Out to Lunch

A bunch of years ago, the best known food writer and editor in the U.S. said, “Every city gets the restaurants it deserves.”

She was responding to a question in an interview about the high costs of eating out in Boston, and the limited value of doing so.  About half of the restaurants featured in that piece closed; one has completely changed its menu.  Chefs can cook, but learning how to run a business isn’t part of the core curriculum at most culinary institutes, and those who learn how to work in restaurants on the fly are fortunate if they are taught the part about making money.

What Boston excels at, far better than most cities, is lunch.  No Western city has a better array of sandwich places, pizzerias, bakeries, noodle joints, or inexpensive Chinese restaurants where for less than ten dollars–at any of these–you can enjoy delicious food.

It’s fun and practical to pick something up and return to class or work.

At the end of the day, either hit the bars or return home.  It might be enjoyable once in awhile to stop in for an expensive experience, but as Pete Wells notes in his terrific review of I Sodi this week, too many restaurants aren’t really about dining: “The current food scene rewards egotistic gestures of novel techniques or ingredient pairings above rigorous devotion to tradition…”  (He cites I Sodi as a good example of skill and tradition.)

Slice and a coke, please.


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