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First Look: Adour by Alain Ducasse


Note: Click here for a full review of Adour.

Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis opened this evening. I stopped in for a drink at the bar, where another patron informed me I was the sixth customer.

The electronic menus have received most of the press. You find your wine by navigating a touch screen that displays on the surface of the bar, projected from above. To get to Burgundy reds, for instance, you’d tap “Wines,” then “Red,” then “France,” then “Burgundy,” and then you can scroll down the list. For any given wine, you can retrieve tasting notes, producer history, and so forth.

It sounds good in theory, but the mechanism is finicky. If your touch is off by even a little, the mechanism misbehaves. After a while, I just gave up, and I noticed that others were frustrated too. I don’t think bar patrons—even at a high-class bar like this one—want to learn a new technology just to order a glass of wine. Within six months, I suspect they’ll be back to traditional paper and ink.

Selections by the glass were ample, and I enjoyed a wonderful Southern Rhone blend for $13, along with a cup of Yuzu Sorbet for just $4. If you’re thinking that those don’t sound like Ducasse prices, you’d be right.

There are about a dozen bar snacks, ranging from $9–16. It’s a remarkable selection at a bar that seats only four, and the guys next to me loved everything they tried. One of them was so taken with the Yuzu Sorbet that he asked the manager if the restaurant could supply a quantity for his Super Bowl party. (The manager replied that he was not sure the pastry chef could have quite enough of it made by Sunday.)

In the main restaurant, there are nine appetizers priced from $17–29, ten entrées at $32–49, and six desserts at $14. The cheese course is $22, and the five-course tasting menu is $110. Though clearly not bargain-priced, this is still a good deal less than the predecessor restaurant at the Essex House, where the prix fixe was $150 and the tasting menu $225.

I’m looking forward to dining there in two weeks’ time.

Adour Alain Ducasse (2 E. 55th Street at Fifth Avenue in the St. Regis Hotel, East Midtown)

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