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Is formal dining holding its own?


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QUOTE Perhaps the confusion arises because there are new optionsplaces like Momofuku Ssamwhere you get haute European cooking without most of the trappings. But it's a misconception to suggest that

First, anyplace that forces a male to wear ties is out.   Second, anyplace that feels like a Cathedral and forces hushed tones is out.   Third, anyplace the accepts reservations appears to be on

Just because something is a ten-course New Nordic tasting menu, that doesn't make it fine dining. You still have to see how good the ingredients are and the kitchen work is. It could still be ambitiou

It occurs to me that this discussion kind of parallels what Orik's been saying on the Paris thread.

 

All those restaurants serving "inventive" pollack preparations on tasting menus for 35 euros: they're kind of the same thing as the NYC places Adrian is saying are a fair replacement for the old NYT three-star places.

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late to the party, but...

 

I think the following two statements aren't contradictory:

 

the demise of the traditional frenchish/nyt 3 star restaurants doesn't mean that ambitious, interesting cooking is less available.

 

the kinds of places that now offer ambitious, interesting cooking don't offer the same level of food as the places they replaced, even if they are more easier for most people to use and many of the lost elements of "fine dining" aren't missed. I think part of the reason this is true is that the newer styles of cooking that many of the newer restaurants use are both more interesting and less pleasurable than traditional frenchish food.

 

looking at taion's list I was thinking that the roberta's tasting menu clearly belongs in category 2, at least if you're only talking about food on the plate.

 

also my 2012 meal at per se was better than my meals in 2006, 7 and 9. FWIW.

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I'm fascinated by the perspective that the same 4-5 places,considered the best by most publications prove nothing by their continued success, or that the addition around the margin of a Brooklyn Fare or two isn't proof that they continue to succeed and are joined by new and exciting (if economically unimportant) sub genres.

The 4-5 places widely acclaimed as best, have survived. But there is no "next generation" coming up behind them. The "newest" NYT 4* restaurant, Del Posto, is 8 years old, and it's the weakest of the bunch. I know of only one restaurant opened since then, that is widely considered a future 4*: Brooklyn Fare.

 

I cannot prove this, but I'd say that an 8-year span with only one such restaurant appearing, is not a sign of strength at the upper end.

 

Beyond that, Brooklyn Fare seats 18 people at a counter with no choices at all, and the service model is practically tyrannical: just try to get someone on the phone, parties of one not taken, parties greater than four not taken, no notebooks allowed, etc., etc.

 

If you assume that ADNY and BF both serve(d) Michelin 3* food, it's hard not to see that something was lost in the transition from the former to the latter, not only in the number of seats, but also in so many other ways.

 

How are those places maintaining their 3 stars or top spots in the SP list? If they're really been in decline for 5 years why aren't we seeing them go down the ranks, whether to be replaced by new style places or not?

 

Heaven knows what Michelin does; as far as I know, you don't think these places are "real" 3* restaurants anyway.

 

The New York Times gives 4* to whatever it thinks are the half-dozen best NYC restaurants at that time, regardless of comparisons to earlier eras, or restaurants in other cities.

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Per Se opened in 2004.

Daniel opened in 1993 and moved to its current spot in 1998.

Le Bernardin opened in Paris in 1972, moved to NYC in 1986; Ripert took over in 1994.

Jean Georges opened in 1997.

Masa opened in 2004.

EMP opened in 1998; Humm took over in 2006.

 

I don't know how significant the survivorship bias is here - ADNY opened in 2000.

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