Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Aug 21, 2000 12:08 PM

Ducasse disaster ... vomit

  • a

Apparently the negative reviews of ADNY were correct. I ate there on Friday evening and was extremely disappointed. For that much money, I expect the food and service to be excellent and neither was. We ordered a la carte as not everything on the prix fix menu appealed. (it was just as expensive).

The amuse was a puree of cod, which was ok. Then my appetizer was a terrine of fois gras and squab, served chilled. It was nothing special. My friend ordered the spaghettini appetizer with truffel shavings and was also unimpressed, despite the fact that it was listed as a signature dish of AD. My appetizer was placed in front of my friend and vice versa, the first of many service lapses. Next the chef sent out scallops as another suprise. This would have been ok, but when ordering, I asked my waiter if something could be substituted for scallops on the tasting menu, should I order it, specifically mentioning that I don't eat scallops. I pointed out to the waiter that I mentioned that I don't eat scallops and he took my dish away and brought out an herb soup, which was much better than my appetizer.

As an entree I had the angus steak cooked in red wine sauce, which was very good. My friend had the fois gras entree, which was ok and small (my appetizer had been large). We also had to wait a long time to get more bread. Then when desserts came, my friend was given my chocolate dessert and I was given something neither of us had ordered, as we discovered after each taking a bite. This was frustrating and they took the desserts away and then brought us the correct desserts a few minutes later. After having a few bites, I felt ill and went to the bathroom and I vomited. I have never gotten sick in any restaurant in Manhattan, from a greasy spoon to Jean Georges, and so was quite unhappy. My friend told a waiter that the food had made me sick and he seemed offended and asked if we were questioning the freshness of the ingredients or wanted a tour of the kitchen. We declined. I just couldn't wait to leave. They brought out peach melba. i couldn't eat anything after being sick, but my friend said it was the best thing he ate all evening. It was not worth going to. The service was poor for a top-caliber restaurant and the food was nothing to run back to, on top of an almost $500 bill including tip (they comped us the desserts). It wasn't that there wasn't a lot of staff present, but that the staff that was there did not do a good job. Save your money and go to Bouley Bakery, where I've always had a great time and I think is worth every penny. Or save up and go to France, go anywhere but ADNY.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Others can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that there is no microbial food poisoning that manifests with symptoms within minutes of eating the tainted food. The stuff's gotta gestate. If it were a chemical agent (gasoline, etc), it'd have instant effect, but you'd have tasted/smelled it.

    I'm pretty sure you were either sick (or food poisoned) when you got there, or else it was a food allergy.

    Or perhaps a case of nerves, knowing that the check was on its way!


    6 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff

      I will second Mr. Leff's diagnosis: Bacteria just don't work their way through your system that fast--although alcohol sure does. And I actually ate at ADNY the same night that you did. The food was swell (especially that cold herb soup with poached quail eggs), and I apparently found the service more solicitous than you did, if not absolutely charming. French food on that level just doesn't smack you over the head with big flavors the way the equivalent food might here. It can occasionally seem a little underwhelming even when prepared just so.

      1. re: Pepper

        Here's a good web site which talks about all different types of foodborne illnesses.


        1. re: Andy

          Great link, Andy, thanks.

          I'll add it to our "When Bad Food Happens to Good People" page


        2. re: Pepper

          Thanks for the food poisoning info. I was there for about 3 hours, so is it possible that it was the cod puree amuse which caused me to be ill? I ate nothing unusual earlier in the day, which is why I believed something at dinner caused me to get sick. I agree that it was not the chocolate dessert as I had only taken several bites when I did not feel well, and as to the alcohol, I only had about 2 glasses of wine with my meal.

          I'm glad that you also enjoyed the herb soup - it was great.... I was still disappointed by the service though and didn't seem to be the only one there who felt that way. There was a middle aged woman dining with her mother sitting next to me and they seemed underwhelmed as well. I guess not every ADNY customer was as lucky as your table was when it comes to service, which is a shame.

          1. re: Aaron Tell

            This was the second time I'd been. The first time, the servers were so numerous that their mass seemed to affect the rotation of the earth. This time around, we were left alone a bit more--I think the management must have sensed Americans' nervousness about minutely detailed service, and may be overreacting in the other direction these days.

          2. re: Pepper

            As a physician (and as a person who's been lucky enough to experience such food poisoning firsthand once....), I would venture to say that in fact, yes, your fun-filled visit to the bathroom could have, in fact, been caused by food you ingested during the same meal, especially at Alain Ducasse, where I would expect that the meal lasted several hours. A number of bacteria, Staph aureus and Bacillus cereus, to name two, produce toxins which are completely separate from the bacteria themselves, and classically cause symptoms within 1 to 6 hours after ingestion. So go ahead and thank that $40 bowl of soup! It's as likely a culprit as any!

        3. I've had food poisoning as much as 3 days after eating. Three hours seems a little short. Our gastroenterologist told my husband at least six hours when he got sick.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Debbie

            The most hellish experience with food poisoning I ever experienced was last holiday season when D'Artangnan had the listeria outbreak. I was one of the poor fools who didn't hear about it fast enough and served some of the products involved in the recall for a holiday brunch. Then I heard about it and discovered to my horror that listeria cases have been noted which actually incubated for 72 days. All our family and guests escaped poisoning, but the wait was excruciating.

          2. ADNY is so overhyped by people who want to fulfill their inadequate lives by gorging themselves on the ultimate power meal.if i have to hear about that guy one more time Im gonna vomit