This week Bruni files his highly anticipated assessment of Adour, Alain Ducasse's second attempt to woo New York. And while Ducasse's restaurant at Essex House provided just the kind of fussiness that Franktastic is known to loathe, this toned down version earns three stars:
"Now Mr. Ducasse is taking a new chance. He’s also possibly making amends, or at least that was my thought when, during my first dinner at Adour Alain Ducasse in the St. Regis New York, I spotted the little bagel. It came with and sat beside a sublime cauliflower velouté, having nothing, really, to do with it. So why was it there? Maybe as a peace offering, half genuine and half winking.And what of the fancy wine bar that got so much buzz when Adour opened? "I never found a spot at that altar. With just four seats, it has limited utility. It’s all about flash, proving that some of the old Ducasse still lives in the new." [NYT]
...Some diners have responded with yawns...If Adour is dull, it’s dull mainly in the context of what Mr. Ducasse previously attempted and what New Yorkers previously resisted. Can the man win? I think so, and I consider Adour a qualified victory. It’s not through-and-through rapturous, but it’s first-rate..."
Alan Richman checks out the tiny East Village wine bar Terroir and realizes it's ugly but happily overrun with ladies: "You know a place isn’t pretty when people from Brooklyn are sneering at it, and Terroir appears to have incorporated design elements from studio apartments, dorm rooms, and Ikea...The tiny place has 24 seats, most of them occupied all the time, and usually by young women...The few guys who have discovered this place don’t appear particularly suave, leaving plenty of opportunities for the rest of us." [GQ]
This week Robert Sietsema heads out to Bay Ridge to try an outpost of the restaurant Agnati, and he (or the copy editor) aptly though salaciously titles his piece "Eating Cock at Brooklyn Greco-Turk": "While nothing on the menu is entirely unfamiliar to fans of Greek and Turkish cooking, the reassortment of elements proves fascinating...King of the menu is a rooster stewed in tomato sauce ($16) and smothered in tiny serrated squares of pasta. Who'd believe that a tough old cock would cook up so juicy and flavorful?" [VV]
Jay Cheshes heads to West 8th St. to weigh in on Aktar Nawab's newest venture, Elettaria. He wants to love it but gives it a mixed review: "Nawab and his young brigade piece together a menu full of critic catnip, featuring nose-to-tail proteins and such of-the-moment ingredients as tapioca, pea leaves, sunchokes, and Szechuan pepper...despite the delicious promise of this eclectic bill of fare, its personality rarely comes through in the food. There’s an underlying timidity, and a work-in-progress inconsistency, to much that emerges from the kitchen." [TONY]
THE ELSEWHERE: Meehan files on Williamsburg arepas joint Shachis, Paul Adams hates the design but loves the food at Olana, Sarah DiGregorio at Elettaria, Tables for Two finally gets around to visiting Allen & Delancey, Richard Vines checks in on Gordan Ramsay at the London and Maze, and Gael Greene is at the UWS Argentinian spot La Rural.
THE BLOGS: Strongbuzz at Nizza, Gotham Gal dines at Robert De Niro's Ago, NY Journal follows Frank Bruni to Chop Suey, Writing with my Mouth Full goes to standby Esca, and Cleaned My Plate heads over to the unlikely choice, Ted's Montana Grill.
Image courtesy of the St. Regis Hotel