Culinary bad boy Anthony Bourdain lends a certain level of intimidation as celeb chef at large here. This may make up for the mediocre food. Here is our story.
We were happy to go to this landmark on Park Ave. The menu is replete with classic French dishes. We settled on chacroute garnis, pork rilletes, porc mignon, and confit de canard. Here is how they turned out: the chacroute was beautiful and delicious in every way. Better than France. The rillettes were presented in a traditional way and were also very good, if bland and slightly mushy. The porc was not cooked as suggested and requested, mid-rare, but well done. It was delicious if dry. The duck is where things got pear shaped. It was very dry. Like the bits along the bottom of the drumstick on a Thanksgiving turkey. Very chewy and dry. Like thick jerky. Tasty though. We sent it back, an unusual step for us. The maitre came to the table and let us know that the chef said it was all like that. A tactful comment. We agreed to move on to the Poulet roti. It was a good chicken, and was delicate. Not great.
So we were now two of five. Not a good enough average to generate another visit. But when you have a celebrity chef, do you really need to be concerned about guests?
A comment on the service. We were a disappointment to our server. No wine, no apps, and a complaint to boot. It was late in the evening so we were his last turn. No need to lavish any extra attention on us. No need to respond to our signal we wanted to go ( waving our charge card around). They were decent enough to comp the lowest priced item on our bill, the rillettes, I guess as a statement that we had our head up our ass regarding the confit. No simple gesture of a complimentary dessert, just a big fat disappointing meal with family and friends.
Of course the confit we have enjoyed in our family's home in Paris or in the Perigord Noir should not be allowed to taint our expectations. I did a bit of research to see if I am too harsh, and found the much decorated food critic for GQ had similar observations: http://www.gq.com/blogs/the-q/2008/03/kitchen-inconsequential.html
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