None of Gordon Ramsay’s mythic swagger and Tourettic profanity was in evidence just four nights after the opening of his posh and elegantly subdued dining room—with handsome glass panels that swivel to wood for daytime. The champagne cart and a tempting bonbon trolley promise haute ambition. (Though the gorgeous glass door doesn’t quite close, the bathrooms don’t lock, and the lighting is pitiful.) The chef’s signature feint, a luscious smoky froth with white beans, has us sighing, but most everything else is a work-in-progress. Sea scallops, slivered, then overcooked, suggest someone hasn’t a clue what great chefs here do with diver scallops. We are shocked by a leathery lobster ravioli and an unseemly marriage of langoustine tails and maple-infused chicken (not to mention the bill). A sophisticated red-wine sauce might have played off the purity of turbot, but steeping it in St. Emilion and too much fire kills it. True, global cooking stars may find New York booby-trapped. “I must learn more about your fish,” said Gilbert LeCoze humbly when he opened Le Bernardin. Alain Ducasse proposed a tutorial on haute cuisine and flew off a few days later to open a seedling in Tokyo. After vowing he would stick to the kitchen till he got it right, Ramsay, a Michelin darling in the Ducasse mold (with eight restaurants in London, and many twiglets elsewhere), was already gone. He’ll be back with his whip, no doubt, and I’ll try again.
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