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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

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Rereading that article (or maybe reading it for the first time, who can remember?), this is interesting:


Soulé himself missed the bourgeois fare of his homeland such as blanquette de veau or sausages with lentil and, paradoxically, prepared these ordinary dishes as off-menu items for customers who, he felt, could appreciate the real culinary soul of France.



And as Wilf was heading to Daniel a night or two ago (how was it?), I think one of the best things I ever tasted from Daniel was a leftover stuffed veal breast, with lentils, gifted to me by someone who had eaten at Daniel the night before; Daniel had prepared it as a special for a few people.

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At dinner in Le Coucou last week it struck me this is what formal dining has become for moneyed Millennials. We were surrounded by young women from the Instagram set, dressed to the nines, taking selfies [some of our neighbours showed up geotagged the next day, LOL]. They would order the entire dessert menu so they could photograph the spread for their social media.


The men were from an, erm, wider range of ages. The young men were mostly dressed much more casually than the women [i do wonder how many 'formal' occasions Millennial men will yet admit: weddings and funerals?]. The older men dressed better, but there were still glaring discrepancies of style and manner which led my dinner companion to speculate about escorts and 'sugar daddy' arrangements.


Edited: of course, the funny thing is that Le Coucou's food is mostly not terribly photogenic. But this is the hegemonic mode of posh Millennial dining. It might make more sense at, say, Eleven Madison Park, but I suppose my point is that Le Coucou and EMP feel like sort of the same category for many young people, whereas I'd say one is [rich, smart] casual and the other [relaxed, less 'rigorous'] formal.

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