"Tell me about the lunch rush."
Do you in fact notice an anecdotal trend toward restaurants that are intellectually stimulating while being emotionally distant? As important, do you think it is correct to think of a restaurant’s food as art and of its dining room as the gallery showing that work, as Brian suggests? Or is the culture of restaurants really one in which the diner’s whole experience is the art? (That’s what your Uncle Sam believes.)
What the hell is he even talking about? Does Sam Sifton know that restaurants don’t have feelings?
Comment on Sam Sifton’s “Hey, Mr. Critic!” blog-column:
Dear Mr. Critic,
Perhaps you can help. Until recently, I was not a foodie. Recent circumstances have conspired to render me thus. Since the appointment of a certain auburn-haired, Spanx-wearing resto critic at one of the larger metropolitan papers (which shall for now remain unnamed) I have become an ardent, exegetical reader of food criticism in that newspaper.
I wait eagerly, longingly, for Wednesday’s dispatches, if I am lucky, they appear early on Tuesday night! – savoring each carefully crafted sentence, living/eating vicariously at Prime Meats, assorted Brooklyn dives and gasp – even Nello’s. I have begun listening to Jay-Z (the musician, not the law professor). I am considering purchasing a loft in Williamsburg. I have begun to craft gloriously clever hashtags for my Twitter account. What, pray tell, would you recommend I do to rid myself of this (time consuming) obsession?
Critics spend a lot of time eating the roast chicken, the mashed potatoes with chives, the steak frites, all the standard meat-and-taties entrees that average diners get all the time. So when a delicate little octopus liver comes along, poached in monkey blood, with a veal-and-cocoa ganache? It’s all they want to try.
Sam Sifton, on why food critics often write about the esoteric. Poor things. This must also be why fashion magazines (and the NYT Style section) only write about super-expensive designer clothes—because they’re bored. It’s not because they are ignoring the fact that their readers can’t afford what they’re covering.