I meant to write about my dinner at Adour Alain Ducasse ages ago, but I’ve been very busy making movies. Before production on my film started, (back when I had a life) my mother, my brother, his lovely girlfriend Ashley and I took out Kuei Ya-Lei, a dear family friend and the actress who played my mother.
M. Ducasse has more Michelin stars than you can shake a stick at and was one of the first celebrity chefs to build his own global empire. So Adour has an impressive and venerable name attached to it and is located in a luxurious hotel in a part of town some might describe as “tony.”
But like so many beautiful, well-bred Upper East Siders with a certain pedigree, it’s also a bit dull. The food was well-executed but excessively polite. It was like going on a date with a girl with perfectly blow-out hair, perfectly manicured nails and perfect manners and secretly wishing she were just a little dangerous, even a bit messy and unpredictable.
While the food wasn’t that exciting, the upside of all that excessive politeness is excellent service. They were kind enough to set aside the private room in the back for us. Something feels extra special about eating in the place where they keep the wine. It’s like being backstage at a concert.
We had the tasting menu, each dish competently (if not terribly creatively) cooked:
– CITRUS MARINATED HAMACHI
HEARTS OF CELERY, CORIANDER, PRESERVED LEMON
-GLAZED MULTICOLORWINTER VEGETABLES
JUS DE CUISSON, NAVETTE OIL
-OLIVE OIL POACHED CHATHAM BAY COD
IN THE STYLE OF CHOWDER, POTATO CONFIT, CLAMS, PARSLEY
-MILLBROOK FARMS VENISON SADDLE
AUTUMN VEGETABLES AND FRUITS, SAUCE POIVRADE
While the meal itself was pleasant enough, the real star was the table captain, a woman in a pantsuit with the poise, diction and sensible haircut of a CNN anchor. She was polite, knowledgeable, accommodating and incredibly attentive.
The only major misstep the staff committed was mixing up the number of rare venison saddles, which left the majority of the table with meat cooked at the wrong temperature. It was a pretty big gaffe for a restaurant like that, but it was rectified quickly and graciously. I was apparently the only one bothered enough to ask for a new one and was assured by the captain, in an unwaveringly confident voice that would make Christiane Amanpour envious, that the executive chef was preparing a new one for me personally.
Dessert was probably the most titillating course of the meal, the only one that didn’t seem to play it so safe. The “CONTEMPORARY EXOTIC VACHERIN” was tart, flavorful and full of whimsical textures- foamy in some parts, creamy in others.
And while it was less innovative, I also enjoyed the ROASTED HAZELNUT SOUFFLÉ: crunchy little bits of hazelnut between hot, pillowy layers of souffle.
The macaroons and chocolates at the end were also quite lovely and the ones we didn’t finish were given to me in a gold box that resembled a treasure chest.
Adour isn’t the most exciting restaurant in the world, but it sure knows how to treat a girl right.