themselves. As I wrote above, I read of a simple Chapel stew of lobster and potatoes (I'm sure it wasn't simple in the least, but so goes the story) that had a quiet perfection to it. So, it's not fireworks I'm after. Maybe just something to start the bells ringing. The pig was a technical accomplishment, but not in the end an accomplishment of cuisine, I think.

I'll close my eyes and wish to be one of those Steven mentions, for whom the menu is only the imagination of the chef.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Not so much pro and con, Pan. I just feel that at ADNY's prices every dish should be without peer, and I think this particular pork dish is with peer. It's excellent Berkshire pork cooked two ways, the gnocchi are delicious, and you'd be thrilled to get the dish at almost any restaurant for, say, $35. But ADNY has to offer more than that, and I just don't think that pork dish does the job. Delouvrier is tasting or perceiving something special about the dish that Moby and I are not, I guess, but I think he also realizes that it's not his best dish.

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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... and this thread is the absolute most stunning food thread I have ever seen, on ANY food forum, any time anywhere.  Great job, to both of you!  And, thank you.

Ditto. Thank you, guys!

7_1100901196.jpg

gallery_122_337_1100901216.jpg

Ellen, Steven, Moby,

What the heck are those two little curved cylinders on the finished plate?

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Ellen - once again, wonderful pictures. If you had any more - even fuzzy ones - I'm sure we'd all be very happy.

Do we know how they did that to the butternut? Was it pureed, and made into a paste, and then piped in a bag? What do we think? I found it hard to tell by the texture - it could have been simply roasted and not pureed, but I don't see how they managed those shapes.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Ducasse binds the baby squash with duct tape and it grows up into that shape.

"Duct tape: sometimes it's all you need."

--motto of the American Duct Tape Council

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Ducasse binds the baby squash with duct tape and it grows up into that shape.

No way! Isn't that cruelty to vegetables, or something? :smile:

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Had my dinner there tonight. More details will follow.....

1. Prices border on the obscene.

2. It's probably worth it.

3. I want to go back.

4. White Truffle tasting menu at $320. They are generous with the truffle. The pheasant sauce comes close to being worth murder, not to mention the egg dish that starts it off with silk. Note the cheese course is not included, add another $21. The tubot is good, the giant shrimp it comes with is evern better.

5. Baba Rum that makes every other baba rum I've ever had seem like junk. The channeled freebe thing they throw in, I think it's a cannili or the like, you know, covered with beeswax, was great and makes Payard's version seem like wonder bread. They also make first class chocolates, on the Mason du Chocolat level. Chocolate truffles are great.

6. The tasting menu at $225 is great, and does include the cheese course. The tuna capaccio is made with tuna I haven't seen in the best sushi places. Oddly enough, the best part was the vegtables served with the veal, which I can still taste. Cabbage cooked two ways for example.

7. We did one wine pairing and one glass (other person doesn't drink much). All first rate, and my first glass was Sake no less, the best I've ever had. On the other hand, a 5 flight pairing was $120 and that single very good glass was $56.

8. Too much food to eat. Portions are large.

9. Did I mention an expresso costs $8?

10. They have a light hand with salt, which I like.

11. They do turn tables on Friday and Saturday night, most of the tables do two covers. I saw this with my own eyes, and the waiter verified it. They seem to seat people as early as 5:00 on Sat.

12. The coooking is not fancy, dishes are simple and ingredents are few. You can taste everything, and it is delicate. I think that is one of the strengths of the style. It's almost like Japanese, in the sense that its almost sparten a little. There is also nothing to cover mistakes.

13. If you get the regular tasting menu, and the 5 flight of wine, and a bottle of water, and a coffee, and nothing else, it's around $450 a person with tax and tip. If you got three courses and ordered two bottles of the cheapest wines (at around $60 each), it's going to be about $300 with tax and tip.

14. Service is good and friendly.

15. You save money on breakfast the next day, they give you a brioche.

16. And in some weird pun, they give you carmels and lollipops.

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You're having trouble seeing it because it's underexposed and out of focus, but I posted the photo anyway because I thought it had informational value. Let me do the best I can to get closer in on what you're asking about:

gallery_122_337_1100812116.jpg

As I mentioned, we've now seen this dish in three versions, so I can't be sure, but I think it's all fish. I think the underlayer is a tuna and herb salad based on cooked tuna, and I think the pearly colored thing on top is a piece of raw fish with a little sauce drizzled on it. The dark lines around the edges are very old balsamic vinegar.

I ate this tonight. The dark lines are a blend of soy sauce and balsamic vinger (I asked). This is the current presentation, except that the pearly thing on top is now two pieces of vingered Japanese eggplant. The base is vegetable, not fish. It's eggplant and something else, I think mushroom, but I'll find my notes tomorrow.

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And see, my notes say it's avocado. So clearly both members of my family are out to lunch on the composition of that dish. It will be particularly amusing when the pearly thing on top turns out to be a turnip. Of course, we consider eggplant to be a fish in our household.

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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12.  The coooking is not fancy, dishes are simple and ingredents are few.  You can taste everything, and it is delicate.  I think that is one of the strengths of the style.  It's almost like Japanese, in the sense that its almost sparten a little.  There is also nothing to cover mistakes.

I iked this comment, Todd, and have found it useful in thinking about their cuisine.

Ellen, again, thanks for the photos. Just lovely.

FG, dude, you so funny.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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