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#1 Wilfrid1

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 04:13 PM

Benoit in the former LCB space is set to open early next year, according to the Times, but there is some fresh news at last about the St Regis restaurant, which was originally announced as the follow-up to ADNY. The name is Adour, and it's sounding more and more like an upscale wine bar. Apparently, wine notes will somehow be electronically accessible in screens on the bar. Or something like that.
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#2 Salli Vates

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 04:26 AM

Exciting news! Thanks.

(I was thinking, if Chef Dominique Bouchet crossed the pond too, we'd have another "db" lawsuit, as Bouchet uses dishes monogrammed with "db.")

#3 R Washburn

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 01:55 PM

According to my source at the St. Regis the opening of "Adour" is being delayed until January.

#4 Wilfrid1

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 05:42 PM

I see some new posts online advertising staff positions. I think this is consistent with the previous post.
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#5 Wilfrid1

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 04:50 PM

It has been taking reservations for the last couple of days, a month in advance. Open Table reservations are easy, although somewhat restricted as to time. There's also a noisy and not terribly informative web site.
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#6 pixelchef

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 05:40 PM

QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Jan 1 2008, 11:50 AM) View Post
It has been taking reservations for the last couple of days, a month in advance. Open Table reservations are easy, although somewhat restricted as to time. There's also a noisy and not terribly informative web site.


Sounds too much like "Odour" to be taken seriously. The smell of failure. Should've called it Remix.

#7 Wilfrid1

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 06:23 PM

Benoit follows close on its heels. Ducasse has already failed twice in New York. I wonder how much patience his organization would have with further failure? I'd like to see Adour succeed; we have precious few worthwhile high-end destinations left.
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#8 Sneakeater

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 05:08 PM

You can't judge a restaurant by eating its limited bar menu the second day it's open.

But you can write unfounded shit on the internet about anything you want whenever you want. Hence this post.

Adour (in the former Lespinnase space in the St. Regis, on 55th off Fifth) is purportedly Alain Ducasse's attempt at an upper-midlevel (or lower-upper-level) "wine-oriented" restaurant. It has a tiny four-seat "wine bar" with a small area around it for people to stand and drink in, and what is described as a "lounge" but is really two or four unappealing booths in a hallway off the bar. (There's also a dining room, but this post is only about the bar.)

I wonder how seriously Adour takes the wine bar as a place people might actually go. When I entered Adour and told the host at the desk that some friends were waiting for me at the bar, he directed me not to the Adour wine bar but rather to the St. Regis's famous lobby bar, the King Cole Bar (which you can access out the side of the restaurant). I was left to find the wine bar on my own. The happy by-product of this is that even though my dining companions reached the (actual Adour wine) bar about 45 minutes before I did, they were able to hold a seat for me at the empty bar until I arrived there. Of course, the Adour wine bar won't remain empty for long.

The wine bar has gotten a lot of press for the computerized wine lists (and bar snack menus) that are projected onto the surface of the bar in front of each customer. You access information on the list by waving your finger over it. Or, at least, you're supposed to. I'm inept and uncoordinated, so it's probably no surprise that I was unable to make it work right. But neither were my presumably able and coordinated dining companions. I'm told the restaurant acknowledges that some bugs need to be ironed out. As of now, the computer list is a major annoyance. (They have a hard copy, but interestingly, it was missing some items on the computer list.)

The by-the-glass selection is better than decent, but less than fabulous. Prices are on the high side of reasonable, but reasonable nonetheless -- nothing like the sheer thievery of the Atelier Robuchon list.

An interesting thing is that, instead of half-bottles, they offer a wide range of carafes poured from full bottles (or maybe -- I think this is more likely -- from Magnums). This gives solo diners a broader range of choices. I had a glass of an extremely delicious sparkling pear cider from Normandy to start ($17), and then a carafe of 2004 Talbot with my snacks ($75).

Some of the snacks are small versions of dinner menu items; some aren't, but rather are purpose-made. Prices, as best as I recall (and I may well be wrong) hover around $20 (?). In quality, the bar snacks were all over the place -- except none I had was great. They ranged from a Lobster Thermidor tartlette (not very good) to skewered lamb "lollipops" (lamb insufficiently flavorful; topping too sweet) to a skewered pork belly dish that I liked quite a lot, mainly because of the boudin noir that was placed on top of the pork belly on the skewer. My dining companions thought their best dish was a truffled scallop preparation that I didn't try.

Nothing I had was transcendent or even approaching transendent.

Except dessert.

You know, we can all enjoy the explorations of the new generation of pastry chefs, but when you come down to it, one place that traditional French haute cuisine continues to kick ass is the desserts. I had something described as "thin layers of chocolate" with an orangey-but-not-orange (maybe mandarin?) preserve and I think some ganache or something, and it was great, just great. They comped us another dessert -- the "house-made" chocolates platter -- and at least one item -- passion-fruit filling encased in a mixture of milk chocolate and a little white chocolate -- was amazing. The macarons -- alternately chocolate and raspberry -- were perfect.

Throughout the meal, Chef Ducasse could be seen flitting about the house. I don't assume he touched anything I ate. A parade of Industry and Food Media luminaries also tramped through the bar on their way to tables in the dining room.

I guess I'd have to say that, apart from the splendid company of my dining companions, bar dining at Adour was a disappointment. I think Grayz does a better job at haute bar snacks. I don't think this is much of a reflection on the dining room, however, which I am still eager to try. So take the above for what it's worth.

COMP DISCLOSURE: Aside from gifting us with an extra dessert, they left my sparking pear cider off my bill and didn't put it on when I pointed their error out to them. I'm pretty sure the error was unintentional, though.
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#9 Wilfrid1

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 05:28 PM

I remain dumbfounded that the electronic wine-list, which has been the subject of press releases for months, is installed at a four-seat bar.

Since the wine list at ADNY was felonous, it's good to hear the news about the prices. I am worried about the lobster thermidor tart, though, as a full portion of the dish weighs in at $48.
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#10 Sneakeater

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 05:30 PM

I'm only talking about the by-the-glass prices.

Given my extreme difficulties navigating the wine list, I didn't even try to look at the full bottles.
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#11 Wilfrid1

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 05:32 PM

A good sign, nonetheless, as glass prices are often the worst offenders.
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#12 oakapple

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 05:50 PM

I tried the electronic menu on Monday night, and I had the same troubles with it that Sneakeater did. I'm an I.T. professional with an affinity for gadgets, but I gave up. So did other people I spoke to. Although the Ducasse team may tweak it, I suspect the electronic menu will never be good enough that the average patron will prefer it to a printed list. People coming to a bar—especially the clientele that this kind of place is likely to attract—don't want to learn a new technology before they can order.

Though I didn't look at anything like the whole wine list, I thought that the prices were, in relation to the overall level of the restaurant, quite reasonable.
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#13 nuxvomica

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 03:18 AM

QUOTE(oakapple @ Jan 30 2008, 05:50 PM) View Post
People coming to a bar—especially the clientele that this kind of place is likely to attract—don't want to learn a new technology before they can order.

but from what i observed last night, it's used often as entertainment for those waiting for a table but not necessarily drinking at the bar

the whole promotion of the interactive wine list for a 4-seat bar is ridiculous. ridiculous! the very idea makes me want to scream.

having read oakapple's report (and working with restaurants hence expecting early-day screwups) i was ready for for things malfunctioning (it's all about the expectations, isn't it?) the staff turned off the system after a while, afraid that we were annoyed by it. we weren't. but they still comped our first round of wine (damn, i should have had that Talbot instead! wasn't it '03 though?) oh, and the bar staffer was more than willing to do the finger-pointing (in company speak: "making magic") for you. without the graphics and magic, the bar is a basic school-room tabletop.

the dishes i'd definitely NOT recommend were the hamachi - warmer than room temp. the geo duck on it pointless - didn't tell me anything new about either hamachi or geo duck. or radishes and mustard seeds either and ricotta gnocchi with black truffles. the supposed gnocchi were more like large ricotta quenelles covered with all sorts of debris - bits of parmesan, crispy (but weirdly textured) ham bits, bottom-of-the-leaf pieces of baby romaine (with the rib) - the latter struck me as completely incongruous. the sauce was very green and very lemony tasting. the menu said the sauce was sherry (i think?i might be wrong). more thongs scattered over the place. we ate it because we were hungry. none of it with pleasure. didn't get what they were possibly going for. either the execution was seriously off or the dishes are ill-conceived.

i didn't love the pork belly so much - although it was better on its own, with boudin noir and some sweet stuff on top, it just wasn't for me. ditto the lamb. i did like the scallop the best. with black truffles and something green and red (yes, it did almost look like an Italian flag) - pretty AND good.

Sneak, you missed out on the amuse (Comte & bechamel in pastry nests) and bread (very good sourdough and mini baguette, an decent green olive bread) - we did ask for the bread. The service was attentive (except when she wasn't there).

i looked at the dinner menu. i'd like to try the sweetbreads and sauteed foie (not the foie gras tapioca ravioli in broth). the mains are all in the 30s & 40s, iirc. makes most of the wines by the glass seem positively bargain-priced. very nice Greek white from Sigalas for $11 and Alsatian Pinot Gris i loved for $13, a couple of reds in that range too (nice robust Rousillion) - the wines are definitely more reasonablly prices than at Robuchon and the pours are fairly decent.

the food though, yikes. highly disappointing. i heard the cheese is nothing like ADNY either (no cart, just a plating of 4).

very curious to see what full dinner reports will be like.
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#14 Sneakeater

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 05:41 AM

QUOTE(nuxvomica @ Jan 31 2008, 03:18 AM) View Post
(damn, i should have had that Talbot instead! wasn't it '03 though?)


The list said 2003. The server said 2004. I didn't see the bottle (they weren't about to carry a magnum to the bar to show me) so I don't know which to believe.

QUOTE(nuxvomica @ Jan 31 2008, 03:18 AM) View Post
Sneak, you missed out on the amuse (Comte & bechamel in pastry nests)


Actually, I didn't. I just ate mine so quickly that you didn't notice I had them.
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#15 Wilfrid1

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 03:05 PM

I am intrigued by the thongs on the plate... huh.gif
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