Good Times for High and Low in This Week’s IssueThese are high times we’re living in. Every stratum of society has something going for it. On the tippy top, the wine-swilling swells who frequent Adour can enjoy what, in Adam Platt’s view, is three-star cuisine. And their fellow plutocrats will enjoy South Gate’s posh but lively room and Gael Greene–approved food (well, except for the clams). But for the rest of us, Rob and Robin have a panoply of awarding options: There are the spring-inspired rhubarb hamantaschen made by Emily Isaac at Trois Pommes Patisserie; an interview the Robs did with Momofuku man Joaquin Baca, who now is doing the menu for world-class dive bar the Rusty Knot; and, adding to this embarrassment of riches, takeout sweets from Pichet Ong’s Batch, and a very appealing-sounding little Tuscan restaurant on Bleecker Street. On top of everything else, crackling is the latest snack trend. Good times, friends. Good times.
Amy Ruth’s Taking Her Sweet Time in Brooklyn; Adour? OkayDowntown Brooklyn: So much for a Valentine’s Day debut: Amy Ruth’s at the Fulton Mall isn’t even open yet. [Lost City]
Hamptons: Restaurant Week begins March 20. Bargain meals at close to 70 participating restaurants seems like a good excuse to take advantage of any lodging bargains before warm weather sets in. [Restaurant Girl]
Meatpacking District: Florent plans to give up the ghost on a high note, on Gay Pride Day at the end of June. [NYP]
Midtown East: Citysearch calls Ducasse’s food at Adour “comme ci, comme ça.” [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
West Village: The Beatrice team might expand to L.A. [Down by the Hipster]
The Other Critics
Bar Boulud, Loved at Last; Cuozzo Not on the Dovetail Bandwagon“It’s a new era, and Bar Boulud belongs to it.” That’s why, even though the hot items are mostly “snoozers,” the restaurant deserves two stars. Another Zeitgeist review from Frank Bruni. [NYT]
Steve Cuozzo doesn’t give out stars, but if he did, he wouldn’t be giving three to Dovetail, whose stellar critical reception he recapitulates in a forceful, acerbic review. “The Times’ Frank Bruni, who found ‘drab’ décor at Anthos a reason to deny that truly original, forward-Greek place three stars, overlooked Dovetail’s butt-ugly brown palette to exult over the likes of — holy cow! — monkfish and lobster on the same plate.” [NYP]
Writing on his GQ blog, Alan Richman obliterates Brasserie Les Halles, but why? Who was thinking about it, anyway? And who thought it was good? The review seems conceived as a blow against Tony Bourdain, but it does him no harm. [GQ]
The Other Critics
Wylie Wins Respect for Molecular Gastronomy With a Third Star; Bar BouludIn a landmark for molecular gastronomy in America, the movement’s top proponent, Wylie Dufresne, gets his third star for wd-50. A historic review, especially as Frank Bruni expresses the usual reservations about overly cerebral cooking. [NYT]
Bar Boulud finally gets some respect from Alan Richman, who praises its blue-ribbon charcuterie and says of its much-maligned mains, “The worst that can be said…is that the recipes are relentlessly conventional — lamb stew, roasted chicken, boudin blanc. The best is that such a style of cooking is terribly missed.” [GQ]
Restaurant Girl seems to have been distinctly unimpressed with about half of the dishes she tried at Adour, resulting in a lukewarm, two-and-a-half-star review. Ducasse’s latest is not getting off to a great start. [NYDN]
The Annotated Dish
Adour’s Elegant Fish-and-Shellfish Double-deckerAdour, Alain Ducasse’s much-discussed “wine bar,” has opened, and as our profile last month suggested, it’s not so much a bar as a more casual version of Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, the chef’s buttoned-up former venture. Today, we break down one of Adour’s debut dishes, striped bass and shellfish in a vin jaune d’Arbois sauce — a variation on a Ducasse classic created by his New York chef, Tony Esnault. As always, mouse over the different elements to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
The Other Critics
Le Cirque Back in the Three-Star Club; It’s La Belle Epoque Again at Who says Frank Bruni has no heart? After demoting Le Cirque last year, Bruni restores the third star, courtesy largely to new chef Christophe Bellanca’s masterly handling of ultraluxe ingredients and, of course, the Maccioni family’s trademark feudal service. [NYT]
Maybe you don’t consider the salmon at Dovetail “a religious experience,” the way Restaurant Girl does, but everyone seems to agree with Adam Platt that it’s a very fine restaurant and outrageously good for the Upper West Side. [NYDN]
Related: This Dove Flies
Ryan Sutton has filed the first review of Adour, and he makes it sound, at least to anachronistically minded readers, truly awesome. Did you know Adour is serving lobster thermidor? Lobster thermidor! In this day and age! Sutton is also impressed by the virtual wine list, as most other visitors have been. [Bloomberg]
Edible Jewelry for ‘Commitmentphobes’; Midtown East Welcomes AdourEast Village: TKettle owner Andy Pan is still waiting for his partner BBQ Chicken to open, but “it’s killing me softly,” he says.
[Eat for Victory/VV]
Little Italy: Send a mixed signal to your love this Valentine’s Day with a candy ring from Papabubble. [TONY]
Lower East Side: Tomorrow night at Suba is a pata negra feast, which includes dishes made with “Ossabaw Island hogs, the ‘long lost cousin of the Pata Negra’” paired with Spanish wines. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Midtown East: Initial reactions to Adour are already mostly positive, but no one else has noticed the specially reserved handbag seating, yet. [Eater]
Rockefeller Center: On Friday from 3:30 to 6 p.m., Morrell is hosting a tasting of La Caravelle Grand Cru to celebrate the Champagne’s ten-year anniversary. [Snack]
Your Handbag Gets Seated at AdourWhen Alain Ducasse opened at the Essex House in 2000, not only was it an important culinary moment for the city, it was a great day for handbags. In his quest to civilize an unruly New York dining public, the detail-obsessed restaurateur had equipped each table with a red-velvet-upholstered footstool upon which women could give their precious clutches a proper stage, rather than just dump them on the floor like an old Duane Reade shopping bag.
A New Food Emporium at South Street Seaport?; Join a CSA TodayConsultant Clark Wolf is in a rush to open artisanal-food stalls across from the old Fulton Fish Market by Memorial Day, but apparently this has nothing to do with the proposed New Amsterdam Public market. [Insatiable Critic]
Related: Batali Shows a Little Leg to Sex Up New Amsterdam Public
A lawsuit between a Queens Chinese restaurant and CW11, regarding Kaity Tong’s reporting on a mouse allegedly found in the food, is close to being thrown out since the lawyers can’t prove any malice on the newscaster’s part. [NYP]
Grant Achatz, star chef of Chicago’s Alinea, may have beat his tongue cancer, but his sense of taste may not return for a year or two. [WSJ]
Keith McNally Sued; Huckabee Serves Clam Chowder in New HampshireAccording to a new class-action suit being brought against Keith McNally, servers at Pastis and Balthazar were forced to foot the bill for customers who walked out on their checks, in addition to being denied minimum wage. [NYP]
Frank Bruni, like many other critics, believes a restaurant’s chicken dishes speak volumes about its overall quality. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
E-mails sent by Starbucks Corp. managers reveal their efforts to prevent unionizing among their employees, although labor experts say the activity is not illegal. [WSJ]
Kerry Heffernan’s South Gate Slated for February OpeningWhatever happened to 154 South Gate, the restaurant helmed by Eleven Madison Park’s Kerry Heffernan that will fill the void left by Alain Ducasse’s old eatery in the Essex House? Turns out it’s going to be called just South Gate and will go into the space that was formerly Café Botanica. The latest from maître d’ Marc Mover is that it will start taking reservations around January 15, will start serving friends and family the week after that, and will open to the public on the first week of February. (Ducasse’s new venture, Adour, is scheduled to open January 28.) Unsurprisingly, Mover describes the menu as “greenmarket — fresh produce, local farmers, American style with a little bit of French influence or infusion.” And so the Haute Barnyard tear continues…
Earlier: Decent Tables Still Available for Ducasse’s Opening Night
‘Top Chef’ Bitch Opens Restaurant; Gordo Looking for VictimsFormer Top Chef contestant Dave “don’t call me a bitch, bitch” Martin (Season One) has opened his own restaurant on West 42nd Street called Crave, and he’s serving comfort food. [Zagat]
Hakata Tonton is bringing its love of pig’s feet to the West Village — even dessert has the collagen-packed delicacy. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Alain Ducasse’s wine bar Adour at the St. Regis Hotel is set to open in January. [Decanter]
Related: Essex House and St. Regis Restaurants: Maybe Next Year!
Grape Nuts [NYM]
Essex House and St. Regis Restaurants: Maybe Next Year!A Times restaurant preview had Alain Ducasse’s latest, Adour, opening at the St. Regis Hotel in late November. Also slated to open its doors this month was the restaurant that’s replacing Ducasse’s old joint in the Essex House: 154 South Gate, helmed by former 11 Madison Park chef Kerry Heffernan. In the spirit of competition, we were curious to see if Ducasse could open Ardour before his Essex House replacement—but folks on the inside have informed us that everyone will be waiting ‘til at least next year to see either place cross the finish line. Adour is poised to open late January; no official date is set for 154 South Gate, though hotel sources said it’s also looking more like January. For now, we regretfully release our sweaty grip on our stopwatches.
This concludes your Future Fine Dining update.
Related: Here Come the Chefs