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Amuseing our Bouches

The carpet felt like velvet on my feet as I walked toward our table and, when I sat down in the ivory-colored leather armchairs, I knew that this was the fanciest restaurant I had ever been in.

Wine bottles lined immaculate glass cases like those in jewelry galleries. They seemed to look down at my awestruck face saying, “I am way out of your league. It’s D.C. tap for you, kid.”

A waiter presented the amuse-bouche or “mouth pleaser”, which was a seafood dip served in a tiny cup. Regretfully, pleasure was not the word to describe the dull sensation in my mouth. Nevertheless, we found pleasure in cracking amuse-bouche jokes like “This chair is really amuse-ing my bouche!”

Lobster soup with tarragon was poured a la minute into a bowl over bits of lobster and croutons at the table. Although the tarragon was unrecognizable, the soup was soothing and complex, with strong lobster flavor.

The rainbow beet and endive salad was beautiful in the modest way the beet slices rested on the plate, intricately patterned and simply dressed. The candied walnuts were definitely mouth pleasing.

The roasted monkfish dish made me realize that all the fish I have ever eaten had been overcooked. It was simply prepared with peewee potatoes and a surprisingly delicate creamy mustard sauce.

Contemporary chicken breast parmesan was exquisite, proof of the fact that it doesn’t take an ill-mannered, Italian, mafia-involved chef to cook the dish. The elements were deconstructed; the chicken had a crispy-crumbly crust and was served with a béchamel-based cheese sauce, spinach that wilted as you ate (as did I), and a tomato marmalade.

Not just any tomato sauce, but one that could make single hundreds of old-world, Italian mothers. I asked the waitress for the secret and she replied, “I don’t know. They don’t tell us how they make it.” Although it tasted like pure tomatoes, the kind grown with the attentiveness of expensive wine, it’s possible that they used sugar to heighten their sweetness, while erasing all evidence of the clever trick.

I was never a dessert enthusiast, but I now realize why the course is served at the dénouement. A milk chocolate dome was filled with a luxurious moose and served with a quenelle of coffee-infused ice cream. A tian of silky, whipped cream and a fresh Clementine marmalade was both refreshing and comforting.  We swept these off the plates with the voraciousness of a Dyson. Thankfully, we too didn’t lose suction, popping in the petit fours which made those thin, chocolate-mint squares seem like gerbil food by comparison.

Adour is named after the river that Alain Ducasse grew up near, where he developed a love for cooking. And from the enticing appetizers to the seductive entrees and to the calmative desserts, we flowed out of the river and back on the streets, figuring that we probably wouldn’t have the chance to be amused again.


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