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Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria


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#46 Sneakeater

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:24 PM

Yeah, thinking it over I realized that the issue isn't charcuterie per se. It's the context in which it's served as well. You still need all the three-star apparatus to have a three-star restaurant. (I'm talking about NYT stars here, not Michelin stars.)
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#47 Wilfrid

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 05:47 AM

Correct and correct. You see, it's possible to step outside of history, but incredibly hard to do so. As I've typed so many times, the whole enterprise of evaluating restaurants has a critical context which goes back - as far as I can trace it, anyway - to Grimod de La Reynière, and it has all kinds of implications we're hardly aware of.

Making sausages, making cheese, making backyard BBQ, cooking over a camp fire, selling burgers off the back of a truck. No matter how great the food, none of this is about running a restaurant. It's interesting to reflect on why we make an exception for sushi bars, but it's about the only exception we do make.

#48 Adrian

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 03:20 PM

How much of an exception are sushi bars really? It seems to me that beyond the edifice of "the restaurant", what is important is the a la minute nature of the food. I think that (without thinking about this too closely because it's 10:15 on a Sunday) on of the defining characteristics of restaurant food qua restaurant food*, the kind of stuff that gets stars and espoirs, is that it is commercially irreproducible outside of the restaurant context.** Charcuterie fails this test, sushi passes.

* Perhaps this whole post is an excuse to write "restaurant food qua restaurant food"

** Which of course is one of my objections to "Katz's as imagined by Adrian" - that there's something disingenuous about the operation because it's pretending to be closer to a restaurant than it actually is and getting praised as such.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#49 Suzanne F

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 07:13 PM

<snip>It seems to me that beyond the edifice of "the restaurant", what is important is the a la minute nature of the food.... [O]n[e] of the defining characteristics of restaurant food qua restaurant food*, the kind of stuff that gets stars and espoirs, is that it is commercially irreproducible outside of the restaurant context.

That's like saying a performer is an overnight success. <_< Maybe I should give you a chance to you should explain what you mean by "the a la minute nature" before I tear into you. :lol: But I'd guess that there is no restaurant that is totally à la minute. I can't see it as a possible way to operate.

I will say: There are at least two sides to the question of reproducibility:
1. Nothing can ever be reproduced, because the ingredients, people cooking, and circumstances of the cooking (equipment, time, atmospheric conditions, etc.) will be different every time due to the organic nature of the inputs. That applies inside and outside the restaurant context.
2. Assuming the availability of the "same" ingredients, the "same" skill levels, and close enough circumstances, anything can be reproduced almost identically. (That's what manufacturers and chain restaurants are counting on, no?) That also applies inside and outside the restaurant context. Isn't that what Dave Santos is aiming for with Um Segredo?

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#50 Adrian

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 08:31 PM

A mean a la minute in a large context. This is something that I was unsuccessfully trying to get at in the Katz's thread. Let me try and explain a bit more:

My point is that we have to distinguish a "restaurant" from a "food store". So how do we do that? Wilfrid and Sneak suggest the historically dependent "apparatus", what I take to be the services and routines of the restaurant generally, but not exclusively, as it developed in France from the late 18th century to today. If this is so, our treatment of sushi bars and charcuterie seem to reveal a tension. Sushi, which under one account is good shopping and nice slicing over rice*, is treated as being rateable in the context of our food ratings systems (NYT, Michelin, or otherwise), while charcuterie appears not to be - could you get two stars for sitting at a counter and eating a variety of bought-in sliced meats? I doubt it.

So what's going on? I think that the idea here is something akin to the difference between live theater and the movies. Live theater, despite hundreds of hours of rehearsal, set design, costume design and other organization, is produced as you watch it. Similarly, the vast majority of restaurant food - even braises, sous-vided meats, and stuff that is produced days in advance - has a similarly disposable, time-dependent feature. Sushi is like this - the storing and aging of the fish, the way slicing affects texture, the seasoning of the fish/rice, and the composition of the sushi itself are all intimately linked to the moment of service and the person preparing your meal.* Conversely, even the most accomplished seller of charcuterie, is like a movie theater - there may be a tremendous amount of skill and craft that goes into the movie, but by the time you actually consume the product, very little is being done by the venue itself. This was one of my objections to Katz's (as I construe the place, rightly or wrongly) is that it gets praised as a restaurant when it is really more like a food store.

One question would be whether a restaurant that exclusively serves its own charcuterie and serves it like a restaurant is rateable as a restaurant. What if it served only charcuterie brought in? I think Wilfrid's theory says that you could rate both as a restaurant. I think that you could rate the first one but not the second because what we're trying to do, at least in part, when we evaluate restaurants is to evaluate the capacity of the restaurant to produce the food that it serves.


*What Dave is doing at Um Segredo seems to me to be rateable as a restaurant.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#51 Sneakeater

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:27 AM

But again, it sounds like you're all assuming the charcuterie isn't entirely made in-house.

IBA presents itself, not as Adrian imagines Katz's, but as ME presents itself: IBA says that it cures its hams, and makes its sausages, entirely in-house.

It may be worth somebody's saying here that ME (at least as now constituted in Brooklyn) could NEVER (I hope) get three stars, no matter how much of its stuff is made in-house.
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#52 Robert Brown

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 02:05 PM

I'm waiting for a restaurant serving charcuterie to bring out a basketful of several varieties of entire salamis,cooked sausages, etc. and a knife to cut off your own pieces. Like raw milk cheese less then 60 days old, that too is probably illegal here.

#53 Adrian

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 02:14 PM

But again, it sounds like you're all assuming the charcuterie isn't entirely made in-house.

IBA presents itself, not as Adrian imagines Katz's, but as ME presents itself: IBA says that it cures its hams, and makes its sausages, entirely in-house.

It may be worth somebody's saying here that ME (at least as now constituted in Brooklyn) could NEVER (I hope) get three stars, no matter how much of its stuff is made in-house.


I'm on a tangent beyond IBA.

What if a restaurant served only pata negra and a few other cured meats, like the best in the world, made totally in house, and served only at the restaurant? I'm kind of split on that.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#54 Wilfrid

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 02:25 PM

The reason this place shouldn't have three stars is that it runs out of bread.

#55 mitchells

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 02:34 PM

There are already tapas bars in Spain that serve nothing but sliced ham, canned seafood and jarred vegetables.

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#56 Eatmywords

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:20 PM

I'm waiting for a restaurant serving charcuterie to bring out a basketful of several varieties of entire salamis,cooked sausages, etc. and a knife to cut off your own pieces. Like raw milk cheese less then 60 days old, that too is probably illegal here.


Mon ami, je vous presente Les Sans Culottes

(I can't believe they're still going)

#57 Daniel

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:29 PM

There are already tapas bars in Spain that serve nothing but sliced ham, canned seafood and jarred vegetables.


Love those places.. We found an awesome place like that in Paris, with Spanish Owners.
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#58 Steve R.

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 04:39 PM

There are already tapas bars in Spain that serve nothing but sliced ham, canned seafood and jarred vegetables.


Sample Restaurant on Smith St has been doing this for years and has a pretty loyal following. We've been there a couple of times... not bad, with a nice little bar too.
http://www.menupages...aurants/sample/

This space available… contact owner.


#59 Suzanne F

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 08:11 PM


I'm waiting for a restaurant serving charcuterie to bring out a basketful of several varieties of entire salamis,cooked sausages, etc. and a knife to cut off your own pieces. Like raw milk cheese less then 60 days old, that too is probably illegal here.


Mon ami, je vous presente Les Sans Culottes

(I can't believe they're still going)


Vraiment?:

Potence de Cochonailles, panier de crudités

Terrine de pate et vinaigrette maison

(Sausages, basket of vegetables, chef pate

and house dressing)


According to that, it's just the vegetables that are in the basket. Then again, potence means gallows, so maybe there is some cutting at the table. I don't know; never been.
I too am amazed it's still there. Since 1976, they say. Well, East Midtown . . . ;)

ETA: Look at those prices! :blink: They must own the building.

Because it's allowed doesn't mean it isn't creepy. -- Sneakeater, April 10, 2014

 

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


#60 Sneakeater

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:07 PM

Wow. THAT place is still open? That's one of the first French restaurants I ever ate in.
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