The Michelin Guide is the cosmopolitan gourmand’s bible. With the 2007 release of its New York City restaurant reviews, a major change takes place.
Alain Ducasse’s Essex House Restaurant plummets from being awarded Michelin’s highest distinguishment in 2006 (“exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”) to being totally absent in the 2007 book. I can’t help but wonder if Alain Ducasse’s New York reign is perhaps done for.
Alain Ducasse’s other New York restaurant Mix closed in 2005 after only two years of operation.
Admittedly, the Essex House restaurant comes off as rather unfashionable with its traditional heavy French dishes and extravagantly baroque decor. New York competition is stiff — other French restaurants offer a fusion nouvelle twist to their cuisine and a minimalist design scheme. But my dinners were still very enjoyable whenever I’ve dined here, and service is nothing short of attentive.
Perhaps it’s the $150 per person minimum prix fixe menu (not including additional courses, wine, tax, gratuity, etc.) that discourages diners from coming back — and particularly not for a cuisine and ambiance that aren’t so novel anymore.
However, I would think that Mr. Ducasse most certainly deserves to at least grace a small page in Michelin’s book.
Alain Ducasse at the Essex House.
A: 155 West 58th Street, New York, NY.