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Chevalier at The Baccarat


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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.

 

 

I was trying to say this above. But I guess it shouldn't bother me that I'm less articulate than a tenured English professor at one of the most respected liberal arts colleges in the world. (God it hurt to type that.)

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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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Same. But sure as fuck I'm not gonna say that twice.

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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).

 

 

I'm CERTAINLY not gonna say it three times.

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Yes, yes, yes.

 

But this also doesn't mean giving up formality. First, because we can list dozens of restaurants, both French and non-French, in the U.S., Canada and Europe (including France!) that serve equally or more high end food in a formal environment but using a different aesthetic (and not only counters). Second, because it doesn't much look like what it's copying anyway.

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Aren't the cocktail complaints exactly the same as LNY's water in 3 star restaurants complaints?

kinda sorta
Naw. Don't let ori ori you.

Its kinda sorta because you could conceivably argue that the tariff is a function of that room and those costs and that some part of the algorithm of how they get the business model to work is that x% of guests order a $24 cocktail with 95% gross margins.

 

Just like Heinz Beck needs to charge 15 euro for a bottle of still water.

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Yeah, but it's different because the other places in equally expensive rooms arent doing those cocktails with grey goose. If these were "serious" cocktails, the price would be less of an issue.

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...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.

It really is deplorable to be wishing for the decay of something other people enjoy, but that is doing you no harm.

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..we can list dozens of restaurants, both French and non-French, in the U.S., Canada and Europe (including France!) that serve equally or more high end food in a formal environment but using a different aesthetic (and not only counters). Second, because it doesn't much look like what it's copying anyway.

I am not so sure that is true. The restaurants you're thinking of, generally aren't serving THIS food. They are serving something else — very good or even better for what it is, but not directly comparable — that is more suited to their aesthetic.

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...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.

It really is deplorable to be wishing for the decay of something other people enjoy, but that is doing you no harm.

What I want is the continued survival of something that I love.

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..we can list dozens of restaurants, both French and non-French, in the U.S., Canada and Europe (including France!) that serve equally or more high end food in a formal environment but using a different aesthetic (and not only counters). Second, because it doesn't much look like what it's copying anyway.

I am not so sure that is true. The restaurants you're thinking of, generally aren't serving THIS food. They are serving something else very good or even better for what it is, but not directly comparable that is more suited to their aesthetic.

Would there be any issue serving this food in Jean George's room with Jean George's service? how different is this food from le chronique?

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1) I'd be just as annoyed to be greeted in Italian or Japanese at a high end restaurant. Thinking about it some more, actually I think it was just cheesy, more than it was pretentious or anything like that.

 

2) JG's room is so much nicer than Le Chevalier's. Other than the gratuitous French, the service is similar enough, unless my memory is failing me.

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