Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Where to get the haute-cuisine experience, cheap


Fat Guy
 Share

Recommended Posts

We've had a discussion on what "inexpensive" means in the context of this thread.  I think a similar definition needs to be developed for "haute-cuisine."  Things that have been mentioned so far include the inclusion of named sources either geographic or producer, emphasis on garnishes, and the use of trendy and/or luxe ingredients.  What other characteristics define "haute-cuisine?"

I think in the post-modern culinary era it's difficult to define the term "haute cuisine" with precision, but I agree we should try. Back in the day, one could define haute cuisine by enumerating all the examples of haute cuisine dishes, since that was pretty much a set and finite universe. Nouvelle cuisine broke down the original system but was still recognizable as haute cuisine. But once various contemporary, modern, minimalist, fusion, etc., schools came on the scene, definitions became murky. Haute cuisine had to be viewed more generally as "high" cuisine contrasted with "low" cuisine, in other words the cuisine served in fancy restaurants, by the best chefs, or derived from the older, more easily defined schools of haute cuisine. And then there's the Asian question -- those cultures have had their own high cuisines, which have filtered through various mechanisms. Also, haute cuisine has historically been very much influenced by peasant and other regional non-haute cuisine.

I don't think "the inclusion of named sources either geographic or producer, emphasis on garnishes, and the use of trendy and/or luxe ingredients" really defines haute cuisine today, though I do think each of those factors can be an indicator that what one is looking at may possibly be haute cuisine. Creativity is certainly a factor -- there's no way to make well-priced haute cuisine without being creative! "Chef-driven" is another term that has come up a lot, though a sandwich shop can be chef-driven too. Utilizing contemporary technique as practiced at the top contemporary restaurants, that might be a factor to include.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

we're talking about haute-based food with luxe ingredients...it'll never be "cheap"...but can it be much lower-priced than a four-star?  absolutely.

if I had to throw a definition out there -- the food is haute based in some sense (i.e. not just rustic or home-cooking style), prepared in a manner that bespeaks extensive classical knowledge and/or training on the part of the chef (anyone want to take a bet that Wylie couldn't make every single thing on the La Grenouille savory menu on almost a moment's notice?), luxe ingredients are used where appropriate, at a quality level that is at least three-star if not approaching four-star, but served in an informal and casual surrounding. 

this is the trend that I believe FG, Bruni, et al are speaking of.

for purposes of this thread I think FG wants to limit the discussion to places where the price is correspondingly depressed to match the surroundings (ruling out L'Atelier...which I think otherwise fits).

this was my definition up the thread and I think it matches with what you're saying.

put differently, there's the old saw that Picasso got to break the rules cause he also knew how to paint perfectly well within them (which he did)

Edited by Nathan (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To try to get a better feel for "the paradigm" I decided to go to Momofuku Ssam Bar, Degustation and Room4Dessert this evening. They're close enough to one another for it to be a walkable situation, and I figured that if we started early on a Wednesday night we could avoid major waits.

At Momo-Ssam, the plan for gaining entry worked flawlessly. We walked in a little before 7pm and waited about five minutes for seats. We lucked into the best table in the place, or at least the most peaceful and secluded table: the one nestled in the corner formed by the window and the service station. Man is the food there good. We had the hamachi, scallops and uni dishes to start, then the mushroom salad, the mackerel, a tofu ssam and, finally, the rice cakes with pork sausage. The rice cakes were rustic (totally delicious, but not haute), and the tofu ssam was updated street food (also delicious), but all the other dishes were seriously haute. The uni in particular was at a higher level than most dishes being served in the four-star restaurants right now -- a real showstopper of a composition of bright uni, black tapioca and whipped tofu. And the vibe was exactly what we've been talking about on this topic.

A flaw in the plan became evident when we rolled out of Momo-Ssam totally stuffed. But we pressed on.

Degustation seemed much older and stuffier, and to my surprise we were asked if we had a reservation. We didn't, there are only 16 seats, and we were told we wouldn't be able to get one until 10pm. However, that did present the opportunity to check out the relocated Oyster Bar (nee Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar, I believe the name is now technically New Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar) around the corner, I think where Jewel Bako Makimono used to be before it was absorbed by the Fifth Street operation. Not part of "the paradigm" (too conventional), but excellent and sort of a kindred spirit -- it deserves to be doing bigger business. The lobster-knuckle chowder (I'm a firm believer in the theory that the knuckle is the best part of the lobster) with corn and Serrano ham is worth a trip, as are the salmon tartare and tuna carpaccio (I think they called it paillard, because the place is ostensibly French). Note to self: now and for all time, always give potato chips 90 seconds in the toaster oven before eating.

At Room4Dessert we were joined by a friend celebrating a birthday, and we were relieved that there were seats available without a wait -- we were back on track. R4D is squarely in "the paradigm," and is particularly focused on avant-garde technique. We ordered every dessert -- four in glasses, four tasting compositions and one set of petits fours -- and the flavor and texture combinations were pretty amazing. I wouldn't say all the desserts were winners, but the ideas were all totally cutting edge. If you told someone that Momo-Ssam and R4D were part of a mini-chain of restaurants, it would come across as a totally believable statement. They have very strong visual, attitudinal and stylistic ties.

I was just at Upstairs a couple of weeks ago, and now feel confident that it fits in with Momo-Ssam and R4D. It might not pass for being part of the same chain as the others, but it's damn close.

I'll have to hit Degustation another night, with a reservation, but from what I saw peeking in and reading the menu it looked borderline. Perhaps the phenomenon has and inner and an outer circle, and Degustation lies on the outer circle along with the Bar Room at the Modern?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know about that. You may have hit Degustation on an off night. (Man, was everything packed in our neighborhood this evening!) The place does sometimes require reservs (so does R4D, every once in a while), and I do have a biased perspective (I have a somewhat easier time garnering seats there than many), it's very much in the "casual haute" category. $50 for five courses or an average of around $12 for individual plates, informal setting, but food of an elevated provenance and demonstrating impeccable technique geared toward the serious diner.

Knife + Fork might be like this too, but I haven't been yet.

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder if there are any restaurants in the outer boroughs that fit in here. Or are they all too conservative?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was eating at Franny's last night, and as I was having a very good cauliflower dish, I was thinking that if you kind of scrunched up your eyes, squinted hard, and looked through them that way, you might convince yourself that Franny's fits in here.

But really no. It's rustic. It's a pizza place, for God's sake.

I don't think there's a place in Brooklyn, at least that I know, that fits the Paradigm.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you told someone that Momo-Ssam and R4D were part of a mini-chain of restaurants, it would come across as a totally believable statement. They have very strong visual, attitudinal and stylistic ties.

I was just at Upstairs a couple of weeks ago, and now feel confident that it fits in with Momo-Ssam and R4D. It might not pass for being part of the same chain as the others, but it's damn close.

I'll have to hit Degustation another night, with a reservation, but from what I saw peeking in and reading the menu it looked borderline. Perhaps the phenomenon has and inner and an outer circle, and Degustation lies on the outer circle along with the Bar Room at the Modern?

What we have here is a culinary Rorschach Test, with everyone seeing what they want to see. If FG's last sentence is true, then we have a paradigm with an "inner circle" consisting of exactly two restaurants, one of which came into existence practically by accident, and the other serving only dessert. This sounds, not like a paradigm, but two rather unusual restaurants.

I have been to Ssam Bar and R4D, and don't see a whole lot of similarity, aside from the fact that both have mostly bar seating (R4D exclusively so). R4D is both avant-garde and witty, with Will Goldfarb visible all the time, and interacting directly with diners. R4D also has a much better wine program and comprehension of the connection of wine to food. Though not fancy, it is a more refined space than Ssam Bar. And I wouldn't exactly call it "cheap" either. Great, but not cheap.

Ssam Bar, as good as it is, isn't witty or avant-garde at all; chef Chang is mostly in the background; and the wine program sucks.

Bouley Upstairs and the Bar Room, as I suggested upthread, are part of a trend, but not the one suggested here. Their kin are Nougatine, the Enoteca at Del Posto (recent review here), and the lounge menus at Daniel, Le Cirque, Gilt, and Gordon Ramsay. If Alain Ducasse re-opens in NYC, apparently he is planning a similar bifurcated concept.

I'm hoping to try Degustation tomorrow night.

Edited by oakapple (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. The Ssam Bar night-food program was announced almost from the start. It wasn't an "accident"; it was part of the concept. The only "accident" was that they felt compelled to turn it into a dinner program in addition to a late-night program. Frankly, I thought it was more "New Paradigm" when it was limited to late-night.

2. Your complaint that the "wine program sucks" at Ssam Bar seems to me more to prove that Ssam Bar's a new thing than to prove anything else. There have long been arguments here about whether a good wine program is or isn't necessary for multi-star dining. These restaurants are finally breaking that mold once and for all.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I agree that the wine program at Momo-Ssam sucks. For one thing, I'm not sure a good wine program is a requirement at such a restaurant -- wine is not really part of the culinary traditions it references. For another thing, small is not the same as bad. There are several good sparkling choices on the list, which is as it should be, and the reds and whites (four each) are well chosen. And for still another thing, Hitachino Red Ale is one of the best beers I've had -- it would be just fine with me if Momo-Ssam served no other beverage. I can't imagine I'll ever order wine there, with that cuisine, given the availability of Hitachino.

Also, I don't agree that Upstairs is akin to Nougatine or any of the lounge restaurants. The chef is right there in the dining room, for crying out loud. Yes, it's a subsidiary of a larger restaurant, but it's very much its own thing.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I'm not sure why it matters whether these restaurants are accidental or premeditated. We're not talking about McDonald's here. Any good restaurant is the result of many influences, and the evolution of most restaurants starts before they even open -- just look at any preliminary artist's rendering, draft menu, etc., and compare it to the end result. Not that there can ever be said to be an end result. Places change. All you can have is a snapshot.

If anything, the accidental (perhaps reactive would be a better term) nature of some elements of some of these places probably demonstrates that they're subject to similar meta-influences, which argues for rather than against a larger trend.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1.  The Ssam Bar night-food program was announced almost from the start.  It wasn't an "accident"; it was part of the concept.  The only "accident" was that they felt compelled to turn it into a dinner program in addition to a late-night program.  Frankly, I thought it was more "New Paradigm" when it was limited to late-night.
I totally agree that Chang has done something unusual, one-of-a-kind here. But its uniqueness suggests to me that there is no new paradigm. David Chang just had a funky idea, and all of us are richer for it.
2.   Your complaint that the "wine program sucks" at Ssam Bar seems to me more to prove that Ssam Bar's a new thing than to prove anything else.

I made the comment solely to illustrate that Ssam Bar doesn't have much to do with Room 4 Dessert. For Chang's own purposes, Ssam Bar's wine program is fine, and actually we enjoyed our wine very much when we dined there. Heck, he could have just one wine, but if it's the one you want, that's all that counts. But no one would call it a serious wine program; that's just not what Chang is doing. Edited by oakapple (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I agree that the wine program at Momo-Ssam sucks. For one thing, I'm not sure a good wine program is a requirement at such a restaurant -- wine is not really part of the culinary traditions it references. For another thing, small is not the same as bad. There are several good sparkling choices on the list, which is as it should be, and the reds and whites (four each) are well chosen. And for still another thing, Hitachino Red Ale is one of the best beers I've had -- it would be just fine with me if Momo-Ssam served no other beverage. I can't imagine I'll ever order wine there, with that cuisine, given the availability of Hitachino.

To be clearer, what I should have said was:

They didn't even HAVE a wine program until a couple of weeks ago.

They had a few sparklers as aperitifs (including that very interesting sparkling shiraz), and then a decent selection of sakes and a very good selection of beers to go with the food. Wine isn't really part of the concept here.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The wine program as Ssam Bar is actually a pretty impressive accomplishment, and quite well thought out. One of the many ways Ssam Bar dispenses with the norms of fine dining is in a menu which is not divided up into traditional app/main/dessert or tasting menu progressions, and which combines a lot of very disparate flavor profiles from delicate minimalist Japanese flavors to spicy creative market-oriented takes on SE Asian salads to savory stews to sliced hams. Between its four beers, two sakes and four wines by the glass, you can match pretty well any course through the menu quite nicely. The lack of a dry white wine by the glass, like the fact that there is more sparkling wine than still, is a feature, not a bug.

Also it is somewhat ridiculous to assert that Ssam Bar "isn't avant-garde at all." This entire thread is about the fact that many of us think it almost defines today's avant-garde.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The other thing to say about the "wine program" at the Ssam Bar is to repeat a story I told in the Ssam Bar thread. I was there a couple of weeks ago, right after they started serving wines. I made the rather obvious choice of a riesling to go with the apple/bacon/pork salad. My main dish was to be a new, heavily cinnamon-flavored, braised beef and ox tongue hot pot that had just been added to the menu.

When the bar guy saw me drinking the riesling with the salad, he came up to me excitedly. "You're not going to believe how good that wine is going to be with the stew!" he exclaimed. "That stew is a new dish Tien just came up with. We had a staff tasting, along with all the wines, a couple of nights ago, and we were surprised to see that the riesling was GREAT with it! None of us could believe it! Who'd have expected it?"

That kind of improvisatory, engaged excitement just doesn't happen at "normal" restaurants. Also, it turned out that he was absolutely right.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re: Degustation

I think that the reasons that FG found Desgustation "older" and "stuffier" than the other restaurants nominated for The Paradigm are that Degustation (a) is So Fucking Small and (b) received a lot of traditional-style promotion and press attention.

Sixteen seats. That's much smaller than Tia Pol. Much smaller than either Momofuku. Much smaller than most places I can think of. Sure, they could have decided not to take reservations -- but then it would have been a zoo. (Think of how zoo-ey Tia Pol is, and then multiply it by two.) So Degustation is, as I said in my very first post in this thread, not a walk-in place (apparently unless you're Mayur and in with management).

As for "older" and "stuffier", I think that's a function of the crowd its publicity and reviews have attracted. (Note that Degustation got a lead Times review as soon as it opened, whereas Ssam Bar started in "$25 and Under" and migrated to a lead review pretty much on the basis of street buzz.) So possibly because Degustation has been presented to them through the channels they are used to, the crowd at Degustation (to the extent you can call 16 people sitting at a counter a crowd) tends to be more Uptown, on the whole, than the crowd at Ssam Bar, Room 4 Dessert, or even Bouley Upstairs. (I would guess that Bouley Upstairs's decision not to take reservations -- remember, it's a much bigger place than Degustation -- is what keeps the older Uptowners away, as robyn's posts have suggested.) Interestingly, the first time I went to Degustation, before the reviews started coming, the crowd was very young and local. (Certainly, you can't call Chef Genovart "old." He looks like he's about 12.)

All of which raises the question of how much these factors -- most of which relate strictly to reception and not intentions -- can take a place out of The Paradigm. I'm not saying they can't. I'm just raising the question.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All of which raises the question of how much these factors -- most of which relate strictly to reception and not intentions -- can take a place out of The Paradigm.  I'm not saying they can't.  I'm just raising the question.

I'm probably the wrong person to answer, given that I think The Paradigm doesn't exist, but that never stopped me before.

Of the restaurants named on this thread, Bouley Upstairs, Bar Room, and Degustation received their only Times reviews from the main critic. Room 4 Dessert received its only review in $25&U. Momofuku got both, but when it was reviewed in $25&U, it was fundamentally a different restaurant.

Bar Room, Degustation, and R4D take reservations; Bouley Upstairs and Ssam Bar do not.

Ssam Bar, Degustation, and R4D are physically configured like bars; Bouley Upstairs and Bar Room are not.

So what we have here is a random collection of traits, and no matter how you slice it, about half of the so-called Paradigm restaurants are exceptions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All of which raises the question of how much these factors -- most of which relate strictly to reception and not intentions -- can take a place out of The Paradigm.  I'm not saying they can't.  I'm just raising the question.

I'm probably the wrong person to answer, given that I think The Paradigm doesn't exist, but that never stopped me before.

Of the restaurants named on this thread, Bouley Upstairs, Bar Room, and Degustation received their only Times reviews from the main critic. Room 4 Dessert received its only review in $25&U. Momofuku got both, but when it was reviewed in $25&U, it was fundamentally a different restaurant.

Bar Room, Degustation, and R4D take reservations; Bouley Upstairs and Ssam Bar do not.

Ssam Bar, Degustation, and R4D are physically configured like bars; Bouley Upstairs and Bar Room are not.

So what we have here is a random collection of traits, and no matter how you slice it, about half of the so-called Paradigm restaurants are exceptions.

I think to a large extent you're confusing causes and effects here.

You know, it comes back to "common law reasoning". (Maybe you really do have to have been trained as a lawyer to get this.) We have this collection of restaurants in which some of us discern basic similarities. The question is, what makes them similar. It doesn't do to pick out various partial dissimilarities and then say, "see, they have nothing to do with each other." The job -- at least if you buy into the similarity, which I understand you don't -- is to explain why this overlapping, but not identical, set of circumstances contributes to the similarities one discerns, and to try to figure out what the key points of similarity are.

(To make one example, I wasn't suggesting that a "$25 and Under" versus a lead review is a characteristic of a "New Paradigm" restaurant. I was using the differences in reviews and promotion to explain why two restaurants that seem to me quite similar in concept have such different "feels", which I ascribe partly to clientele.)

I'm going to take an initial shot at it. I think that the key point of the "New Paradigm" is a very highly-developed cuisine -- cooking that could be counted traditional "three" if not "four star", or that at least has apects of it -- in circumstances utterly devoid of surrounding ceremony. Where the act of eating is completely casual -- but the food is highly developed.

So, for example, there is no dress code whatseover. Even most "casual" upper-level restaurants (like, say, DavidBurke & Donatella, or the Meyer group) require a level of dress beyond what passes for office casual, at least in my office. At least if you're me, you have to plan ahead and dress up to go to them. But I can always go to Ssam Bar or Bouley Upstairs or Room 4 Dessert or Degustation in whatever I'm wearing.

The lack of reservations also plays into this. These restaurants don't require advance planning. You decide to go, and you go. Degustation is an exception here. Even though Room 4 Dessert takes reservations, I don't know anyone who actually makes them. I wonder what percentage of their business is reserved.

Another way this plays out is a focus on the food beyond all other factors. I think the visibility of the chefs at all these places contributes to that; and it's one reason that the visible work stations seem to be such a unifying factor. I also think the style of service -- dead serious, but with no ceremony whatseover -- contributes to this. You're not at these places to be pampered. You're there to eat.

This is also why price is important here (why Atelier Robuchon, for example, will never fit in this category). It's easy to go to these places, without making a big deal of it, because the cost is bearable.

My point being, these are places where you get very fine cooking, but with no sense of occassion whatsoever. It just isn't a big deal. There are contributors to this board who will oppose that -- who say they want a sense of occassion when they dine. But this is filling a different need. You can't do that "occassion" stuff every day. These are places where you can eat at or near the highest level, but easily. Whenever you want. Without having to primp or prep or plan. You only need to be prepared to appreciate the food.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The job -- at least if you buy into the similarity, which I understand you don't -- is to explain why this overlapping, but not identical, set of circumstances contributes to the similarities one discerns, and to try to figure out what the key points of similarity are.

That's one way to conduct this sort of investigation, however it's also possible to do it more along the lines of a medical inquiry: you have a list of, say, six symptoms that point to a given illness, and if a patient displays any four of them you start treatment.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My point being, these are places where you get very fine cooking, but with no sense of occassion whatsoever.  It just isn't a big deal.  There are contributors to this board who will oppose that -- who say they want a sense of occassion when they dine.  But this is filling a different need.  You can't do that "occassion" stuff every day.  These are places where you can eat at or near the highest level, but easily.  Whenever you want.  Without having to primp or prep or plan.  You only need to be prepared to appreciate the food.

Exactly. The clientele for these places is not people who are sick of traditional three and four stars; it's people who like three/four stars so much that they want to be able to enjoy the most significant part of the experience on a much more regular basis. Somewhat ironically, because this is a select subset of the three/four star clientele--that is, the ones who are there for the food--you end up that these "Paradigm" restaurants are serving food that is more vital and exciting than many of the three/four stars.

I'd also point out that NY has for some time had a sort of predecessor to these restaurants in the wonderful tradition of most three stars saving the bar to serve their full menu to walk-ins.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think in the post-modern culinary era it's difficult to define the term "haute cuisine" with precision, but I agree we should try. Back in the day, one could define haute cuisine by enumerating all the examples of haute cuisine dishes, since that was pretty much a set and finite universe. Nouvelle cuisine broke down the original system but was still recognizable as haute cuisine. But once various contemporary, modern, minimalist, fusion, etc., schools came on the scene, definitions became murky. Haute cuisine had to be viewed more generally as "high" cuisine contrasted with "low" cuisine, in other words the cuisine served in fancy restaurants, by the best chefs, or derived from the older, more easily defined schools of haute cuisine. And then there's the Asian question -- those cultures have had their own high cuisines, which have filtered through various mechanisms. Also, haute cuisine has historically been very much influenced by peasant and other regional non-haute cuisine.

I don't think "the inclusion of named sources either geographic or producer, emphasis on garnishes, and the use of trendy and/or luxe ingredients" really defines haute cuisine today, though I do think each of those factors can be an indicator that what one is looking at may possibly be haute cuisine. Creativity is certainly a factor -- there's no way to make well-priced haute cuisine without being creative! "Chef-driven" is another term that has come up a lot, though a sandwich shop can be chef-driven too. Utilizing contemporary technique as practiced at the top contemporary restaurants, that might be a factor to include.

I tend to think of haute cuisine not only as featuring expensive ingredients but also having rich (fatty -- butter and cream) food, high prices (although we're looking for exceptions in this thread) and very luxurious service. I think that the service and ambiance are key points. But I suppose they're not about cuisine.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In addition to eating so-called haute food in the dining rooms of haute restaurants I've also had the opportunity to eat pleanty of it in the kitchens where it's being made and not off of French porcelain or with fourteen different pieces of silverware, (indeed sometimes with no silverware at all) never with wine. The cooks who are on the forefront of this trend (Yumcha comes to mind. RIP) have experiences of this day in and day out. The ties and sirs and sliverplating, linen and in general the celebration of wealth that in the past has inevitably accompanied the experience of eating highly creative food clash with the culture of the kitchen. It could be a marker of the way in which the chef has risen in visibility that his experience and vision of the food is coming to be more represented in the way in which the food is presented to the diner. For my money, I'm really intersted in the ideas that are flying around in the kitchen at a restaurant like Per Se but much less so in the part of the bill that pays for the real estate, the interior design, the army of servers and all the finery of service. In short, what I think Chang and others are trying to do--FG I think you're the one who invoked postmodernism--is dissemble the gastrolinguistic divide between his experience and the diner's. I am all for this as a zeitgeist and hope it catches on like wildfire.

Edited by ned (log)

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...