Adour, Alain Ducasse's totally new concept in New York

Right in the very heart of New York City, in Midtown Manhattan, Alain Ducasse offers us a new joyfull experience with his nascent Adour Restaurant. Located at the Saint Regis Hotel between Fifth Avenue and Madison, this truly prestigious address lives up to all expectations. However, it is with the unique gastronomic concept of placing wine in the spotlight that is attracting all the attention.

Flashback on the road to a successful strategy

Initially the idea was to create a wine bar, but with profitability as the bottom line, a new concept of pairing wine with a perfectly complementary cuisine grew from the original premise. Wine became the starting point, with food as the accompaniment, and not the other way around! For the first time, sommelier Thomas Combescot and Tony Esnault, the former chef of Essex House, have created subtle dishes that harmonize perfectly with the vintage red and white wines on the wine list, resulting in a unique combination, that enhances the flavors of the fine fare while allowing the richness and tradition of the wines to speak for themselves. A novel concept has seen the light of day!

An elegant and friendly setting

The elegant and refined décor adds to the experience. As soon as you walk through the restaurant entrance, you find yourself in a hall decked in leather, a bronze sculpture, with hand-blown glass balls hanging from the ceiling and a Lilliputian bar covered with ostrich skins. And this is where AlainDucasse's ingenious idea begins to manifest iteself by giving his customers a chance to enjoy the innovative, fun service of an interactive sommelier who appears on a screen on the counter. With a light touch of the hand, you can swiftly learn the ABCs of fine wine.

Luxury wine chests

The interactive sommelier principle can also be found in one of the salons dedicated to wine. Here the same kind of tactile screen has been set up around a table that seats about a dozen guests. Even more ingenious, guests have the option to rent a personal and refrigerated wine chest, for the modest sum of $ 6000 or $ 9000 yearly. These leather-covered chests placed in glass-fronted cabinets, contain some dozen bottles. What could be more exquisite than to come here with your friends to savour your own wine, served by the sommelier.

Little salons that lend themselves to intimacy and sipping wine

The room dedicated to wine opens onto a star-shaped, semi-circular space, designed and decorated by David Rockwell. The ceiling and walls which have retained their fine arts structure are silver-plated and show traces of the former Lespinasse restaurant. The central room, a true hymn to wine, gives off an air of intimacy with only a few table settings. The small, cozy salons which are conducive to intimate exchanges and tête-à-têtes, fan out around the restaurant. There is no formal and stuffy service here, rather you will find friendliness and openness. Famous artists such as Nancy Lorenz have left their marks on the works here.

This is a restaurant, Alain Ducasse-fashion, in tune with the times and with its own style of modernity, not too pompous and where culinary and oenological excellence is in the spotlight. We can safely guess that this new concept will be exported to Europe!


Octobre 2008

My opinion:
A totally new and exciting concept. Here you can dine without formality in a friendly atmosphere, by having a quick snack accompanied by a great vintage by the glass. This gives you the ineffable chance to taste wines that are often inaccessible or normally only served by the bottle. Divine dishes, excellent wines, a very pleasant decor, without any hustle and bustle, and a fairly reasonable bill.

photos (c) E.Laignel 

The Saint Régis New York
2 East 55 th at Fith avenue
T: +33 212 710 22 77