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La Silhouette


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#31 g.johnson

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 12:58 PM



That is why I detest the term “tweezer food.”

I'm not sure I follow: what is the "that" that makes you detest it?

Various people were making jokes about it, which tends to always happen, because I don't think it's a serious term for any kind of cuisine.

It is, however, quite descriptive of a style of cooking that places a lot of emphasis on presentation.
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#32 oakapple

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 01:39 PM


That is why I detest the term “tweezer food.”

It is, however, quite descriptive of a style of cooking that places a lot of emphasis on presentation.

But even in restaurants where that description arguably applies, presentation is just one small piece of the overall effort. I suspect that any respectable chef would resent the term, because it suggests that everything else they do is a mere inconsequental prelude to making pretty pictures on the plate.
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#33 Suzanne F

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 08:49 PM



That is why I detest the term “tweezer food.”

It is, however, quite descriptive of a style of cooking that places a lot of emphasis on presentation.

But even in restaurants where that description arguably applies, presentation is just one small piece of the overall effort. I suspect that any respectable chef would resent the term, because it suggests that everything else they do is a mere inconsequental prelude to making pretty pictures on the plate.

Well of course presentation is only one part of the whole. But it is an extremely important part -- think about the horrible presentation at Joe Doe . . . Oh wait, oakapple can't do that, can he? :ph43r: . . . Anyway, bad presentation (whether ugly or or ham-handed or overly involved) negates many positives, at least for me. Makes me question if the chef knows what s/he is doing. And when beautiful presentation makes for cold food that should be hot, I'd just as soon have less impressive presentation and better food. Besides, it is still possible to take mediocre ingredients, manipulate them, and make them pretty--but that doesn't make them any better.

Anyway, about La Silhouette: I would not call this "modern French," given the all-over-the-map influences on the cooking. Since when is risotto French? Even if I did like that dish--it's not French by a long shot. Of course, it's forty years since I ate in France, so maybe that is what's "modern" there. But somehow the food seemed neither French nor modern to me. Just attempts at pushing "contemporary" buttons, which is not the same.

My memories of the meal are a bit hazy by now, but the best term I can use to describe it is "eh." Greasy bagel chips were indeed kind of insulting, and the goopy cheese with them was bland and floury/pasty. Bread was okay, but so what?

Mostly the dishes were overly ambitious and too busy. The tuna app (SPICED SEARED TUNA LOIN / Tonnato Sauce / Crunchy Iceberg Romaine / Scallion Ginger Dressing) had a few more elements on the plate, tasty but unnecessary. And what, pray, was "Crunchy iceberg romaine"? Leek Salad (SLOW ROASTED LEEK SALAD / Duck Prosciutto / Grilled Red Onion Dressing/ Aged Manchego Cheese) actually suffered from having cheese on it, totally unnecessary. I enjoyed that snail and mushroom risotto. Paul's lamb (MUSTARD CRUSTED LAMB LOIN / Stuffed Artichoke / Farro / Tomato Confit / Thyme Jus) tasted okay, but was ugly (except for the rosy meat).

Chocolate soufflé was good; crème brûlée (a comped extra because I chatted with Tito and Sally about the old days at LeB) was crème brûlée; the mocha beignets were cold, as though they'd been made before service and only plated (it was about 11 PM by the time we had dessert). To me that is a shocking abuse of beignets.

We had a bunch of different wines by the glass, about which I remember nothing, and were comped a glass of Quady Muscat that was quite nice.

I don't want to seem obsessed with this, but . . . -- Sneakeater, August 13, 2014

 

notorious stickler -- NY Times
deeply annoying and nitpicking -- Molly O'Neill, One Big Table


#34 Sneakeater

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 11:16 PM

Not to argue, but since just about every French restaurant that opens in New York now has pasta and risotto -- hell, Le Bernardin has pasta and risotto -- I think that, at least here, they count as "Modern French".
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#35 oakapple

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 10:48 PM

Pete Wells, one star, and a rather picky one star, when you bear in mind some of the places that have received two.
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#36 Suzanne F

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 12:03 AM

Haven't seen the review yet, but jeez . . . they must have improved A LOT since we ate there.

I don't want to seem obsessed with this, but . . . -- Sneakeater, August 13, 2014

 

notorious stickler -- NY Times
deeply annoying and nitpicking -- Molly O'Neill, One Big Table


#37 TaliesinNYC

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 12:19 AM

Haven't seen the review yet, but jeez . . . they must have improved A LOT since we ate there.



Yes and no. (I haven't been.)

The chicken skin was symptomatic of a small but pervasive issue: even on very good dishes there was almost always one element that couldn’t keep pace or didn’t belong there in the first place. A generous serving of sweetbreads with a sauce of morels and pine nuts would have been complete on its own. Instead, a single raviolo stuffed with ricotta and nettles had been slipped under the sauce, which did no favors to the sweetbreads or to the raviolo. Next to a suave partnership of lamb chop and shredded braised shank, garlicky stems of broccoli rabe cooked al dente seemed intended for another dish, or perhaps another restaurant.

And there was the duck sauce. Yes, it was a sauce that came with duck breast, but it was also reminiscent of the Chinese-takeout condiment. It wasn’t nearly as sweet, being made from rhubarb, but it was just as shiny and as insistently orange. The dish was saved by short, crisp lengths of rhubarb under bits of preserved ginger, a cheerful wink at spring, and by the duck itself. Here and elsewhere, the kitchen’s command of protein cookery tended to overcome any fumbles in the garnishes.



PW seems to agree with you, although perhaps the flaws were toned down a notch.

#38 oakapple

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 12:40 PM

Haven't seen the review yet, but jeez . . . they must have improved A LOT since we ate there.

I believe it's a different chef since then.
Marc Shepherd
Editor, New York Journal

#39 Wilfrid

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 02:33 PM

Yes, new chef last year it seems. Another nicely written, wholly plausible review.

I thought it read like two stars.

#40 oakapple

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 02:47 PM

I thought it read like two stars.

I think he has different grading scales for fancy(ish)/French and everything else.
Marc Shepherd
Editor, New York Journal

#41 rozrapp

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 03:59 PM

I wondered what had become of Chef Matthew Tropeano. He took over from La Silhouette's opening chef, was in charge of the kitchen the two times we had dinner there (we really liked the food), and left sometime before the restaurant closed. Well, via the latest issue of "The Wine Spectator," I discovered that for the past two years, he's been the executive chef at Pain d'Avignon, in Hyannis, Mass.