Times critic Pete Wells likes what a lot of talented chefs are doing with tasting menus, but seems to think the trend is getting out of hand. In a piece that starts with praise for the chefs who understand "the challenges and possibilities of the form," like Brooklyn Fare's César Ramirez or Atera's Matthew Lightner (with a bonus photo gallery of all 28 courses from Atera's menu), he bemoans the many others that give him "the same trapped, helpless sensation:"
At other times, though, the consumer of such a meal may feel as much like a victim as a guest. The reservation is hard won, the night is exhausting, the food is cold, the interruptions are frequent. The courses blur, the palate flags and the check stings.The end result? A loss of "biodiversity" as restaurants already set aside for an "elite audience" become reserved solely for "a particular kind of diner, the big-game hunters out to bag as many trophy restaurants as they can."
I'm getting used to that sting. Across the country, expensive tasting-menu-only restaurants are spreading like an epidemic.
· Nibbled to Death [NYT]
· All Coverage of Pete Wells [~ENY~]