Adour: Alain Ducasse at St. Regis
Celebrating my brother’s 23rd birthday early, as he is a newly minted MBA/CPA-certified auditor at a prestigious Midtown firm, my parents and I thought it was a good idea to go to Adour: Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis New York. It’s been awarded as a 1* Michelin restaurant and the NY Times back in 2008 granted them a 3* rating. I reserved a table and hoped that it’s good during Restaurant Week given to what it’s been awarded.
Arriving early before my parents and brother, I checked in with the hostess, lingered at their interactive wine bar (impressive wine list) and had a drink. It’s small for what I was imagining. It seats four people with a pair of plush upholstered chairs along the glass encased wine wall.
As more people poured into the bar, I requested to be seated at the table and wait for the rest of my party to arrive there. As the hostess escorted me, I ogled at the three of the four dining rooms within Adour. They’re beautifully done with dark wood and burgundy-striped leather banquettes that feels opulent French.
When my family joined me, we made the waiter’s life easy by ordering one of each dish (with the exception of having an extra since there’s only three dishes for each course).
Bread service was generally fine but it was ill timed as it came with the amuse bouche. Anyway, the baguette and olive roll were good. The Vermont butter was my mother’s favorite as she strangely eaten a lot of butter than I’ve seen during my entire lifetime of eating out with her.
As for the amuse bouche of tomato gazpacho with basil foam was quite a palate awake up call. The clear tomato broth was intensely acidic and refreshing.
My first course of chilled English pea velouté was very pleasing. It’s creamy yet light, sweet pea flavor mingled with little bits of sweet pearl onions.
The risotto of zucchini and calamari would have been the best first course but it was over salted. Overlooking the salt issue, the risotto is creamy and cheesy with chunks of sweet zucchini and crispy, tender calamari.
The local fluke ceviche was good. The fluke was tender and fresh and the citrusy zing was appreciated. The avocado slices added a slight creaminess and the slices of jicama added some textural crunch.
Moving onto the second course, the males of my family had the beef tournedos and glazed short ribs. The dish was hearty, tender, and unctuously rich from fatty cuts of beef. I would deem it more appropriate for the winter than summer. This was the best of the three dishes served for this course.
The olive oil poached Chatham cod was a solid fish dish as the fish was cooked perfectly and the sauce was flavored with the mussels.
The most dismal dish of the evening was the slow cooked organic salmon. The salmon was overcooked and everything was insipid. I thought the vegetables were flavorful and interesting compared to the dish. It’s really unfortunate.
Moving onto dessert, the dark chocolate sorbet was candlelit for my brother’s special occasion. This heavily gold leafed dessert was meant to be a play on crème brulée with sorbet and ice cream except it’s not cold enough. The gilded chocolate shell was thin but not cold enough to be crack the surface of crème brulée and the chocolate sorbet innards were melted. Also, this dessert was a huge serving that can easily feed two people.
The caramel leaf dessert was very good and thankfully, not huge nor gilded as much. This particular dessert was flavorful as the salted caramel ice cream has a good depth of flavor and the dark chocolate and crispy hazelnut praline base added some texture and complimented the caramel ice cream.
The best dessert was the exotic contemporary vacherin. Presented in an overgrown martini glass, it sweetly perfumed the air with passionfruit and mango as the servers brought it to our table. Digging into the layers of passionfruit, mango and lime gelee, my entire table was loving every spoon we dug in. Even my parents fought for the last bites and my father isn’t really a dessert person. This was truly a “masterpiece” as Bruni mentioned in his article.
The petit fours were served with the desserts. The macaron flavors were dark chocolate and coconut with a fruit filling. They were decent but it’s not as good as the ones I had in Paris (Adour does sell macarons.) They are light with a crisp shell with airy crumb but the flavors of the filling aren’t intense like Pierre Hermé or Ladurée that I had a few months ago. As for the chocolates, they were made of good quality chocolate (my tastebuds are hinting Valhrona) and were filled with a caramel center or raspberry ganache; both were fine.
Overall, this restaurant was a decent experience for Restaurant Week. Service was rushed from second course on and the only memorable courses was dessert and the beef tournedos dish. If I were to return to this restaurant, I would order desserts and a nightcap or a glass of wine.