Magazine article The New Yorker

Aix

Magazine article The New Yorker

Aix

Article excerpt

2398 Broadway, at 88th St. (874-7400)--There may be an Aix in Provence, but how much Provence is there in Aix? This clever new restaurant on the Upper West Side, a neighborhood barren of ambitious cuisine until very recently, is many steps removed from the daily produce market under the sycamores of Place Richelme in Aix-en-Provence. The chef, Didier Virot, formerly of Virot and Jean-Georges, employs the ingredients and combinations of southern France the way Coltrane used Rodgers and Hammerstein. There's a pistou here, a tomato tarte there, and quince everywhere, but there's also a lot of elegant horseplay.

Aix is laid out on three levels, like a tackle box, and the walls are painted yellow and red. The waitresses wear dowdy brown-and-red outfits--like barmaids in Arles, one supposes, or Brownies. The dishes, though, look smart. This isn't tall food, but there are many instances of sauce art. And it's diverting, while trying to make a terrine of sauteed, pistachio-crusted foie gras last, to sample tastes of each of the surrounding three sauces (a pistachio vinaigrette, a balsamic vinegar, a peach coulis) and then to swirl the colors around on the plate. …

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