Adour by Alain Ducasse – One Glamorous Night

I have great taste in restaurants. This isn’t natural – it isn’t like having great taste in food. It is work. It is reading blogs, posting on message boards, and poring over menus. It is calling a place every day for a week at exactly 9 AM to get a reservation, and it is budgeting both appetite and wallet carefully in preparation for the big night.
Okay, it might not be brick laying, but it’s work.
And when someone else takes the reins…I am utterly shocked.
Which brings me to my decadent Valentine’s Day date.

Since this meal was a complete surprise to me, I had no idea what the restaurant would look like or what the food would taste like. I knew only that it is located in the glitzy St. Regis hotel, specializes in fine French cuisine, and that Alain Ducasse is the executive chef.
The room itself is exquisite – a jewel box of a room. Elegant and extremely luxe, this is not the place to wear slacks. Ladies, throw on some heels, and fellas, bring a coat.


Torchon de Foie Gras with Apple and Date Marmalade and Toasted Baguette
Seared foie gras is my favorite food on the planet. Foie in torchon form, where it is lightly poached, then served chilled or room temperature, is a definite second place. It is more one dimensional in flavor and can have a somewhat sinewy texture, since it is very hard to devein- properly.
This changes all that.
The entire torchon is as smooth as butter, with just enough give without being soft. The genius in this dish lies not only in its expert texture and rich taste, but in its perfect seasoning. This is one of the most highly seasoned torchons I have ever eaten, and the results are amazing. The pepper brings out the meat’s sweetness, and the salt brings out the savory, umami tones of the torchon. The accompanying marmalade cuts through the fat of the meat and the baguette is airy, its warmth melting the foie. The greens add a final, crisp note to this perfect torchon.


Red Snapper “Vapeur” Fennel Fondant, Piperade Pauce
An evenly thick piece of snapper, beautifully filleted with nary a bone. Steamed until it is flaky on the outside and just barely opaque within, so it remains moist and soft. It sits on a pool of luscious piperade sauce, made with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic. This Basque sauce manages to be zesty-spicy without being hot-spicy. It’s earthy, fragrant notes anchor the delicate fish and give it body. The fennel, sweet and licorice-y, adds a final sweet note to this savory dish. This could not have been prepared more perfectly.

Venison Medallion Poiverade with Roasted Chestnuts, Butternut Squash, and Root Vegetables
Having never tried venison before, ordering this was a no brainer for me. It is tender, but has a bit of chew – similar in texture to duck, but with the deep taste of boar. It tastes wild and earthy, much richer than beef but with that same full, rich flavor. At the same time, it is incredibly lean – I polished off almost this whole plate with no feelings of grease or fat overload. The seasoning is minimal to allow the venison’s natural flavor to shine through. The poivearade sauce is thick and glossy, with the texture of maple syrup and a taste similar to the rind of pastrami – peppery and herbaceous. The vegetables are delicious  -sweet chestnuts, buttery squash, tiny perfect beets, but nothing outshines the venison.

Colorado Lamb “Persillade” with Confit Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Potato Gaufrette, and Scallions
This is my boyfriend’s dish, and though I didn’t try it, it received rave reviews. Of particular mention is how beautifully each of these plates is presented. Each is a work of art -not a spot of demi glace out of place, not a lettuce leaf anything but pristine. The meat is butchered to perfection, the vegetables are trimmed to look like jewels, and the tableware itself is designed to showcase the color and aroma of the food before you even take a bite.

Dark Chocolate Sorbet with Buttered Brioche Croutons, Chocolate Sauce, and Gold Leaf
A thin disc of intensely cocoa-flavored chocolate (very dark and very rich) covers sweet vanilla creme brulee and creamy chocolate sorbet, icy cold and sweeter than it’s chocolate sheath. The hot chocolate sauce melts the disc, mixing hot and cold, sharp and soft, bitter and sweet all in one bite. The croutons add crunch to what has to be the most delicious chocolate dessert I have ever eaten.

Apple Sable with Granny Smith Sorbet, Calvados Emulsion, and Vanilla Cream
The world’s most elegant apple cobbler. Creamy sorbet so tart it is almost sour sits directly above apples that are caramelized deeply so that they fall apart, laden with sugar and butter. The cookie beneath the apples is perfect in its simplicity – more buttery than sugar, more crumbly than crisp. The Calvados emulsion is foamy and light, adding a slight alcoholic tang to the sweet, sour, delicious dessert.

I can’t do a wrap up of this meal like I usually do. I don’t know how much it cost. I didn’t go in with any expectations. And, quite frankly, I was too dazzled by the surprise of it all to care.
What I do remember is the delicious food. The unobtrusive, but ever watchful service. The romance of the place.
If you want your date to feel like royalty, take him or her here. Order the foie gras. And sit back and enjoy the look on your date’s face as (s)he realizes all of the work and planning of the evening has already been done. All that is left is to enjoy.
Which anyone surely will.
Sometimes, it’s its delightful to take the backseat.
Adour (St. Regis) on Urbanspoon

Comments

  1. JustinM says:

    So many comments to make about that last line.

  2. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Justin-hahahaha! Didn't realize it till now, but now it's way too good to change!

  3. Sarah says:

    Such a lovely post! And such a romantic Valentines Day. I approve!

    I spent my Valentine's night at Max's, indulging in lasagna and wine. Then, ate far too many mini pastries from Veniero's. This gal is easy to please ;)

    xx

  4. Feisty Foodie says:

    Damn. That's all I can say is damn.

  5. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Sarah-if i got the approval of my #soulmate, i know it really was a great date! ;)
    @Yvo-agreed ;)

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