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Is formal dining holding its own?


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obviously I haven't been to Le coucou, but it sound like a really interesting counterpoint to ko et al. Where the room/soundtrack/dress of the patrons connotes informality but the actual dining experience - as Wilfrid points out - is highly formal and coucou which sounds like the opposite.

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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

@Adrian:

 

At Le Coucou, if you ignored everything outside of the immediate vicinity of your table, and looked at just the stuff on the table, and your interactions with the waitstaff, you could very much think it a "formal" restaurant with friendly, modern, American-style service.

 

The "informal" aspects show up because of things like soundtrack, noise level, painted brick walls, &c.

 

So... I think what you end up with is – most of the supposedly "formal" restaurants we've noted above, both traditional ones like Chevalier or untraditional ones like Ko – they're not restaurants that most of us would want to eat at regularly. Whereas, like, in the 2.5 weeks that Le Coucou's been open, multiple people on MFF have already eaten there more than once.

 

In practice I think it ends up working like a casual restaurant, but with all the wonderful formal amenities that we've mostly been denied from casual places.

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11) The signage should have appropriate kerning between each letter.

12) The opening date should fall within the Overton Window for acceptance of its genre.

 

13) Bread service should be included in the price.

 

ETA - Bonner beat me by 7 minutes. Grrrrr.

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You know, I was a bit pissed off at the lack of bread service the first time I ate at Le Coucou, until I ate there a second time, receiving bread service, and realized they were only being polite the first time cuz my date was Celiac, and they assumed (incorrectly) that I wouldn't be so insensitive as to tear into some bread in front of her.

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I think this is the thread where I asserted that the Grand Old Restaurants of the '60s and '70s didn't focus on ingredient quality the way f-t-t has led even good mid-level places to do now.*

 

There was some pushback on that, with some people saying that places like Lutece surely tried to get the best raw materials possible.

 

Here's something Orik said in 2004 about LCB Brasserie, the successor to the legendary Le Cote Basque, one of the great restaurants of '60s-'70s period. Presumably, the Brasserie's sourcing was similar to the prior restaurant's (and this comports with my recollection of Le Cote Basque and places like it). Here's what Orik had to say about his dessert:

 

A plate of red fruits was a bit of a joke (not very good strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)

Who would dare that now?

________________________________________________________

* To be clear, I myself only ate in those restaurants in the '80s -- and I want to emphasize that I loved them.

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Well, I think Sneak's point is at least now it'd be poor local red fruit.

 

On the other hand, instead of a foie stuffed pig leg with all kinds of other goodies, people seem excited about much less ambitious food. So I'm not particularly sure we've gone anywhere.

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Well, I think Sneak's point is at least now it'd be poor local red fruit.

 

On the other hand, instead of a foie stuffed pig leg with all kinds of other goodies, people seem excited about much less ambitious food. So I'm not particularly sure we've gone anywhere.

Man, they're excited by the fried tripe L'Express has been serving on Park Ave for twenty years, but sliced and nicely garnished.

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