N, Q, R at Fifth Ave.-59th St.
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This venue is closed.
Alain Ducasse runs this star-crossed venture with well-known restauranteur Jeffrey Chodorow. It began its life as a muddled fusing of French and American comfort cusines. New chef Francesco Berardinelli, an Italian who runs a noted restaurant in Tuscany, resists the temptation to give New Yorkers what he thinks they want, and presents instead a carefully edited menu filled with the kind of straight-forward specialties he's known for at home: asapargus spears with scoops of Parmesan ice cream and bowls of pureed Tuscan white-bean soup hiding lumps of creamy ricotta. A series of pasta dishes are notable not for overbearing sauces but for a kind of gratifying simplicity. The restaurant's quarters look as arid and airy as every (white, windowless walls, with a bunker entrance out front), although the ambient club music that once seeped from the speakers has been replaced by bouncy salsa tunes.
Black Angus filet, $32; gnocci with basil, $12-$17; orange tart, $9