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Charles Isherwood Reviews the 'Theater' at Aldea

It must be a slow spell in the theater world, as the Times resident critic Charles Isherwood delves into the restaurant world to give a theatrical review to a meal at Aldea. 1300 words are spilled describing dinner as a show at this one restaurant, purportedly a review of "the newly public drama of creating the meal itself." Why he only went to one restaurant with a chef's counter when there are at least a dozen notable variations in the city is unclear, but Isherwood does get bonus points for these lines: "With his square jaw and bristle of spiked hair, he has telegenic handsomeness to match Mr. DiSpirito’s. But the audience he is interested in is clearly the palate."

Mendes is also called "intense," "Hamlet-like," and "a moody presence." Sadly, there was no drama of note, though "Shivers of suspense traveled up and down my spine as I watched the shucking of oysters." In the end Isherwood decided chefs are not artists, but watching a high-end kitchen is a performance "as lively, intriguing and satisfying as a well-realized work of theatrical art."
· Dinner Theater Performed Backstage, in the Kitchen [NYT]
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