I tend to stake a claim and prospect rather than dig a hole a few inches down, find nothing, and move onto the next site in hope of finding gold. It’s funny how for years I’d convinced myself that I was a fox when, in fact, I’m more of a hedgehog. (That’s a reference to Isaiah Berlin’s famous paradigm of human behavior as divided between foxes–those who scurry in response to scents–and those who know one thing or place well–hedgehogs.)
When it comes to food, I’m increasingly taken up by ingredients and seasonality. The notions of national cuisines or sauces or adding more and more to create layers of flavors don’t mean much. Food, like jazz, should just contribute towards creating a space where the person experiencing either can feel renewed or, at least, some of freedom that helps them feel safe enough to slow things down and live in the moment.
Food isn’t transformative nor transcendent. All it is is some part of a bigger experience that contributes to living with increased focus. No past, no future, just what’s on the plate or in your hand.
That said, I really love Locanda Verde. Pasta, etc. OK the front of the house could show a little more interest in what they’re doing. And Betony? My second visit was as good as the first: What focus–six hot apps, six cold apps, six entrees. Simple, delicious, refined food served with a kind of giddiness in perfectly lighted rooms. I’ll be thinking about the poached striped bass with white truffles and caviar for a long time.