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Everything posted by Bux

  1. I find the food at Blue Hill in Manhattan to be as good as that up at Stone Barns, but I don't order from the menu and when I reserve, they know they will just feed me whatever they choose. If anything, Blue Hill in Manhattan is more relaxed, or at least less formal, than up at Stone Barns. Stone Barns with its architecture and farm, is the more fabulous evening. WD-50 is the other "relaxed atmosphere" restaurant in NYC that I consider a "destination" worthy of the attention given to the more formal top places in the city. Show stopping to me, means more than just "good food" or even very good food. The food must be noteworthy.
  2. Bux

    Blue Hill (NYC)

    Three stars it is, and given the expectations of ambience expecvted from a four star restaurant, I think three stars is correct, even for a restaurant that has served me some of the best, and most exciting meals I've had in recent years in NYC. I would add that it spite of the most exceptional ingredients served in the city, there's also a low dependence on luxurious and imported ingredients one might expect in a four star restaurant. I am also reminded of Grimes comments about the decor. If I recall correctly, he said there was no decor. Bruni was quite appreciative of the sophisticated and professional design of the restaurant which I've always found to be one of the most attractive rooms of it's size and scale in NYC. I often take issue with the lighting however. I simply prefer brightly lit dining rooms, which are more common in France, Spain and Italy than in NYC. Nevertheless, the urbane and romantic lighting is also handled better at Blue Hill than at other places that seem to be at the same level of brightness, or dimness. I also agree with Bruni that when it comes to food, it's different strokes for different folks. Where I disagree with him is in his statement that "you can get only so carried away" [with the food]. No other restaurant in the city has managed to carry me away with greater excitement in recent years. Perhaps one has "to pay attention and heed the nuances," but if one does, assuming one has the palate to appreciate the nuances, there is no more full throttle meal available in the city. There are however, different styles for different tastes, but that's a subjective thing. There is a place in my diet for crunch, ooze, charred skin and even messy fat, but it all doesn't have to come from one restaurant. The food at Blue Hill is as good as any I've had at four star restaurants and as good as that served at Stone Barns, albeit in less luxurious surroundings. It is also very sexy food. Last year, a chef's tasting menu was perhaps more impressive than tasting menus at Per Se and Daniel had in the same month, although I would have no argument that both those esteemed places have an undisputed claim to four stars. The Blue Hill meal was perhaps somewhat more than half the price of the other two meals and offered about the same number of courses. That meal is not on the menu, but I believe it can be arranged in advance with the chef. Other meals later in the year continued to meet that standard, much to the delight of a number of gastronomes from Spain that we took to Blue Hill. One, a culinary critic from Madrid, later singled Blue Hill out as his best meal in the states in an article published in a travel supplement in Madrid's El Mundo. He agreed with my assessment that the kitchen was thinking and performing in a manner similar to that of the new chefs who have put Spain on the international cuinary map. The quality of the ingredients left another visitor from Barcelona, with serious involvement in that region's restaurants and products, in awe. Full disclosure should mention that my appreciation of film media was formed in the sixties by "hushed foreign film with subtitles." Blue Hill is the new Jules and Jim and L'Aventurra for me. That is to say a highly evocative and deeply satisfying experience that lingers. I'm also a fan of Alex Urena, but it should be noted that the "poached foie gras with smoked eel [and green apple] was a direct crib from Martin Berasategui and not quite as successfully prepared as at Martin's Michelin three star restaurant near San Sebastian. I ran into Dan at the Union Square Greenmarket this Saturday at Rick Bishop's stand buying huckleberries and at Tim Stark's stand buying tomatoes. Dan said his own Stone Barns tomatoes should be making a ripe appearance later this week at both restaurants and insisted we get there soon. It's the kind of offer I find hard to refuse. Bruni's review is not going to make getting a reservation easier to get. Glad we made ours before the review.
  3. BigboyDan is not far off the mark. Celebrity Chefs may well be a scourge, but as Russ suggests, it is all the more important that we recognize real talent in the profession. Articulate representation of our hero chefs is a boon. By the way, I don't think the celebrity status of guys such as Point or Dumaine had a negative impact on French cuisine in the twentieth century.
  4. Indeed it does, but what I found at that link wasn't even evidence, it was opinion and propaganda. However you describe a duck's esophagus, it is not physically much like that of a human.
  5. I'm not one to call for full disclosure in most situations, but given the nature of this thread and your support here, I think you need to disclose just who your literary agent is. As for the absudity of blurbing unread books, life is often absurd, but it's common practice, or so other authors tell us.
  6. This is where I've stood on the issue since 1999 when self styled animals rights activists caused the Smithsonian to cancel a panel discussion and tasting of foie gras. The event was canceled out of concern for the health and safety of the audience rather than the supposed inhumane treatment of the birds.
  7. There's the rub. My people gave up eating other people for ethical reasons. Hey, I know chefs who can make things taste fine without meat, and others who can make things taste fine without vegetables. Depravation may build character, but eating out is not exactly one of the things we normally associate with depravation or character building. Like I'm going to hand top chefs access to my credit account and say "deprive me." Not eating out on the other hand, might be considered character building. Nevertheless, the last thing I'd suggest is a boycott which might hurt our favorite chefs who are suffering along with us. I would recommend supporting any chef who picks up and moves over the city line, and although I'd be happy to dine at any number of restaurants in Chicago, I will have second thoughts about contributing to other industries, particularly hotels, in town. Still, I don't think there are enough foie gras connoisseurs to really affect tourism, and that would be as true in NY as it is in Chicago. It's absurd to suggest they should ban battery chickens next. They should have been much further up on the list of inhumane and unethical livestock practices than ducks scheduled for foie gras production. Logic would have suggested they be banned first, if there were really any ethics or logic involved. This is purely the work of propagandists who have managed to anthropomorphize water fowl, an easy job when you're dealing with bird brained aldermen.
  8. Rafa's is by now almost as famous as elBulli, perhaps not entirely due to Tony, but Tony's been a big booster. Rafa himself, is an enthusiastic fan of Tony's. So many elBulli diners want to eat at Rafa's as well as elBulli that Rafa may be the harder reservation to get, as there are far fewer tables and if the catch that day isn't up to Rafa's standards, the restaurant doesn't open.
  9. Isn't that the requisite painful part of hip? Balthazar makes a great brunch, but you're likely to see other people's kids.
  10. Try the large round green spinach/ricotta ravioli at DiPalo, 208 Grand Street, Manhattan. It's a cheese shop/Italian deli, not a butcher shop, and they are experts in Italian cheeses and olive oils among other specialties. They also have top quality prosciutto, speck and other cured meats and sausages, both imported and domestic. All at rather good prices as well. They import and distribute a lot of their Italian stuff. It can get crowded as hell on a weekend or even late in the day on a weekday. Service is slow with lots of old world interaction with each customer, so it's worth the wait. The ravioli are made fresh, but go directly into the freezer chest. They also carry some interesting dried imported pasta and a bit of fresh pasta. For a larger selection of fresh pasta, go up the street to Piemonte, which specializes in fresh pasta. You can have it cut to any width you want.
  11. I like a guy who can stand up for his own talent and abilities. Honestly, and I'll take your word that you cook at a high level for wherever the hell you are. Insulting Keller, Barber, Ducasse or anyone else has very little to do with a person's ability to cook, as angrykoala noticed, but it may speak about a person's character. And we speak of a chef's character in this forum because affects others who may eventually work with or under said chef. I believe Doug can cook. I saw some evidence of this at Mix. Although the food was not subjectively to my taste, it was technically excellent. By the way, having once been entrusted to run one of Ducasse's restaurants is not at all the same thing as saying he's got Ducasse in his corner. As I recall, when the media went looking for reactions to the book, Ducasse would not comment, and comments issued by his staff were not flattering. It's my opinion that comments made to the press by such staff would have been approved by Ducasse, or not uttered in public. I'm not sure of the point you are trying to make, but I sense you are defending the "memoir' by taking our attention from the book to other aspects of the author. My apologies if I'm not following your arguments here. While I've admitted that Psaltis can cook, the nature of the negative comments appearing here--I'm reminded of posts by Mimi Sheraton and Ya-Roo Yang--it's my personal guess that he's not always motivated to do his best. Consistency is what will carry a fine restaurant in the end. - - Ronnie, one of the things that I've sensed is that over time, Psaltis' presence as executive chef at Country seems to have been downplayed. Even assuming I'm correct in my observation, it would be far to much for me to speculate why, though I suppose that's the kind of thing messages boards promote. - - So much for the area in which you are cooking. Sounds like? What does it sound like when I write? I'm familiar with some of the situations in the book and, to me, it sounded like a vengeful pack of lies. We all thank you for defining "great chef" for us, although I'm not exactly sure that Loiseau's instability or suicide are all we need to look at to understand what makes a great chef. It may be that sane men choose to spend too much time with family to become "great chefs" in today's society. I'm reminded of Alex Lee, ancien du Daniel, taking a position at a country club some time ago. I was one of the few who said I'd not be surprised to see him happy spending more time with his kids rather than undertaking a restaurant of his own back in Manhattan. My guess is that he works considerably less than 50 hours a week. I can give you a list of chefs who do brilliant work and are crazy enough to work the 12 hour days, but who are respectful to those who have taught them along the way and who don't fall into the "huge, arrogant, self-serving ass" category mentioned above. In any event, one needs to separate whatever talents a chef has from what he writes and sells as non-fiction. Being crazy doesn't make you a great chef, nor does it mean your books tell the truth.
  12. As for people in the industry, I am not one, but I am close to many who work in the food industry and particularly to many who toil in kitchens, one of the most telling aspects of the media follow up to this book is that just about no one mentioned in the book had much good to say about Psaltis when pursued by the media for follow ups, and that includes those he praised in the book. The book was clearly an attempt to be selfserving, which many who read memoirs don't find susprising. The degree to which the authors attempted to spin the truth and make friends as well as seek revenge on those they feel stood in Doug's divine path to chefdom was surprising and didn't seem to pay dividends. Equally surprising is how poorly written the book was, since the co-author, the chef's brother, is a literary agent.
  13. Only in the UK does that appear to be a choice. As an American whose food tastes and dining habits were formed largely in France and French dining rooms, I was flabbergasted to see a table of women, who I judged to be educated diners, order cheese after dessert at a rather upscale Italian restaurant in London. I mistakenly assumed they had too much to drink or were under the influence of drugs to start eating a savory course again after dessert. Later, I learned it was common practice in the UK. I must honestly say, I've never come across it in France, where the cheese course is well established and an integral part of even informal meals at home. A cheese course as such, is far less common in Spain or Italy. In Spain, I've had the sense that cheese has traditionally been more of a snack food or tapa, than a course in a formal meal. This is probably changing and I think it's due to the French influence. While Spain may currently be more influential than France in the culinary world, contemporary Spain is anything but provincial and seems very receptive to outside ideas. Perhaps locals will disagree with me and cite references to long term inclusion of a cheese course in Spanish meals.
  14. I immediately clicked on the link and, as a Francophile with a Breton son-in-law, I wondered how this place escaped our notice. Their web site actually offers a few clues and your post explains the rest. In terms of food value, it's a risky neighborhood and I'd not be likely to wander in, but thanks for the warning. I don't know why I see Frenchmen at the worst restaurants in NY. I suppose there are lots of reasons including a lack of culinary standards as well as nostalgia for home. I think we're slated to visit Balthazar in the coming weeks to join some Parisian relatives, but I understand that at least as much as it's a regular place for us to have brunch or dinner. Balthazar is also not as conveniently located to the theater district, but nevertheless requires booking in advance. In fact, being able to get a last minute reservation in NY is a warning sign. The major exceptions are ethnic restaurants and a place that features Rioja wine and Mediterranean tapas on its web site doesn't qualify as ethnically Breton. NY can leave the impression it's a world class food city, but only if you've done the research and had time to make plans and reservations. In short, there never seems to be enough really good places to go around or meet the demand in any number of categories.
  15. There's one thing I don't like about Stone Barns and that's that it's a schlepp from lower Manhattan, while Blue Hill on Washington Place is just about as far from my place as I would like to walk after a good meal and just about as far as I choose to walk on a nice night after dinner uptown before I get into a cab or subway. That said, we're just about approaching the time of year when it becomes an added pleasure to take a nice walk around the grounds and there's daylight to spare. My only other "problem" is that our meals tend to be very long there as I can't bring myself to choose and just put ourselves in Dan's hands. For all my "complaints," it's hard to resist taking out of town friends there as we did a couple of weeks ago. It's probably a generational thing, but we don't usually do cocktails. My parents did and our daughter's generation might, but we tend towards bubblies and aperitif wines. Stone Barns usually has a reasonably priced cava, pro secco or other Italian sparkler. I guess Dan was out in Seattle at the IACP conference. We met the Stone Barns sous chef recently and I don't know how he spells his name, so I won't mention it, but I will say that he was down in Blue Hill Manhattan sometime ago and cooked for us on a night Juan was off. To his credit, the food was as excellent as we normally expected it to be. There's no question a chef needs to know all about food and how to cook, but being a chef today is an executive position. A restaurant will never be better than what is demanded from the kitchen by the chef, but it takes a few things to put successful food on the table with consistency. One of those is depth of talent in a kitchen. It's not always easy to select, train and maintain the discipline of an entire équipe. but that's what it takes these days, even if the chef has only one restaurant. It doesn't take much to throw things off. Even a great chef can put his trust in the wrong people. The only time I ever heard consistent complaints about the French Laundry was when Doug Psaltis was sous chef there. Dan's been lucky, or talented, in being able to attract the right people as his operations have grown and the restaurants matured. Amuses at both BHs have always been a hit with us. I've been reluctant to dwell on them because as at many restaurants, the more well known you are to the house and the longer you've been a regular diner, the more such hors d'oeuvres, you're likely to get. Some people measure value by what they get in return for the tab, but others turn their heads and are offended when a regular gets a couple of extra free canapés or soup shots. The olive oil financier has been one a real pleaser in many forms, but the "beet slider," ours came with goat cheese and beet, is a real winner. The parmesan lollipops are a neat variation on the cheese crisp theme. The herbs add a lot of flavor and the playful "stick" works for me. I also thought the presentation of the slow cooked egg and roe worked, but my two companions felt it was overly playful with two many elements. De gustibus non est disputandum. Stone Barns is also an experimental farm. I don't know how much it's done so far to prove that sustainable farming is economical, but it's clear to see that that at this time of year, they have access to tender and tasty produce, the likes of which most restaurants can only hope to find at the Greenmarket at the height of the season in these parts. They are also raising livestock, most notably pigs that impress even Spanish visitors. When one factors in the flavor and, I suspect, the nutritive value of these foods, one might view the economics of farming as some more complex than dollars per pound of product. The lighting remains at a provincial NY level and too dim for what I think of as a world class restaurant. Service can be slow at times, and I suspect intentionally so to allow time to digest when a very long menu is undertaken.
  16. Agreed, but perhaps in a manner not so dissimilar as "the other side of the Hudson" (River) is gneric NY lingo for either New Jersey or that small stetch of land (as it appears on Steinberg's drawing) between the Hudson and the Pacific Ocean. Let's back track by saying I agree with you that it's "hardly a picture of "Spain" as a whole." Furthermore, there's no indication that Simon has a working knowledge of food in Spain as a whole. My point is only to express the view that whether Catalunya or Guipúzcoa has the best food in Spain, the worst food in Spain or whether or not it has food representative of the country as a whole, one only needs to step across the border at the most acessible points to learn that France has lessons to learn from restaurants in Spain. Simon is not so much telling his countrymen where to look in Spain, as much as telling them to start looking at Spain. I can very much relate from my own perspective. I traveled widely in Spain for a month in 1965, albeit on a very tight student budget, and was rarely charmed by the food. One can examine my route and choice of restaurants and come up with the reasons perhaps. Certainly I spent little money and was generally clueless as to where to spend it, but I think the fault could be found in the food of a country that was ecomonically depressed and cut off from the rest of Europe. We became Francophiles and didn't return to Spain until the offer of a free night at the Maria Christina in San Sebastian lured us away from France for precisely one night. Lunch at Arzak however, enticed us to take another look at the country which has in the past decade drawn us back again and again. I didn't even really know how much good food there was in Guipúzcoa, let alone in the entire country of Spain, but I was convinced I needed to look at Spain as a gastronomic destination. That attitude paid off. Encourage more Frenchmen to cross the border and I suggest two things will happen. Their expectations of good food, and particularly good food at a good price, will increase and they will be lured beyond the foothills of the Pyrenees, further south and inland than Valencia.
  17. Victor, I suggest you miss a point or two from the French perspective. It's not simply that Spain has something to teach France, but that one doesn't have to go far to take lessons. Perhaps it's not that these nine restaurants are meant to represent Spain, but that one doesn't have to drive far, nor take an arduous journey over the highest mountains, to learn a thing or two. Excellent lessons are close at hand and very accessible in neighboring provinces connected by good roads. There's no excuse for a Frenchman in the Midi not to cross the border for a good meal at a reasonable price. I think it's not that Simon discredits the rest of Spain but that he chides his fellow Frenchmen for not seeing what's directly under their eyes.
  18. SS is a notorious tightwad. I'm sure he already had the $12 mil upfront. His two Continentals are absolute cash-cows. ← um 12 mil for a restaurant........ ya can't be a tightwad. you know. when you open up the most expensive restaurant in the history of human civilization. good thing he has cash cows. i dont really care. i hope he fails here in nyc. i think restaurant groups should be chef run, not businessman run. ← Back in 1998, when the new DANIEL opened, Peter Kaminsky reported that "the price tag on the new restaurant, more than $10 million, is the highest amount ever spent on a single dining space in the city." That was in the December 14, 1998 issue of New York Magazine.
  19. Bux

    Sushi Yasuda

    If it did, I'm at the top of the sucker list. Great lunch yesterday, if a little shorter than our dinners. (I just don't think our companion was as into sushi as we hoped.) There was uni from both coasts--Maine and California. Tiny squid, not much more than an inch long all stretched out were a treat. We asked him to include uni at Mrs. B's request and eel at the request of our companion, but otherwise put ourselves in his hands as usual. When our companion stopped eating, I asked if he had aji and he asked if we lliked oyster, so Mrs. B and I had two more pieces. My only complaint is that we had a late lunch reservation and I think the meal went a bit too fast.
  20. I couldn't agree less. I'm curious to know when you last traveled in Italy. Cooking it Italy today is quite often not what it used to be. That's true not only in the restaurants recognized with stars by Michelin, but in the restaurants most highly rated by Italy's own respected guides such as Gambero Rosso. Sure the wonderful trattoria can be found serving local dishes, but not every restaurant is meant to be a trattoria. Nor should Sneakeater's point about the regionality of Italian cooking be taken lightly. A trattoria in Venice will serve a much different menu than one in Florence or Rome. Even in a rather humble trattoria in Bologna, a bastion of traditional cooking, I had a large meatball that was crusty on the outside and raw in the center. I was even warned when I ordered that it was not your average meatball and I was given a spice grinder filled with mustard seeds to season my dish. Not very Italian, I suppose. We should all be careful about bringing our prejudices about what a restaurant should be, to the table. We need to find the chef who pleases our palate and not berate those who don't on the purely subjective terms of what we think he should offer. That Carmellini is cooking Italian food after the years at Cafe Boulud excites me. It's in line with his heritage and culinary experience and I assume the results will profit from his heritage and culinary experiences outside of Italian cuisine. Which reminds me, I believe a part of his heritage is Polish and I seem to recall that making an appearance on the Cafe Boulud menu. What I don't seem to recall were any complaints that it wasn't French cooking.
  21. Perhaps les Magnolias out in the 'burbs. I ate there once and was more impressed by the creativity than pleased by the flavors and tastes, but many I respect are devoted fans. Did your hotel suggest l'Ambroisie as a substitute for Gagnaire, or just as a superb restaurant? If the former, it doesn't seem as if they are offering personal service. If they can get you a reservation at l'Ambroisie, it must certainly be said they are offering service however.
  22. Bux


    From the conveyor belt sushi places in Tokyo? That sort of thing wasn't invented in NY. As a matter of fact it hasn't really prospered in NY as it has (had?) in Tokyo. What is popular is the AYCE sushi bars. That's All You Can Eat for a set price. I really don't know the specifics, and I'm not even sure they are popular, but I've heard about them. I've been told you can't get more until you eat all you have--no picking off the fish and leaving the rice. By sheer coincidence, lunch today was at Sushi Yasuda where we had what may have been the smallest squid I've ever seen. I guessed they were from Spain, but Yasuda said they are from Japan, which really should have been my first guess.
  23. ← An interesting post. Over the weekend I was talking to a French chef (a chef born and bred in France where he's cooked in three star kitchens and who's been cooking in NY for close to 15 years including in a four star kitchen) and his reaction was mixed, but he did not think the Health Department's concerns were outrageous. He noted that twenty years ago in France, he was alreay using the technique and that he's more comfortable eating food prepared sous vide if he knows there's a Frenchman in the kitchen simply because the French have the experience using the technique. I also suspect French chefs have reputation for less creativity, experimentation and consequently may be seen as having less of a tolerance for risk than Americans. Note that he's not for a ban--he's used the technique here in NY for 15 years, and wants to continue to have the right, or privilege, to continue doing so--but he's not convinced all kitchen staff are properly trained. Although a fan of many un-haute cuisine foods, he's often far more particular in some ways than I am about where he eats. Among the best chefs, and I include Americans as well as French, there really doesn't seem to be the sense that regulations are necessarily a bad thing, but that heavy handed reaction, by those who may understand the process far less than the chefs who are using it today, is unreasonable. At Bouley, Daniel, Per Se, Blue Hill and a number of other places, I have no qualms about the safety of the food I am served. Accidents can happen anywhere and most food poisoning in the US happens at home. Indeed accident statistics tend to suggest we're least safe at home than anywhere. I've been in a few of those kitchens and have first hand reports that tell me about the almost excessive regard for health and safety concerns. For perverse reasons, there are diners that will thrive no matter the number of health violations, but food poisoning at a respected temple of haute cuisine can be a death notice. What we have here is a disregard for talent and dedication to protecting the consumer in enforcing blanket rules. It's not unlike the situation that arises from a universal speed limit on the highway. It slows the race driver with keen insticts and quick reactions but allows the feeble to legally drive at speeds which are probably dangerous for them. As Ned said, "in the pantheon of risks in NYC kitchens, sous-vide probably ranks pretty low," but it's always hard to fight the attempt to eliminate one risk simply because there are worse. "Your honor, I pretty well beat the shit out of the victim, but you really shouldn't prosecute me until all the murders are solved," just doesn't cut it. Bureaucratic hacks making and enforcing the laws that affect our life seem to be part of the price of daily life. Life is inherently unfair and instances of culinary unfairness are always foder for eG discourse.
  24. Bux


    I replied to this earier. Then I noted that his introduction to Spanish kitchens predates his affiliation with Blue Hill. It's not like he went off to Spain for the first time recently with the intent to return to NY and open a Spanish kitchen. Anyone who has preconceptions about elBulli or "modern Spanish" cooking, is likely to be disappointed by Ureña, and quite likely by elBulli and modern Spanish cooking, or so I might expect.
  25. Bux


    There's no excuse for opening a restaurant before it's finished--except perhaps the economics of cash flow. I tend not to rush to newly opened restaurants. I've been well advised not to do so by friends and relatives who have been involved in the opening and re-opening of what are considered top restaurants in NY. It's just risky to be among the first diners. Those places should simply be taken by friends and well wishers of the chef or owner. Unfortunately there's a NY subculture comprised of those who simply must be among the first. I've no doubt Vadouvan had a bad experience. He's articulated it well enough for us all to understand it wasn't a product of his imagination. My feeling on early reports is that the media in NY reviews restaurants far too early in their life. Worse yet, amateur (non-professional food lovers) reviews are so quick to write off a place and include reasons that have a life span of about a week. By the time I got there, I didn't see any exposed electrical conduit. As for unknowledgeable servers, I haven't always been satisfied with explanations I've received at WD-50 or Blue Hill and I can rave about both of them with a very clear conscience. Service in NY is getting better, but it's rarely what it could be. The mislabeling of the scallops is inexcusable, if only because it's all too obvious and clearly Ureña is aiming at attracting a clientele who can tell the difference. There's a good description of the development of Gramercy Tavern in other thread right now. Most of these faults, even the inexcusable ones, will likely pass. A restaurant this young can't be judged the same way as a mature restaurant. It's my understanding that this, for all it's sophisticated cuisine, is in many ways a mom and pop operation and with the exception of the overly large tasting menu, Ureña isn't an expensive restaurant by Manhattan standards. It's not a totally flattering room and lacks some distinctive character although I disagree on the extent of its design faults. I found the way the entrance opens the restaurant to the street to be quite inviting and the glow that emanates to be more golden than yellow. In response to what both Pedro and I have posted, I find it odd to hear that more regional ingredients would make it a more Spanish restaurant. I'm not sure I can identify a "Spanish" taste profile and I think I've articulated the reasons a post back. It's clear to me that Alex has solid grounding in what he learned at Bouley and that he's been influenced by the thinking that's going on in kitchens in Spain, but that he's not conscientiously trying to prove to anyone he's running a Spanish restaurant, nor should he introduce imported materials simply to appear as a Spanish chef.
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