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Pete Wells on Tasting Menus: 'Enough Really Is Enough'

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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.

I'm getting used to that sting. Across the country, expensive tasting-menu-only restaurants are spreading like an epidemic.

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."
· Nibbled to Death [NYT]
· All Coverage of Pete Wells [~ENY~]