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Chevalier at The Baccarat


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I saw that the Baccarat's bar is opening tonight. No date yet for the main restaurant, Chevalier. This is the place Charles Masson will be running, with Shea Gallante in the kitchen. Modern take on

I recall the good old days when I went to a restaurant for the food. Now I have all these other things to worry about to determine if I had a good time.

I've been to that downstairs bar twice, and both times got a seat with no trouble at all.   I went upstairs only once. The bar was such a madhouse that a guy in a suit wouldn't even let me in the do

Would anybody here actually prefer to be "bonsoir"ed and "monsieur"ed at a (serious, high-end) French restaurant in NYC? The best I can say is that it didn't bother me all that much, but that I still would have preferred they not do so.

 

I am utterly indifferent. Doesn't make it better. Doesn't make it worse.

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The first time I ever experienced that was at Kuruma Zushi. I was, to say the least, startled by all these people -- many with knives -- yelling at me.

 

 

this shit doesn't happen at any of the top l.a sushi places i've been to, by the way. you're greeted/acknowledged very discreetly by the chef(s) in front of your seat at the bar and the same as you get up to leave. it's also the case that most of these people don't speak english anywhere as fluently as they speak japanese.

 

as for why french is "pretentious"/annoying in a way that no other language is in a formal restaurant setting: this is not really a mystery, is it? pointing out that this kind of thing (or some version of it) happens in italian/japanese/mexican/whatever restaurants as well is besides the point--those cuisines don't signify what high-end french dining does in the u.s. and for that reason those who wish that aspect of high-end french dining would naturally decay are bothered when they encounter it (especially in a new place) at french places but not in italian/japanese/mexican/whatever places.

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Would anybody here actually prefer to be "bonsoir"ed and "monsieur"ed at a (serious, high-end) French restaurant in NYC? The best I can say is that it didn't bother me all that much, but that I still would have preferred they not do so.

 

I am utterly indifferent. Doesn't make it better. Doesn't make it worse.

 

 

 

well, that's nice for you. but i don't know why it is hard to accept that a large number of people who do enjoy eating that food would enjoy the larger experience of eating at a restaurant that serves that food far more if it didn't also come with all sorts of other trappings they don't enjoy at all. and since the experience is not cheap it makes perfect sense that they might not want to spend $200-300/head on an evening where, as good as the food apparently is, the rest is not enjoyable for them at all. if the restaurant fails for this reason it won't be because diners failed the restaurant by refusing to eat there for non-food reasons; it'll be because the restaurant made a bad decision to chase a bygone aesthetic.

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I guess the moral of the story is to avoid not just the cocktails, but also to avoid the tasting menu and wine pairing unless you're Wilfrid.

Obviously it's better value if it's cheaper. I can't account for the difference.

 

It's just that, here we have the highest quality opening of the year by far, and there's this urge to somehow pick faults with that. It's actually regressive from the early days of eGullet, more than ten years ago, when this just wouldn't have happened.

 

You weren't the one who had to pay the quant tax. I feel like 300pp is a pretty big psychological barrier w/r/t meal price.

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Mongo, you'll find it--perhaps even more so--in low end French restaurants. There's a history to all these cuisines in New York and the States at a lower level than the high end, but it's too much to go into here.

 

Yes, it certainly signifies a complex many Americans have about French culture, and doesn't that have a long history too?

 

The reason for mentioning Japanese and Italian restaurants is precisely to show that this isn't a reasonable complaint about foreign signifiers, but absolutely and specifically a reflex twitch about anything posh and French.

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I don't argue that anyone should endure trappings they dislike (including me, by the way). There are wide disparities in taste.

 

The puzzle is how to charge the prices which support really good food and service in a non special-occasion environment. Some restaurants suggest possibilities.

 

It may indeed be that there's no longer a viable market for excellence, partly because people are encouraged to believe middling standards are actually high. But it's okay to deplore that.

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The puzzle is how to charge the prices which support really good food and service in a non special-occasion environment. Some restaurants suggest possibilities.

They can charge $24 for cocktails, $12 for water, and $8 for bread. :D

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I guess the moral of the story is to avoid not just the cocktails, but also to avoid the tasting menu and wine pairing unless you're Wilfrid.

Obviously it's better value if it's cheaper. I can't account for the difference.

 

It's just that, here we have the highest quality opening of the year by far, and there's this urge to somehow pick faults with that. It's actually regressive from the early days of eGullet, more than ten years ago, when this just wouldn't have happened.

You weren't the one who had to pay the quant tax. I feel like 300pp is a pretty big psychological barrier w/r/t meal price.
I agree. But people were looking for problems (ugly curtains, the wrong kind of French accents) at the price I quoted.
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The puzzle is how to charge the prices which support really good food and service in a non special-occasion environment. Some restaurants suggest possibilities.

They can charge $24 for cocktails, $12 for water, and $8 for bread. :D

:)

 

But in practice, people say Masten Lake was too expensive for Brooklyn.

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It may indeed be that there's no longer a viable market for excellence, partly because people are encouraged to believe middling standards are actually high. But it's okay to deplore that.

 

 

there may not be a viable market for excellence if excellence is defined as "excellent food + stuffy service of a certain type + certain kind of environment".

 

that's not to say there is no viable market for excellent food (of the same type) in other kinds of environments. or is the argument that excellent food of the type served at chevalier should/could only be truly appreciated in that kind of environment with that kind of formal service?

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Mongo, you'll find it--perhaps even more so--in low end French restaurants. There's a history to all these cuisines in New York and the States at a lower level than the high end, but it's too much to go into here.

 

 

yes, but at the lower end it is generally kitschy in nature whereas at the higher end it presents itself as self-evident sophistication. an expensive italian restaurant shooting for the same signifiers will be pretentious too but will not be as annoying because expensive italian restaurants haven't defined fine dining for a long time.

 

The reason for mentioning Japanese and Italian restaurants is precisely to show that this isn't a reasonable complaint about foreign signifiers, but absolutely and specifically a reflex twitch about anything posh and French.

 

as i said, i don't think it is a complaint about foreign signifiers per se. and i also don't think it's a reflex just because it's a complaint about french signifiers (in the u.s).

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I was sumimasening my way through Mexico for a couple of weeks, but actually a chain like Ippudo, as almost any Japanese restaurant, trains its employees to deliver greetings at specific times, volume, intonation, etc. It's true that when they try to avoid delivering them (as in French restaurants in Japan), service takes on the appearance of having something stuck up its behind.

 

Do they say irasshaimase at high end restaurants? In my fading memory, the host/hostess does as a regular greeting (so in a normal polite inside voice, if female, the normal high pitched polite inside voice), but not the entire staff in unison.

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