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Is formal dining holding its own?


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yeah any of the long stew cuts (necks etc.) I don't see how the meat quality makes a perceptible difference so long as it's cooked well. something like a blade steak or chop it matters cause that's a much shorter cooking process...

 

I have to say that I have tasted the difference in lamb ragu between supermarket lamb shoulder and local butcher lamb shoulder. Local butcher shoulder from a local lamb tastes a lot more like lamb. The same for oxtail. Even after cooking for several hours.

 

 

Lamb is different. Supermarket lamb in the U.S. usually deliberately doesn't taste like lamb. But it's not a quality thing per se. If you're in a lamb raising region then the supermarket lamb can be just fine. If that makes sense.

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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

 

 

yeah any of the long stew cuts (necks etc.) I don't see how the meat quality makes a perceptible difference so long as it's cooked well. something like a blade steak or chop it matters cause that's a much shorter cooking process...

 

I have to say that I have tasted the difference in lamb ragu between supermarket lamb shoulder and local butcher lamb shoulder. Local butcher shoulder from a local lamb tastes a lot more like lamb. The same for oxtail. Even after cooking for several hours.

 

 

Lamb is different. Supermarket lamb in the U.S. usually deliberately doesn't taste like lamb. But it's not a quality thing per se. If you're in a lamb raising region then the supermarket lamb can be just fine. If that makes sense.

 

I have a different take on it. In my area, supermarket (+ Trader Joe and Costco) carry New Zealand lamb while my stand-alone butcher carries local Central Valley lamb. Both animals are raised in open pasture but the New Zealand lamb is killed much younger than American lamb. I personally prefer the NZ lamb for its tenderness and gentle flavor, more like French lamb which is also killed younger than ours.

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I read that earlier and was thinking of posting it but wasn't sure where to put it. Maybe it deserves its own thread? Or we should have a Cuozzo thread? In any case, Cuozzo's attitude about these three new restaurants doesn't surprise me because he's one of the few critics who really does appreciate fine dining.

Here you go.

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But I thought Le Coucou wasn't formal.

 

I am neutral, since I haven't been there. From the photos alone, I would agree that it seems to fall on the "formal" side of the divide, at least by the standards of restaurant openings in the last 10 years. But I fully understand that the vibe of a place cannot entirely be conveyed by a photo; and there is also a question whether the definition ought to be shape-shifted, just because the last decade has been so hostile (in general) to that type of place.

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I'm kidding, mostly.

Cuozzo's description of "downtown energy... with uptown hallmarks" is exactly on the money. He seems to classify Le Coucou as "formal" but lively in the same sense that I do:

Le Coucou, helmed by celebrated young chef Daniel Rose, who gained fame at Spring in Paris, is already one of New York’s liveliest dining arenas. It seethes with energy and laughter, but it’s 100 percent “fine.” There are linen tablecloths, candles, chandeliers, and the 86 seats are spaced so that everyone can hear others at their table. The well-trained floor crew patrols the floor like attentive swans. Menus, drinks, dishes and the bill arrive when they’re supposed to.


But at some level this is just a question of taxonomy. Is it fine dining because of the amenities, or is it casual because of the "downtown energy"?

 

But really it's both. And that's what's (IMO) cool and new.

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I'm kidding, mostly.

 

Cuozzo's description of "downtown energy... with uptown hallmarks" is exactly on the money. He seems to classify Le Coucou as "formal" but lively in the same sense that I do:

 

Le Coucou, helmed by celebrated young chef Daniel Rose, who gained fame at Spring in Paris, is already one of New York’s liveliest dining arenas. It seethes with energy and laughter, but it’s 100 percent “fine.” There are linen tablecloths, candles, chandeliers, and the 86 seats are spaced so that everyone can hear others at their table. The well-trained floor crew patrols the floor like attentive swans. Menus, drinks, dishes and the bill arrive when they’re supposed to.

But at some level this is just a question of taxonomy. Is it fine dining because of the amenities, or is it casual because of the "downtown energy"?

 

But really it's both. And that's what's (IMO) cool and new.

 

Isn't that what Sneak said was new about Chanterelle decades ago?

 

I wonder about Montrachet and Bouley too. Not to mention WD-50.

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