Say What You Like

Say what you like, but The Dutch, where I expect to find myself tonight with the estimable Shoko, is a fascinating, revitalizing concept of a restaurant.  Nothing frou-frou about it, no pyrotechnics, nothing molecular, no reinvention based on the chef’s whims, no effort to add to a classic or take anything away.

Folks: It is simply good food.

What a concept.

Raw shellfish.  Good pot pies.  Good fruit pies.  Good products: Benton’s bacon, prime and aged beef, Copper River salmon.  No burgers, no pandering, no trying to meet an imaginary customer’s expectations.  It’s the kind of food I think that people are eating  at the counter in Nighthawks, as depicted by Edward Hopper.

It’s food of a place in a country where people live near farms and eat as part of the day.  Not food as the pivotal point of their lives, but as a character in a longer, bigger story.

That’s why this kind of cooking is so hard to do for chefs in turmoil who see food as a replacement for less substantive matters or who want to hear applause when they step on stage.  It’s food that is part of a context and not the context.

This kind of food?  It requires humility.


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