Adour Adoration

I never have a problem turning my birthday into a birth-month, and last night Jimmy and Dan contributed to the cause by taking me to Adour Alain Ducasse in the St. Regis New York. They'd treated each other to birthdays there and I heard the raves, so it was exciting to see what it was all about.

Jimmy told me the bar was unusual, so I arrived a bit early to check it out. Sure enough, it's probably the coolest bar I've ever seen. I want one. The top of the bar is an interactive wine list activated by a motion-sensitive projection. It has a drop down wine list offering all sorts of information, and you can even share your discoveries with the person next to you--click "share," and a little rosette of knowledge magically zooms to the spot next to you. It's incredibly fun and kind of mind-blowing, since you don't even have to touch anything to activate the selections. Frankly, the bar itself makes the restaurant a worthwhile adventure. I felt like I'd walked into a wonderful moment somewhere in the future.

Oh, and at the bartender's suggestion I ordered a Provençal rosé as an aperitif. After a hot day on Governors Island, it was perfectly refreshing.

When Jimmy and Dan arrived we popped over to our table and commenced our three-plus hour meal (sorry...I decided to enjoy myself and not be the obnoxious food photographer...). The dynamic duo spied a bottle of white Corsican wine, which was a fabulous choice and unlike anything we'd ever had. As we perused our menus, three light and crispy Gougères appeared on the table (yum). And after ordering, we were served a palate-cleansing cucumber granita, refreshing and slightly spicy.

I excitedly discussed sweetbreads--which I'd never had--with the waiter, and he convinced me that I'd love them. So, for a starter I ordered the Sweetbread "Meunière" with an "Egg Purse" (a poached egg), wild mushrooms, vegetables, and a veal reduction. All three of us are now sweetbread converts, and I actually think they're the perfect starting point for those wanting to branch out a little. The flavor is less strong then liver and kidney, and the meat melts in your mouth. At Adour, eaten in the suggested fashion (the waiter told me to combine everything on the plate), it was an incredibly full experience that hit just about every part of the palate.

The other apps were wonderful as well: Jimmy ordered the heirloom tomatoes (which actually kind of made me sad, as some of them were the variety we were growing in Beacon before the blight killed our plants), and Dan had the absolutely amazing Citrus Marinated Hamachi, served with bits of preserved lemon (a fabulous idea, and I'm stealing it).

For our main courses, I had the Butter Poached Maine Lobster (quite the treat and my first lobster of the season), Jimmy had the halibut with razor clams (casino style, which melted in your mouth) and calamari, and Dan went for the Prime Beef Rib-eye "au sautoir" with chanterelles, "onion condiment," and wonderful little pomme souffle (kind of the potato version of puri). Everything was perfectly wonderful, and Dan even liked the lobster (he's admittedly not the biggest fan).

Feeling absolutely perfect (the portions were happily small), we made dessert decisions. Warned we would receive some complimentary macarons (which were like air) and chocolates with whatever else we ordered, I decided to go for a dessert wine, and at the waiter's suggestion I chose a red sparkling (again, I don't remember what it was...I need to write this stuff down...). Jimmy and Dan had espresso and shared the "Contemporary Exotic Vecherin," an artistically-served meringue with an extraordinarily aromatic concoction of mango marmalade, coconut, and foamy passion fruit emulsion.

We worked some sort of cheerful magic, too, because the waiter gave us all the wine I'd ordered (not once, but twice). We sat, chatted, and were content.

Adour gets six thumbs up. I'll have to save up to go back--or at least treat myself to another trip to the magical bar!

Thanks guys, for the awesome treat!

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