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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

At an Italian restaurant last night, I was greeted with Buona sera. The waiter said prego multiple times and grazie at the end. I am pretty sure they sprinkled in a madame in error, when serving my wife the appetizer.

 

Should I have been offended?

Big pepper grinder?

 

No. But you should recognize that it's not helping anyone take the place seriously (even if it's a serious restaurant).

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Should I have been offended?

No. But you should recognize that it's not helping anyone take the place seriously (even if it's a serious restaurant).

 

I don't dispute that some people think this makes a restaurant less "serious", even though the reasons for that view are fairly murky and not thought out with any coherence.

 

Nevertheless, my question is not about seriousness. My question is whether any reasonable person(*) ought to be actually offended by that, as some apparently are if the greeting is Bonsoir, rather than Buona sera.

 

(*) I confine my question to reasonable people, because the set of things that unreasonable people may believe is infinite.

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To be fair the only people that said it was outright offensive was me and maybe sneakeater. There are definite socio-political issues related to this where I am from*. I fully admit that I may be overly sensitive to it and others may not see it through the same lens.

I maintain that the grazie, prego stuff is pointless and stupid

 

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*more in the sense of appropriating french as a signifier of culture but treating actual french speaking people as their lessers

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Right. There's a hit of an "is/ought" problem here.

 

And we shouldn't frame this generationally - o can think of a hole host of people sneaks age who have been put off not by fancy dining itself, but by the old style of it, with its bonsoirs. The Ruth reichel at Le cirque crowd, if you will.

 

Eta: and they aren't wrong about the older experience. Which is a shame. And French is associated with that experience. Which is also a shame.

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Whatever it may have been in the past, French dining is really the underdog now in American culture. It seems to be enjoying a comeback in the last couple of years at lower levels, but there's still a long way to go.

 

To the extent that NYT stars mean anything, no French restaurant has ascended to four stars since Alain Ducasse at the Essex House received the honor from William Grimes in 2001— and in the intervening years, there haven't been very many three-stars, either. It really is a cuisine that has struggled, and mostly failed, to maintain its relevance.

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Yes, but it's struggled in large part because of those past associations.

 

In some sense, your assertion begs the question. Emp is a French restaurant and got four (San pelligrino, sure, but French). The cooking there looks a heck of a lot more stereotypically French than the cooking at arpege. It makes me think that we have an awfully narrow definition of what constitutes French cuisine (to be honest, the mains at del posto are essentially French insofar as they are built off of reduction sauces).

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The proliferation of French techniques across the meal - reduction sauces, especially wine based reduction sauces (in fact, the general protein-sauce combination vs, say, a Japanese or new Nordic composition), variants on mother sauces, sabayons, various cutting techniques, whole roast proteins and multi part compositions using different techniques (roast plus braise, etc), table side service, the ingredients (vs, say deal posto) - not to mention the general meal structure itself and kitchen organization.

 

The reality is the French technique forms the core of almost every four star, non Japanese restaurant, but a definition that excludes emp from "French" cooking, would exclude arpege, saturne, club chase et peche, toque, 400 coups and many more.

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