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Member Since 11 Sep 2009
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#1436261 The Way We Eat Now

Posted by Adrian on 05 January 2019 - 07:43 PM

@Orik - Oliva? More query is where is the substitution taking place. The economic point is fully congruent with mine - the three-star plus class of restaurants is much more expensive than it used to be but there are still a lot of places to buy a hunk of dry aged beef for $200 (when it used to be $100 in 2009 and in 1999 was barely available outside a steakhouse) or a big piece of duck or more bluefin than ever and there are lots of those places that are full. There's a story about bad economics, and those economics leading the the rise of the tasting menu, the decline of a la carte at the top end, and global trends, fine dining restaurants being special events for most and the tasting menu more reliably delivering on the special event promise, that has lead to a change in composition at that level, but it's not like it's particularly difficult for me, an outsider, to randomly stab a continental place on the Michelin list or to quickly look at an Mouthfuls thread to discover that Ai Fiori or Le Coucou or Beatrice Inn serves venison. It's more expensive than it used to be, and life in big cities has outstripped inflation, but that's the modern condition, and lots of incomes have outstripped inflation and, while most incomes haven't, those incomes that do are concentrated in Manhattan. 


But it seems that there was never a class of restaurants serving venison or aged beef at an affordable, go out for dinner on the regular, as a non-oligarch, price. Otherwise, Momofuku Ssam Bar wouldn't have been a big deal. 


Maybe there's a story that seats have not kept pace with interest, and that has priced out some people who used to fill more plentiful seats, but these are all discussions about something other than the ability to order squab.


Ultimately, the solution is just to move to Montreal.

#1436238 The Way We Eat Now

Posted by Adrian on 05 January 2019 - 03:30 AM

I don’t know who’s going to be happy when I get around to writing up Alo.


I'm very interested in your take.


I would also add, obviously, the economics and culture are harder for the place that wants to operate at the 2-3 Michelin level and not do tasting menus than they were in the past. That's an interesting conversation, and that there are less top-of-market restaurants doing a la carte is a worthy topic of conversation but, unless I'm misreading, that's not what we're discussing here.

#1435650 Old Man Shaking Fist at Cloud

Posted by Adrian on 18 December 2018 - 03:02 AM

First para, yes, but as far as New York is concerned at least, unbanked people can easily get debit cards. Easily. In five minutes. For free.

So second para, we really are (as Sneak admits) talking about the homeless and desperately poor, and god knows David Chang is not their problem; and I fully understand if DC isn’t wondering how those people are going to get a ten buck spicy Fuku.


I think we're talking about the kind of people where getting a prepaid debit card is a pain in the ass. I am sure that I'm not the only one here who finds it to be a psychological annoyance to have to think about what groceries I need to buy, to pay my property tax bill, or remember to do half a million routine life things. Some non-negligible portion of the population doesn't have debit cards and I doubt that group spends much time budgeting to buy prepaid debit cards. As things move that way, it will be another unnecessary psychological cost of being poor, however.


Mostly, though, the point is that someone opened up a fast food chicken place and decided that having plastic would be the only way to eat there. Going cashless is a broader societal trend among fast food restaurants and it does involve the calculation that the very poor should not have access to the restaurant (or, at best, a lack of consideration). Perhaps $10 or $8 or anything more than a Happy Meal ($3.99) is too expensive for the poor and this is a moot point. But it is a conscious decision to deny people without plastic access to your fast food restaurant. The world is increasingly moving this way, and it's not the world's greatest injustice, but, again, I think it's reasonable to object to that trend and object to supporting restaurants that facilitate that trend. 

#1435638 Old Man Shaking Fist at Cloud

Posted by Adrian on 17 December 2018 - 10:50 PM

I hate to say it, but it may be time to cut this discussion off.

It's hard to see where it could go that isn't political.

It’s been political since the inception. But I don’t think it’s political to say (1) this policy makes it more difficult for the poor to eat and fuku and (2) this is inconsistent with chang’s politics (insofar as I understand them). Those are factual statements.

#1435634 Old Man Shaking Fist at Cloud

Posted by Adrian on 17 December 2018 - 09:37 PM

Rising cashlessness is a problem for the poor, especially in a society with a weak socia safety net. This is easy to google.

That someone who purports to hold a certain set of social values would, in his most accessible project, chose to exclude the poor or it least make it harder for them to participate, is not a great look. It’s not the end of the world, and most poor have probably never heard of fuku, but it makes him at least an implicit advocate for a more exclusionary future.

#1434256 Le Clarence: Chateau Haut-Brion’s luxury Paris Restaurant

Posted by Adrian on 13 November 2018 - 04:19 PM

you say sous vide, i say cvap. 

#1433398 Montreal

Posted by Adrian on 17 October 2018 - 06:46 PM

pastel is probably in the handful of best modern fine dining restaurants in canada right now, though that's not huge praise, it's something. very clear post-noma-el bulli thing, with minimalist plating, complex preps, extracted chlorophyll and spherified tomato but also clearly a quebecoise-french restaurant - duck ballontine, perfect, with a reduced duck jus, sauces on almost every dish - with a very excited, friendly and young staff (perhaps too excited and friendly, but passionate), a wine list that is really not there yet (but still better than what i get in toronto) and a too bright front room. anyway, this sounds more tentative an assessment than it is - this is a recommended restaurant and has the potential to keep developing into something special. 


for the connoisseurs of brown food, there is a special on the l'express menu of escargots and chanterelles over a celeriac puree with demi glace and a sprig of parsely for your health. this is brown food par excellence.  

#1431705 Frenchette

Posted by Adrian on 27 August 2018 - 03:01 PM

It's exactly because he's a regular that the right thing to do is write about it and not just be a cheerleader in exchange for comped dishes or whatever. The restaurant can read and learn about its process control issues without tying it to a relationship.

I find the concept of trying to hash things out in private downright toxic.



I tend to take the exact opposite tact. I simply don't post or write publicly (in detail, other than general recommendations) about restaurants where I have relationship. Instead, if there's an issue, I'll tell them, but not during the meal and not in exchange for comps. But I think that I have to admit that my approach is preclusive of writing about restaurants I go to in the same way that Sneak does. 

#1429956 World Cup 2018

Posted by Adrian on 12 July 2018 - 01:22 AM

Modric is probably a consensus top 10 global player with the insider-y take being that hes a top 5 guy. He is the playmaker on the best team in the world so, I dont know, pretty superstar-y.

#1429416 Frenchette

Posted by Adrian on 28 June 2018 - 11:44 PM

But left precisely because of the limitations of McNally restaurants.

And 0.9% of people considering eating at Frenchette know that (fewer care). I did measure this.

All depends. Some portion knownits a hot restaurant (and dont care). Some portion jnownits McNally alumns and expect a McNally list (by also many dont care). Some portion are international and probably expect it to look like this kind of French bistro elsewhere and expect this list. Probably the first two groups are biggest.

#1429339 Frenchette

Posted by Adrian on 28 June 2018 - 12:25 AM

(Obviously havent been but also can read a list.)

The list is in step with what a restaurant in the same broad style would have in Montreal and even some restaurants in a more traditional style would have in Paris (eg. cossard and bornard at Baratin, or the lists at Thierry Bretons places, etc.) so I dont think its a total surprise. But also lots of stuff on there that I think would appeal to someone who is not big on natural wines. Like, dont go for the Nesterac or Riss, but many of the burgs, Agnellis non-amphorae la lune, souhauts stuff (especially the whites which show the virtue of acidity in a class of wines which can drift towards flab), etc.

#1425853 Montreal

Posted by Adrian on 03 April 2018 - 02:11 PM

Spent some time looking around at places last night. .Someone who's cooking I respect suggested, http://montreal.lasociete.ca/ la societe montreal..  Also really, what I am excited for is some good Lebanese Food or this Syrian place looks really exciting 
We rented a really lovely "looking" airbnb in the Old Montreal.. 

Yes to Damas.

Avoid La Societe at all costs.

#1425847 Montreal

Posted by Adrian on 03 April 2018 - 05:15 AM

A second night at Joe Beef.

You're gonna love it.

Eh. Its great and all, but seems a bit of a waste to reduce a top five restaurant city on the continent to one restaurant and not explore further.

#1425075 Paris Bistros, Restos

Posted by Adrian on 20 March 2018 - 12:57 AM

First, thanks to those who gave me recs. Haven't posted much actual food-travel stuff recently, but I am inspired by AB over in Madrid. Paris for a few days with Boy:


Le Servan: Very lovely place with a great room and a good story. Clear why it gets good English language press. It fell a bit into modern bistro trap of the apps being more interesting than the mains. Langostine tartar with cool, herby boullion could have been served in a multistar, the cockles were a dish that would get an eater think piece if Chang did it, and the veal head was served with a smart, spicey gibriche variation. Mains were a little duller with nice pork nicely cooked with eggplant and slightly overcooked monkfish with a bisque and (very technically impressive, Passard-derived) potato pasta. Big portions. Lemon cake for dessert was no better than fine. Pinot Noir from Catherine Riss carried nicely through the meal. Comte, a carrot puree and some wonderful hospitality (a story that was true basically everywhere, but particularly here) for Boy.


Hollybelly: Coffee was fine, brunch was brunch. Very nice anglophones on a Paris gap year serving us. The toasted pain des amis was toasted in advance and had lost all moisture. I know why Brooklyn's 15th best brunch is a thing in Paris, but it's still Brooklyn's 15th best brunch.


Huiterie Regis: Supremely great oysters. Joe Beef is the only place in North America (maybe Neptune on a good day) where I've had a comparable product. Icelandic urchin was uncleaned (per the French, weirdly) and totally fine. 


Vantre: Just fantastic stuff. Ignore the Chambo look-a-like in the corner making eyes at the Ackman look-a-like go. Run by an ex-Taillevent, ex-Bristol somm, it's got a three star level wine list with super tight French cooking by (from what I recall) an ex-Saturn, ex-Arpege cook. Room is a bit dull, but the style is very classic. Two stunning dishes - cured mackerel with urchin and celery root and a very classic pigeon with pommes puree. Desserts were an apple prep and a strange, sweet potato cake. More cheese for the boy. Champagne to start and an absolutely perfect condition bottle of Joly's Clos de la Bergie. Not a terribly cheap bill, but under 100 euro per person is possible without much stress.


Paul Bert: Truffles on eggs with a truffly sauce, pepper steak, sole meuniere, Paris Brest, Alex Foillard Brouilly (father and son Foillard were being served everywhere there. I can't imagine a better place if you have an affinity for this kind of food. Perhaps a bit camp, and there is a case against it, but wonderfully time-warpy. 


Le Chateaubriand: Wouldn't have been the first choice, but at a literal five minute walk from the Airbnb, it was the safest tasting menu option if there were boy issues (which are easier to detail via PM on a food board). There were no boy issues and very glad I did it. Ganevet to drink, and a very fun meal at an important restaurant. There was good Inaki (skate with various sea vegetable things, perfect, perfect monkfish with super flavourful fennel and artichoke) and weird Inaki (strange curry fish chip, another perfect piece of cooking with braised veal cheek with a dish that had grapefruit and herbs and never fully came together), but the "flaws" were on the composition end and not the cooking end.


Table Bruno Verjus: Oddly designed, clubby restaurant that is somewhere between Hedone (run by a former blogger-critic who is an ingredient obsessive) and Arpege (minimalist cooking with top ingredients). Stunning ingredients - outside of Ambroisie and Arpege, and maybe not even outside of them, I've never had ingredients like this. Oysters were the only ingredients matched elsewhere (oddly, served in the chefiest presentation with rice vinegar, herbs and other fresh stuff), whole, pristine langostines, barely cooked a la plancha with a spot of pest-ish puree, large stocks of asparagus barely grilled (good, but I couldn't help recall the vastly superior arpege version), ultra fresh veal brains in a pungent, caper based sauce, carrot mousseliene and cheese for boy, meaty st. pierre just cooked to translucence. Wine pairings were a good call - lots of stuff I wouldn't necessarily order outright for a tasting (Jean Yves Paron with the langostines, Cossard premier cru,  by the glass with a refill, Love and Piff, Foillard's corcolette, some Tuscan skin-contacty stuff, etc.). Mixed feelings on the pineapple dessert cooked rotisserie but the lack of caramelization was intentional - I liked the coriander sorbet but Boy didn't. Great bread. A bowl of deeply flavoured, never refrigerated vegetables cooked in butter. If you like this kind of thing - super high end expensive ingredients cooked fairly simply at a not cheap price - this as good as it gets, I think.


Baratin: The charm is fine and Belleville is fun, but the veal joint should have been heated more and the foie was a bitter and served with bitter greens. Nice skate. Homey and comforting - some nice cheeses, brusque service, nice desserts. Good to do once or if you live in the neighbourhood. 


Divellec: Beautiful room. The transatlantic intergenerational wealth club of YaleBridge yucking it up over turbot in the corner. Maybe a October-April but more likely an affair at the bar. They upsold a bit. Pol Roger is the house champagne. Some good Jolivet Sancerre and (well priced) Sauturnes. We did the brunch menu and added oysters. Oysters were Regis level, cured sea bass was perfectly tempered with orange zest and gelee and top quality, soft cooked egg with spinach, foamy sauce and smoked halibut, excellent quality scallop served in a burger with comte as a bit of a conceit. Chocolate dessert. Told it would be good on a rainy Saturday and it was. You could easily destroy a wallet here and, say what you will about the Pacaud kid, it would probably be worth it.


Dauphin: Needed something local and relaxed (and light). Boy got us a reservation due to his quality performance next door. Some good spider crab, tartar and other wine bar things. Definitely more basque than Chateaubriand in that weird marble Koolhaus room. Kumpf and Meyer rose thing. Everything pretty good and very fun. Good crowd. Soft bill. Not a destination, but with Chateaubriand and Cave, very interesting to see the progenitors of a certain restaurant model.


Coffees at Ten Belles, Caoua (new place right on the corner of the Canal by Ten Belles), Fragments, Belleve Bruelerie (Les Halles), Cafe Oberkampf, no strong opinions - though maybe Belleville was the best and Fragments the weakest. Macarons from Herme, chocolate from Ducasse ($$$ infill space, good chocolates). Pain des Idees is still Pain des Idees. There's a nice little food compound around Deux Amis (which is just lovely - Akmenine on a warm spring afternoon), in particular the Verre Vole shop.


Prices were an NYC push (or a Toronto push in nominal value), with wine markups seemingly softer, to tie this in with the NYC thread.

#1424504 The Platt Thread

Posted by Adrian on 11 March 2018 - 03:23 AM

Totally agree.

I'm being totally serious.

In what other country has food being a mainstream thing been bad for food? In what American city has food going mainstream been bad for food other than New York now?

It seems there are other economic forces in New York at play that arent on the consumer side of the market.