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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

 

Is it a question of interest/taste or a question of cost? I am very sympathetic to a young person, not in finance or law, who is looking at what they get for, say, $60 plus tax and 20% tip and deciding to go for the interesting craft beer vs. the mediocre mass market bottle of wine.

 

Of course, that's an important part of it. But this is analogous to some stories Neocon was telling some pages back. There was a time when, even if you couldn't afford it, you at least aspired to drink fine wine, just as you aspired to go to Le Bernardin or L'Ambroisie (or wherever).

 

People are now being enouraged in the belief that beer is not only cheaper, it's every bit as rewarding.

 

 

If it's independent of what people are actually buying, is this an observed diminishing of interest in wine, or a perceived diminishing of interest in wine? How are you measuring this change?

 

Frankly I think the tipping culture in the US (20% on top of the underlying bottle price, regardless of bottle? Seriously?) has killed the wine culture, more than anything else.

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I think that if you look forward a few years, the kids that read Harry Potter as they were growing are the kids that ended up studying Shakespeare in University.

No doubt. I was offering an analogy to explain the error in supposing that people might be educated by an experience to which they aspired, but never actually had.

 

I was not making an argument about literature.

I agree, that's a silly argument. I wasn't making it. You're the one making an argument that people are made worse off by exposure to good versions of lesser forms. I was giving an example of how exposure to good versions of lesser forms provides an educational foundation. Your case rests on assuming that some (young) people, have both infinitely malleable opinions that can override experience and highly selective hearing.

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You're the one making an argument that people are made worse off by exposure to good versions of lesser forms.

Please.

 

The argument isn't that people are made worse off by exposure to good versions of lesser forms.

 

The argument is that people are made worse off by being told by others in culturally authoritative positions that good versions of lesser forms are as good as or better than good versions of higher forms. (And also that middling but "ambitious" versions of higher forms are as good as good versions of higher forms.)

 

People's misunderstanding of what the premise is has cost hundreds of pages.

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You're the one making an argument that people are made worse off by exposure to good versions of lesser forms.

Please.

 

The argument isn't that people are made worse off by exposure to good versions of lesser forms.

 

The argument is that people are made worse off by being told by others in culturally authoritative positions that good versions of lesser forms are as good as or better than good versions of higher forms. (And also that middling but "ambitious" versions of higher forms are as good as good versions of higher forms.)

 

People's misunderstanding of what the premise is has cost hundreds of pages.

 

But you clipped what I said. I tire of the argument that anything that young people enjoy that represents an improvement over something in the past is therefore the causal reason for a real or perceived diminution in something else. It's now not only the argument on this board for formal dining (despite better, economic stories for the changes) but for some perceived change in wine lists (because you can now get good beer or something).

 

The argument has to be that young people are out there blindly listening to a subset of the discourse. Not only is this a slanted version of the discourse (Eric Ripert and Le Cirque are lionized on Top Chef to 2m viewers a week, Per Se is the best restaurant in New York per the NYT, eater is doing remixes of Kayesan making tournedos rossini) but it requires that young people selectively listen - and believe - only laudatory comments about lesser places while ignoring both laudatory comments about more ambitious places and their own experience and education from comparing better and worse food - because young people do experience four star restaurants and can distinguish between better and worse lesser restaurants. This doesn't make much logical sense to me, nor does it jive with personal experience. This is compounded by every country that has an elite fine dining culture, or drinking culture, also has an obsessive vernacular dining culture, hence we see michelin starred soba, lines for raman, etc.

 

There's are all sorts of cases here, but you can see why I find the "blame the kids" portion of these threads irritating.

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You're the one making an argument that people are made worse off by exposure to good versions of lesser forms.

Please.

 

The argument isn't that people are made worse off by exposure to good versions of lesser forms.

 

The argument is that people are made worse off by being told by others in culturally authoritative positions that good versions of lesser forms are as good as or better than good versions of higher forms. (And also that middling but "ambitious" versions of higher forms are as good as good versions of higher forms.)

 

People's misunderstanding of what the premise is has cost hundreds of pages.

 

But you clipped what I said. I tire of the argument that anything that young people enjoy that represents an improvement over something in the past is therefore the causal reason for a real or perceived diminution in something else. It's now not only the argument on this board for formal dining (despite better, economic stories for the changes) but for some perceived change in wine lists (because you can now get good beer or something).

 

The argument has to be that young people are out there blindly listening to a subset of the discourse. Not only is this a slanted version of the discourse (Eric Ripert and Le Cirque are lionized on Top Chef to 2m viewers a week, Per Se is the best restaurant in New York per the NYT, eater is doing remixes of Kayesan making tournedos rossini) but it requires that young people selectively listen - and believe - only laudatory comments about lesser places while ignoring both laudatory comments about more ambitious places and their own experience and education from comparing better and worse food - because young people do experience four star restaurants and can distinguish between better and worse lesser restaurants. This doesn't make much logical sense to me, nor does it jive with personal experience. This is compounded by every country that has an elite fine dining culture, or drinking culture, also has an obsessive vernacular dining culture, hence we see michelin starred soba, lines for raman, etc.

 

There's are all sorts of cases here, but you can see why I find the "blame the kids" portion of these threads irritating.

 

You're wrong on the discourse:

 

Ryan Sutton: Carbone is as good as Le Bernardin. Carbone is better than "fussy" "tweezer food" like The Elm.

 

Pete Wells: Il Buco ABV is better than The Elm.

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You're the one making an argument that people are made worse off by exposure to good versions of lesser forms.

Please.

 

The argument isn't that people are made worse off by exposure to good versions of lesser forms.

 

The argument is that people are made worse off by being told by others in culturally authoritative positions that good versions of lesser forms are as good as or better than good versions of higher forms. (And also that middling but "ambitious" versions of higher forms are as good as good versions of higher forms.)

 

People's misunderstanding of what the premise is has cost hundreds of pages.

 

But you clipped what I said. I tire of the argument that anything that young people enjoy that represents an improvement over something in the past is therefore the causal reason for a real or perceived diminution in something else. It's now not only the argument on this board for formal dining (despite better, economic stories for the changes) but for some perceived change in wine lists (because you can now get good beer or something).

 

The argument has to be that young people are out there blindly listening to a subset of the discourse. Not only is this a slanted version of the discourse (Eric Ripert and Le Cirque are lionized on Top Chef to 2m viewers a week, Per Se is the best restaurant in New York per the NYT, eater is doing remixes of Kayesan making tournedos rossini) but it requires that young people selectively listen - and believe - only laudatory comments about lesser places while ignoring both laudatory comments about more ambitious places and their own experience and education from comparing better and worse food - because young people do experience four star restaurants and can distinguish between better and worse lesser restaurants. This doesn't make much logical sense to me, nor does it jive with personal experience. This is compounded by every country that has an elite fine dining culture, or drinking culture, also has an obsessive vernacular dining culture, hence we see michelin starred soba, lines for raman, etc.

 

There's are all sorts of cases here, but you can see why I find the "blame the kids" portion of these threads irritating.

 

You're wrong on the discourse:

 

Ryan Sutton: Carbone is as good as Le Bernardin. Carbone is better than "fussy" "tweezer food" like The Elm.

 

Pete Wells: Il Buco ABV is better than The Elm.

 

That sounds a lot more like "critics these days" than kids.

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You're wrong on the discourse:

Ryan Sutton: Carbone is as good as Le Bernardin. Carbone is better than "fussy" "tweezer food" like The Elm.

 

Pete Wells: Il Buco ABV is better than The Elm.

 

 

Sutton: "Fluke becomes Le Bernardin-worthy" is not "Carbone is as good as Le Bernardin", it's a laudatory statement to say that Carbone is serving very good fluke that is worthy of a restaurant everyone but Orik agrees is among the very best in NYC. It's high praise, not equivalency. Google isn't coming up with anything where Sutton says that The Elm is "fussy" "tweezer food". But it's weird to criticize Sutton. Here's a guy whose blog literally tells people that $800 dinners are a GOOD DEAL (his caps, not mine) and that Corton is a four star restaurant and has interviews with chefs justifying why their restaurants that only celery root are worth the price. In order to pin that on Sutton, you've got to have some selective hearing that confirms your fears.

 

Wells: All reviewers are having these problems with the stars. This is why star systems pose a problem. This is kind of interesting. How do you criticize a restaurant that's aiming for three stars but falls slightly short while complimenting a restaurant that's an outstanding two star restaurant? It's a difficult thing to balance. You've also got genre shifts - what does a three star Modern Australian restaurant look like? How would I write a review of Bar Isabel (a high quality meat and vegetable place in Toronto that's about the best we've ever seen) or Edulis (an ingredient centric New American-French place that's as good a not-quite four star as we've ever seen) that correctly lauds those restaurants but maintains coherence with a system where I criticize George (a more ambitious restaurant than Isabel certainly, cooking more difficult food in a more formal setting, but simply a restaurant that does not execute with enough quality or consistency). I don't think anyone has done a particularly good job addressing this issue, which gets harder as more different kinds of restaurants open.

 

ETA: selective hearing: "omfg, what a waste that Brock is cooking fried chicken at Hearth for slightly less affluent affluent people" when a Google search gives you the over-the-top expensive fine dining meal that he's cooking at the Core Club.

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YES. THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT WILFRID AND I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO MAKE FOR PAGES AND PAGES.

But this still seems to double back to spongiform (young) people being unable to distinguish one thing from another as they accumulate experience. And selective hearing.

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