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Why was Ginza Sushi-ko better received than Ducasse?

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Fred Nov 28, 2000 06:42 PM

I've been trying to figure out why Alain Ducasse got such a poor reception for his outrageous $160 prix-fixe but Masa Takayama's $300+ dinners in LA garners nothing but accolades. Was it the fan fare? Was it the lack thereof? Was it the PR?

Just wondering if anyone else cared or thought it odd...

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    kevin RE: Fred Nov 28, 2000 06:57 PM

    first of all at ginza, each dish is completely prepared for each person with the highest possible ingredients. some of the ingredients at ducasse are not the best. also, ducasse is not the actual chef prparing dishes at adny. but masa takayama does and only for maybe less than a half dozen customers a night to insure quality control.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kevin
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      Pepper RE: kevin Nov 28, 2000 09:46 PM

      If there are any ingredients at Ducasse that are not absolutely the best, I've never seen them--and I've been to the restaurant (actually, Sushiko too) half a dozen times. Ducasse is ABOUT the ingredients, a state of mind that was actually considered revalatory in France.

      Anyway, the reasons Mas seems to have a ghetto pass where Ducasse, to put it mildly, does not, are:
      1. Ducasse came to town with a reputation as the best chef in the world, where Mas built his reputation in Los Angeles from scratch over a period of several years;
      2. Mas ``cooks'' Japanese food, which hardly any Americans think they truly understand; Ducasse cooks French food, which everybody thinks they know;
      3. The Sushiko experience is unrivalled in the U.S., while several restaurants serve French food only a couple notches below Ducasse's;
      4. Because of Tokyo's famously high prices, $350 for sushi seems less than $350 for foie gras and turbot.

      If somebody had ``discovered'' Ducasse in a grimy neighborhood of Queens or Loisada, cooking his food for an obscure group of his countrymen, he too would be the subject of infinite accolades.

      1. re: Pepper
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        Fred RE: Pepper Nov 29, 2000 06:56 PM

        So are you saying that ADNY does have superior food, but that critics trash it just to spite his reputation and his french traditions?

        Personally, I question Mr. Ducasse's business savvy. At $300/couple, and 3-4 seatings per night, Daniel and Jean-Georges can bring in $1000 per night while Mr. Ducasse can only muster $700 for a couple. How he can make less and still continue to bring in superior ingredients baffles me.

        Fred

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