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According to Eater   Let the grumbling begin.

Even now when everybody has seen pictures of all the major reviewers, there's hope for anonymous restaurant reviewing.

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We're really talking about three separate things here:

 

a. Careful local sourcing of ingredients, which is something that all good restaurants should be doing anyway (to the extent that it's appropriate – obviously not for sushi)

 

b. Restaurants that explicitly identify with the farm-to-table movement, which mostly cook in the haute farmhouse style, which are also now the stereotypical mid-level restaurant in New York

 

c. The influence of the farm-to-table movement on customers, especially in how customers engage with sourcing.

 

(a) just is, and is the way things should be and are. © is largely a good thing for building an informed dining public. (b) is what I'm sort of meh about at this point, because I think the cooking style is just sort of limited.

 

Edit: Already used numbers a few posts up.

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I think taion's point "1" is very important. The point isn't that chefs are paying more attention to ingredient quality; it's that customers are. (And if the more ignorant customers are using farm names as a marker of quality, that's still better than their not caring at all; I always say that everything that goes mass gets shitty anyway.)

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I actually think that you can draw the line from Alice Walters, Jeremiah tower, gramercy tavern, Patrick o'connell and Barber to what you are calling haute barnyard. That group began he project of applying old world principles to a development of a new distinctly new world cuisine. In particular, a lighter cuisine derived from rustic Italian cooking and applying nouvelle cuisine principles, to seasonal and local American product. They were the progenitors of "farm-to-table".

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4. Nevertheless, we've gotten probably as much mileage as we can out of (3), and now we're hitting limitations of that haute farmhouse style, like the restaurants in question having absolutely no clue what sauces are

I don't know. Setting aside Chang (who I do think is operating in the new American tradition, albeit while incorporating a wider variety of immigrant traditions into "his" cuisine) I don't think barber's cooking is as limited as most here do.

 

More importantly, I also think that Manresa, cat bird and mccradys (or willows inn where I'll be in about a month) are pretty clearly "new American" restaurants, though new American restaurants with a more expansive view of what the cuisine can be at the high end (kinch is not afraid to reject aggressively local sourcing for imported wagyu - which is fine, because bras and passard will do the same thing, it's a sigh Of confidence not compromise). This attitude to new American cooking is one reason why I think that the sf high end is compelling right now.

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I actually think that you can draw the line from Alice Walters, Jeremiah tower, gramercy tavern, Patrick o'connell and Barber to what you are calling haute barnyard. That group began he project of applying old world principles to a development of a new distinctly new world cuisine. In particular, a lighter cuisine derived from rustic Italian cooking and applying nouvelle cuisine principles, to seasonal and local American product. They were the progenitors of "farm-to-table".

While I agree with most everything you say here, I think Alice's old world principles lighter cuisine was derived from rustic French.

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Can't disagree that this cuisine looks fantastic at the high-end.

As a mid-level cuisine, though? I feel like I'd much rather eat at, say, a not-quite-as-good version of Le Coucou versus some place serving "figs on a plate" or something.

 

Rustic whatever is fine, but, you know, cuisine bourgeoise!

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I actually think that you can draw the line from Alice Walters, Jeremiah tower, gramercy tavern, Patrick o'connell and Barber to what you are calling haute barnyard. That group began he project of applying old world principles to a development of a new distinctly new world cuisine. In particular, a lighter cuisine derived from rustic Italian cooking and applying nouvelle cuisine principles, to seasonal and local American product. They were the progenitors of "farm-to-table".

While I agree with most everything you say here, I think Alice's old world principles came from rustic French.

I think you're right. I know she spent time in Italy, but it probably mostly comes from France.

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Can't disagree that this cuisine looks fantastic at the high-end.

 

As a mid-level cuisine, though? I feel like I'd much rather eat at, say, a not-quite-as-good version of Le Coucou versus some place serving "figs on a plate" or something.

 

Rustic whatever is fine, but, you know, cuisine bourgeoise!

Aren't places like wildair and semilla moving farm to table/new american forward as the other places recede into the standard neighborhood restaurant?

 

Eta: or Octavia, state bird, liholiho, etc.

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This whole discussion is interesting to me as I spent all of the 80s and half of the 90s in the Bay Area. So I imagine my farm-to-table exposure was, as voyager mentions, not really an overt statement as much as it was becoming a lifestyle thing.

 

I don't really consider Wildair farm-to-table, neither in the spiel nor what's on the plate.

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