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Is formal dining holding its own?


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I think Sutton's comments are true for a particular group of people. The issue is whether those people are tastemaking harbingers or whether they're a dead end. I think they're deluded either way. If they're harbingers, then I think the mass audience will be deluded, too.

What should people be looking for? Surely, people who done at ishikawa aren't deluded by demanding high end vegetables and oily fish...

 

 

Yeah, I know what you mean.

 

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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

Well yeah - and sweet delicious crab.

 

The crab meal, by my calculation, would be about $1800pp at Per Se using these crabs or other ingredients of the same price (vs $270pp at Ishikawa). I think that's the only thing you need to know about nyc restaurants.

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There are multiple American traditions, of course (including the folkloric hobo). This came up months ago when some misguided journalist suggested there wasn't an American tradition of eating pig's feet. :o

What Americans traditionally eat pigs feet and offal? Slaves? Poor, first-generation immigrants? Certainly there's no tradition of going to a luxurious restaurant for a special occasion and ordering that stuff, even in the antebellum south.

 

 

The pig's feet and chitterlings tradition survived the emancipation act until, well, today, Go to any branches of Manna's. And in home cooking too.

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Chang asserted that they were serving pork blade steaks at Ssam Bar from Bev Eggleston cause that was the only Eggleston product that could hit their price point. It is a great product so I can see the argument that the Eggleston blade steak is "better" than a pork chop from an inferior purveyor.

 

sushi has been alluded to multiple times throughout this thread but isn't seafood in general a rebuttal to the idea that there has been a complete move to "waste" ingredients and vegetables? We get many more "high end" seafood options and, usually better quality, than 25 years ago. light years more options. how is that not an expansion on the lux end of things? ok, definitely less ossetra and beluga but now langostinos are everywhere etc. not saying that things have gotten more lux (clearly not overall) but it's not that simple on the ingredients end of things.

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It's increasingly strange that seafood seems exempt from the local sourcing meme.

 

Yes, that Eggleston blade steak was a big hit at Terroir too. It's not on Eggleston's price list, but I strongly suspect--and you (Nathan) seem to confirm--that it's not priced higher than the tenderloin or rib chops because restaurants like to offer it, but very much the reverse. They like to offer it because it's cheaper (but still good).

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That's kind of my point - you can both justify a markup and also prices have been bid up for every part of the name brand animal. It used to be that the market for egglston pork neck was the same as the market for pork neck. Now, it's a different product with market demand of its own.

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The La Freida effect.

 

Which is interesting because the guy is just a butcher and I do not believe there is any locavore/provenance to what he is selling other than it comes from his meat grinder.

 

 

It was a perfect storm. Burger fetishists like Ozersky and Solares desperately needed something new to write about. Along came LaFrieda who was glad to produce 253 special blends.

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In theory, so many places serve LaFrieda burgers now that the brand should be devalued. But I think the truth is that very few people really care where their burger came from (although now as few as care about gourmet waste produce).

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That's kind of my point - you can both justify a markup and also prices have been bid up for every part of the name brand animal. It used to be that the market for egglston pork neck was the same as the market for pork neck. Now, it's a different product with market demand of its own.

 

Prices have been bid up on most parts of cows, pigs and sheep. Quite seriously, once you start to struggle making your margin on oxtail, you really do have to go to braising neck or shin. I did see a calf's foot on a new, trendy NYC menu recently, but that's not widespread yet.

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