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L'Ami Louis
March 23, 2011 10:30 AM   Subscribe

We order foie gras and snails to start. Foie gras is a L’Ami Louis specialty. After 30 minutes what come are a pair of intimidatingly gross flabs of chilly pâté, with a slight coating of pustular yellow fat. They are dense and stringy, with a web of veins. I doubt they were made on the premises. The liver crumbles under the knife like plumber’s putty and tastes faintly of gut-scented butter or pressed liposuction. The fat clings to the roof of my mouth with the oleaginous insistence of dentist’s wax.

Restaurant critic A.A.Gill visits L'Ami Louis. A.A.Gill is not impressed.
posted by Neiltupper (106 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh man, I've never read such a devastatingly vicious (and hilarious) review.
I have decided not to go for the famous roast chicken, mainly because I’ve suffered it before and I’d just been watching a Japanese couple wrestle with one like a manga poltergeist from some Tokyo horror movie, its scaly blue legs stabbing the air. So on to the broiled kidneys. Nothing I have eaten or heard of being eaten here prepared me for the arrival of the veal kidneys en brochette. Somehow the heat had welded them together into a gray, suppurating renal brick. It could be the result of an accident involving rat babies in a nuclear reactor. They don’t taste as nice as they sound.

As an afterthought, or perhaps as an apology, the waiter brings a funeral pyre of French fries—they taste of seared and overused cooking oil—and then a green salad of frisée and mâche, two leaves that rarely share a bowl, due to their irreconcilable differences. They have been doused in vinegar that may have been recycled from the gherkin bottle. Dessert is four balls of gray ice cream and something that had once been chocolate.
Wonderful, evocative writing.
posted by zarq at 10:35 AM on March 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


Twenty minutes later, possibly under their own steam, the snails arrive.

That's fucking funny.
posted by jonmc at 10:36 AM on March 23, 2011 [63 favorites]


Never eat a snail that you can't put up your nose.
posted by LN at 10:37 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Holy shit. That's some of the most vitriolic humorous review writing I've ever read. Anthony Lane could learn from this man.
posted by hippybear at 10:38 AM on March 23, 2011


You guys should read more A.A. Gills reviews and who he is. His reviews are almost all controversial but entertaining.

In Internet-speak, he is a huge but entertaining troll. The consensus on boards like Chowhound is that he actually hates food but loves provoking people.
posted by vacapinta at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


I want this person to be a judge on Top Chef.
posted by JanetLand at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


With friends like Louis, who needs dieticians?
posted by ardgedee at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2011


Holy shit.

Actually: It’s painted a shiny, distressed dung brown. The cramped tables are set with labially pink cloths, which give it a colonic appeal and the awkward sense that you might be a suppository. In the middle of the room is a stubby stove that also looks vaguely proctological.
posted by phaedon at 10:40 AM on March 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


I remain convinced that this is A.A. Gill's sneaky way around all of his hoity-toity pals' requests to not let the secret out.
posted by carsonb at 10:41 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would eat the gigantic, garlic-butter-drenched snails.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:42 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


On second thought, there may be no better way to preserve its status as the destination for those in the know than to produce a devastating review for the general public.
posted by ardgedee at 10:42 AM on March 23, 2011


Seriously, the review can't possibly be true. The restaurant can't possibly be that bad. But the writing is glorious, and the line jonmc quoted is totally inspired. Cheers to this particular troll, even if he is the Armond White of the restaurant world.
posted by The Bellman at 10:42 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Le Fug Youse

*squeals and claps little paws in delight*
posted by fleetmouse at 10:43 AM on March 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's a fabulous review. I particularly like it for skewering a certain kind of Parisian restaurant, hidebound and traditional famous because it's Paris, just like Hemingway experienced! As if France were entombed in its own aspic, incapable of innovation or improvement or even simple change. When I first visited Paris I went to a few of these old places. Some of them have their charms, some of them are just awful and surviving on their history. (And some are frustratingly inbetween; see Le Tour d'Argent). Fortunately I started getting clued in a bit and finding better places, whether traditional-but-good or innovative.
posted by Nelson at 10:43 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


My new mission is to use the construction "Renal Brick" in pretty much anything I say or write.
posted by jalexei at 10:45 AM on March 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


His "Dubai on Empty" article was insipid and hollow. This, however, is gloriously scathing.
posted by jpolchlopek at 10:48 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I swear this is a double, but can't find the post.
posted by k5.user at 10:50 AM on March 23, 2011


The Bellman: "Seriously, the review can't possibly be true. The restaurant can't possibly be that bad. But the writing is glorious, and the line jonmc quoted is totally inspired. Cheers to this particular troll, even if he is the Armond White of the restaurant world."

Sure it could. The world is littered with these kinds of Old Society restaurants that have devolved into essentially culinary tourist traps. See also: Tavern on the Green here in NYC (which has thankfully finally closed).
posted by mkultra at 10:53 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Tavern on the Green was food poisoning roulette, from what I heard.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:54 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


AA Gill is the only reason to buy the Sunday Times. His reviews are wonderful, with two thirds usually devoted to anything but the food or the establishment.
posted by fire&wings at 10:55 AM on March 23, 2011


I swear this is a double, but can't find the post.

It reminds me of the review of Sex and the City 2 by Lindy West, but classier.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:56 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


And "Vichy ticket collectors" has to be the highlight.
posted by fire&wings at 10:57 AM on March 23, 2011


I love this. From his 66 review:

How clever are shrimp-and-foie-gras dumplings with grape fruit dipping sauce? What if we called them fishy liver-filled condoms. They were properly vile, with a savor that lingered like a lovelorn drunk and tasted as if your mouth had been used as the swab bin in an animal hospital.

I also like him as an architecture critic.
posted by Casimir at 10:57 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


That was fun, but I don't understand how garlic butter could ever be astringent, other than by deserving a certain disdainful sonic poesy. Astringent in food means either a puckering effect (witch hazel), or a tissue-shrinking dry mouth feel. How butter could ever be either of those, without being rancid and powdered, I don't know.

But, he's on a hot-buttered roll!
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:58 AM on March 23, 2011


Having dined at L'Ami Louis (foreigners in Paris that my family was) I understand where this review is coming from. The place is obviously not that that awful, but there is something undeniably offensive about its whole set-up, so in all fairness, it had it coming.
posted by progosk at 11:00 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


the young rope-rider: "Tavern on the Green was food poisoning roulette, from what I heard."

I had a client that used to like to hold monthly meetings there. The food was pretty terrible. I never got sick, though. Probably because I used to eat the same two fish dishes every time and never varied.
posted by zarq at 11:00 AM on March 23, 2011


Wiki: His essays are known for their humour and satirical content, but have caused offence to various groups, including the County of Norfolk, Norfolk Welsh, Manx, Albanians, Germans and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:01 AM on March 23, 2011


Eh, the takedown loses a lot if you realize the general convention on Chez l'ami louis is that it is a tourist trap.

It's not like he's taking down l'arpege or l'ambroisie here
posted by JPD at 11:02 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


He wasn't kidding about that funeral pyre.
posted by basicchannel at 11:03 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


It says something about me, I think, that reading this review made me vaguely want to try the place, to see if it could really be that bad.

Then I saw the price. No. No thank you, sir, I do not want to spend $400 on an ironic meal.
posted by kafziel at 11:03 AM on March 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


That's an impressively broad array of offended people.
posted by jonmc at 11:03 AM on March 23, 2011


That was fun, but I don't understand how garlic butter could ever be astringent,

I think if you overcook garlic, it can be something quite like astringent, which could get caught in the butter. I mean, maybe scientifically it's not "astringent" in the "overabundance of tannin" sense, but it's similar enough.
posted by rkent at 11:03 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


caused offence to various groups, including the County of Norfolk, Norfolk Welsh, Manx, Albanians, Germans and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

An equal opportunity offender! (Note: please add "Overweight Dubai teenagers to that list")
posted by jpolchlopek at 11:03 AM on March 23, 2011


C.E.O.’s

Really, Vanity Fair? You're going to start pulling this shit?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:07 AM on March 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


This IS AA Gill. His thing is to offend people. It doesn't matter if he is reviewing restaurants, architecture, art, society, a bus queue. He has to be sarky, rude and more knowing than all. The first time you read it, it's refreshing. But see it more than once, and you realise he is just a one trick pony.
posted by Megami at 11:08 AM on March 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh! This is the guy that Stephen Fry doesn't like.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:08 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


... the County of Norfolk, Norfolk Welsh, Manx ...

I was disappointed to discover that this was merely a wiki glitch... Gill didn't actually offend the "Norfolk Welsh".
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show at 11:11 AM on March 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


AA Gill is a one-trick pony. But he does that trick really well. From his book 'The Angry Island', a history of England and the English:
The English aren't people who strive for greatness, they're driven to it by a flaming irritation. It was anger that built the Industrial Age, which forged expeditions of discovery. It was the need for self-control that found an outlet in cataloguing, litigating and ordering the natural world. It was the blind fury with imprecise and stubborn inanimate objects that created generations of engineers and inventors. The anger at sin and unfairness that forged their particular earth-bound, pedantic spirituality and their puce-faced, finger-jabbing, spittle-flecked politics. ...

Anger has driven the English to achievement and greatness in a bewildering pantheon of disciplines. At the core of that anger is the knowledge that they could go absolutely berserk with an axe if they didn't bind themselves with all sorts of restraints, of manners, embarrassment and awkwardness and garden sheds.
Wrong and easily refutable, but ..... goddamn it, I like it.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:11 AM on March 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


I've had this problem in a couple European countries - most recently in Prague, where I was told that we HAD TO EAT at a particular "authentic" Czech restaurant. I feel sort of bad now because I was only in Prague for a few days, and after that first terrible experience I was really indisposed to liking the city at all. My apologies, Prague! I'm sure you are actually a lovely city filled with lovely people who are not tourists, taxi drivers, prostitutes, or barkers for strip clubs!
posted by muddgirl at 11:13 AM on March 23, 2011


Men who choose their own ties and are trusted with scissors and corporations

I do enjoy some writing, though.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:16 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sort of like Robert Hughes, but without the restraint, then?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:17 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Interesting to compare that review with this one.
posted by motty at 11:18 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The English aren't people who strive for greatness, they're driven to it by a flaming irritation.

Yeah, they go out, conquer a place, and bring the food home. English cooking is fry it 'till it's black, and boil it until it's white. I think it was Dave Barry, on a trip to the Isle, who, upon asking his host what the amazing meal he'd had last night was, was told that 'six pints, two darts and a coaster'.
posted by LD Feral at 11:21 AM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


ah yes food snob. He's as reliable as Gill.
posted by JPD at 11:22 AM on March 23, 2011


Tavern on the Green was food poisoning roulette, from what I heard.

On my 18th birthday, the bathroom attendant at Tavern on the Green tried to direct me to a whore house, or as he put it "a sporting house".
posted by Ad hominem at 11:28 AM on March 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Maybe we need an A.A. Gill tag, to tie together things like this with this FPP about his VF article on Dubai. There's no line to speak of between that sort of overweening contempt that seems to be the province of certain British writers (see also: Hitchens, C.) being righteous and it being merely petty and overly revealing of the writer's personal bêtes noires, as with Gill's obsession with fat people in the Dubai piece.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:28 AM on March 23, 2011


Perhaps if you'd tipped him, he could have simply stepped out for a bit.
posted by ryanrs at 11:33 AM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have to say, it's a relief to be poor and therefore never have expectations that can be disappointed.
posted by codacorolla at 11:38 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you find this the least bit surprising, you may be new to AA Gill. He's been writing these assassination pieces for the Sunday Times for years, but I've only just seen him cropping up in VF. I think he really speaks like that.
posted by londonmark at 11:39 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


How does he know what pressed liposuction tastes like?
posted by hydrophonic at 11:41 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


This reminded me a bit of Ebert's deftly written one or half star reviews. Really funny and kind of offended that such a place/movie can exist.
posted by onlyconnect at 11:51 AM on March 23, 2011


pressed liposuction

Are you kidding? there is a whole chapter on it in "Modernist Cuisine". It if often whimsically prepared by first chilling to -100 centigrade in a dewar of liquit nitrogen, then seared on the outside with a paint stripping heat gun (if you dont have one they are great for creme brulee) then dredged in a mixture of confectioners sugar and red dye #9 before being put into a 200 year old brass duck press. Garnish with a light salad of fresh chervil and a drizzle of fine balsamic.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:51 AM on March 23, 2011 [16 favorites]


Are you kidding? there is a whole chapter on it in "Modernist Cuisine". It if often whimsically prepared by first chilling to -100 centigrade in a dewar of liquit nitrogen, then seared on the outside with a paint stripping heat gun (if you dont have one they are great for creme brulee) then dredged in a mixture of confectioners sugar and red dye #9 before being put into a 200 year old brass duck press. Garnish with a light salad of fresh chervil and a drizzle of fine balsamic.

I read this twice before I realized you were kidding.
posted by theodolite at 11:53 AM on March 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Are you kidding? there is a whole chapter on it in "Modernist Cuisine". It if often whimsically prepared by first chilling to -100 centigrade in a dewar of liquit nitrogen, then seared on the outside with a paint stripping heat gun (if you dont have one they are great for creme brulee) then dredged in a mixture of confectioners sugar and red dye #9 before being put into a 200 year old brass duck press. Garnish with a light salad of fresh chervil and a drizzle of fine balsamic.

Couldn't I just have a sandwich?
posted by jonmc at 11:54 AM on March 23, 2011


I too have been there and this is Truth.
posted by thinkpiece at 12:06 PM on March 23, 2011


Couldn't I just have a sandwich?

Yes, but the bread will be made of dehydrated almonds, the mayonaise will nitrogen whipped Elmer's glue and the turkey will be ham (made from a pig who ate nothing but turkeys).
posted by electroboy at 12:14 PM on March 23, 2011 [36 favorites]


No cheese?
posted by jonmc at 12:15 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think he really speaks like that.

He does. He even has to. Since A.A. Gill is terribly dyslexic. No spell checker has any clue about which word he was trying to write.

Lynn Barber, who can be as vitriolic as him, once interviewed him.
posted by ijsbrand at 12:15 PM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anyone remember him being totally taken apart by Clive Anderson on his chat show? I've tried You Tube but it isn't there.
posted by Summer at 12:22 PM on March 23, 2011


The consensus on boards like Chowhound is that he actually hates food but loves provoking people.

Wait! I know this game!

A. A. Gill hates provocation, but loves trolling.

Fannee Doolee hates cuisine, but she loves food.


∴ A. A. Gill (double-A-G-I-double-L) is Fannee Doolee.
posted by plinth at 12:29 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of my alltime favorite restaurant takedowns was something I saw 11 years ago, in a jason kottke review of Burger King on epinions. (Of all things.)

Pros: restaurant building provides shelter from the elements

For some reason that line cracked me up and my wife and I still use it all the time talking about crap restaurants.

Whether kottke lived up to that early promise, I'll leave as an exercise for the reader.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:30 PM on March 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


I enjoy savoring a nice piece of sharp tongue. My compliments to the Chef!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 12:55 PM on March 23, 2011


This IS AA Gill. His thing is to offend people.

Kept reading his name as "GG Allin". The proctological references did not help shake that.
posted by hal9k at 12:59 PM on March 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Mmm turkeypig, now if only we could get a cow who ate nothing but turkeypigs.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:10 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


we meet at precisely nine o'clock.
i order the foie gras
and i eat it with complete disdain.
posted by the aloha at 1:21 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


well ... I liked the roast chicken at L'Ami Louis.

Granted, I didn't have to pay for it, so I don't know if that would've colored my impression of it. But, it hold its own against, some of the 'best' roast chickens that I've had in, say, San Francisco (Zuni), Boston (Craigie) or the Portuguese rotisserie places in Montreal.

Though it is, after all, roast chicken. It's kind of like when my little brother had a vanilla ice cream phase and insisted on just having vanilla ice cream for dessert we ate at, regardless of whether it was some Paul Bocuse three star or Berthillon or Italian gelato or a corner Baskin Robbins. He could probably have given you an informed description of why one was better than the others, but vanilla ice cream doesn't give the inventive chef a lot to work with.

Which, I think, is part of why I find critiques of conventional French restaurants a little cheap. If the metric of interesting cuisine in this day and age requires a certain quantity of foams and interesting seasonal produce, then some places will certainly suffer by comparison, but their techniques haven't changed. It's not like the restaurant itself has gone specifically downhill. Fashion has just moved on.
posted by bl1nk at 1:28 PM on March 23, 2011


The staff are an essential part of Louis’s mystique. Paunchy, combative, surly men, bulging out of their white jackets with the meaty malevolence of gouty buffalo. They may well be related by blood—theirs or other people’s.

This article actually brought me to tears of laughter. Thanks!
posted by jokeefe at 1:40 PM on March 23, 2011


Whatever, this guy just sounds like he loves to be snippy. I bet he doesn't even like Taco Bell.

Disclaimer: I can't stop eating at Taco Bell. It's like the Stormbringer to my gastronomic Elric.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:56 PM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Now I want some dentist's wax...
posted by spinifex23 at 2:11 PM on March 23, 2011


Pressed. Liposuction.

/dying
posted by Space Kitty at 2:15 PM on March 23, 2011


$400 for that shitty lunch? *ouch*

Here, for $350 (including tax+tip) you can buy dinner for 2 with a 4-hour-long, 12 course molecular gastronomy tasting menu with full wine/alcohol pairings.
posted by Theta States at 2:36 PM on March 23, 2011


I can't stop eating at Taco Bell. It's like the Stormbringer to my gastronomic Elric.

I know what you mean. It makes me shit foam and I end up wondering if some part of my soul has gone missing, too.

Or wait, that IS what you meant, right?

posted by hippybear at 2:40 PM on March 23, 2011


But after eating a delicious meal cooked by a rat, he had a change of heart!
As I suck my teeth, I watch the waiters saunter up and down the aisle like Vichy ticket collectors. Another one appears. Not fat, not white, not a caricature. A lithe, handsome boy, who is probably North African. He is plainly a prop. His job is to be wrong, to soak up blame. The big men bully up, roll their eyes, wave their chubby knuckles at him as he delivers and clears and sweeps crumbs. A man pretends to cuff him round the ear and looks over at a table of Americans with a grin and a wink to include them in the jape.

This reminds me of a JG Ballard book I read. SuperCannes. Disturbing.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:42 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


It could be the result of an accident involving rat babies in a nuclear reactor. They don’t taste as nice as they sound.

This is a style that just keeps giving.
posted by warbaby at 3:15 PM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I had a terrible data entry job for a while where I sat in a back office and was supposed to type things up. After the first few days I realized two things: first, I was faster than anyone else, so I could screw off a decent amount and still look productive; second, we had internet access, but it was severely limited. Newspapers seemed to be OK for the most part, so I ended up reading a lot of foreign newspapers.

I read all of AA Gill's reviews that I could get to. They occupy a special part in my memory, the part that really wanted to make amazingly sarcastic, vitriolic complaints, but was stuck typing up billing codes. It was perfect.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 3:27 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am truly stunned that I got 40+ favorites for saying something was funny.
posted by jonmc at 3:28 PM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


> Maybe we need an A.A. Gill tag, to tie together things like this with this FPP about his VF article on Dubai.

Done for the Dubai FPP.
posted by vidur at 3:29 PM on March 23, 2011


> I am truly stunned that I got 40+ favorites for saying something was funny.

38 of those are ironic favorites. The other 2 are bots that favorite all comments with "fucking" in them.
posted by vidur at 3:31 PM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


"The rule with snails is: Don’t eat one you couldn’t get up your nose."

I have had some of the best meals ever in France, and I will admit, some of the worst, but those take some time to find (and are often kosher. Which I am not. But my clarinetist/singer is.) But never for more than US $35 a person. Well... I didn't pay at La Cupole... and it was pretty darn good.
posted by zaelic at 3:55 PM on March 23, 2011


I once wrote about a guacamole burger with goat cheese (honestly: don't) that it looked like a Martian in a car accident, and remember being rather pleased with it; but what happens here is true professionalism, he goes on and on and gets funnier every time. Ah, the gentle art of restaurant reviewing.

Chapeau! (half-done, please.)
posted by Namlit at 3:55 PM on March 23, 2011


When I picture this guy in my head, I picture Anton Ego from Ratatouille. I can't help it.
posted by ThusSpakeZarathustra at 4:16 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Great article. And I'm with some of the others here: Gill may be snarky or not, but what's with the prices at this place? There are so many excellent restaurants in Paris that don't charge half of these prices, why would anyone go there? I've been to a similar place in New York, also with crazy prices, so I'm thinking it might be some cultural thing: simple food, huge servings, snobbish service, over-priced is all an indicator of class in some particular (anglo-saxon) sub-set of humanity.
posted by mumimor at 4:18 PM on March 23, 2011


In all my years as a restaurant critic I have learned that there is a certain type of florid, blowsy, patrician Brit who will sidle up and bellow, with a fruity bluster....

I am shocked and astounded that this restaurant—which had been lauded so highly by certain British patrons—isn't up to par! After all, if there's one thing the Britons are known for, it's their taste in food.

So, now that L'Ami Louis is out, uh, hamburger, anyone?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:46 PM on March 23, 2011


A. A. Gill shot baboon 'to see what it would be like to kill someone'.

And here I was, all "Ah, what a cheeky bugger, this stuff is pretty funny, I might track down one of his books at lunchtime and buy it and therefore be giving money to him in order to be amused and possibly even edified, imagine that" and I know that it's never a good idea to conflate an author's work with the author themselves, because it's perfectly possible to enjoy a piece of writing written by a pedophile or whatever, but, well, what a knob. This is kind of a shame because I was looking for a new essayist to enjoy. Anybody have any recommendations for similar stuff by people who don't murder animals for lulz?
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:55 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


And here I was, all "Ah, what a cheeky bugger, this stuff is pretty funny...

So, what you are saying is that it was funny when he was offending other people but then you realized he is offending you as well, so it is not so funny anymore?

Thats kind of why AA Gill is still around. People think he's cheeky until he turns around and takes a shot at them.

He is like Wowbagger from Hitchhikers Guide whose mission is to personally insult everybody in the Universe. In this case, though, let's hope he is not Infinitely Prolonged.
posted by vacapinta at 5:16 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's kind of a difference between "offending someone" and "murdering an animal for sport".
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:19 PM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


(For the record, he could have been going on about vegetarians or animal rights people or whatever and while I might have been offended I wouldn't have dismissed him for it because I suspect it would have been clever and pithy. This is just a shitty thing to do and it makes him a shitbag. Don't get my sensitivity to offence confused with your own.)
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:22 PM on March 23, 2011


38 of those are ironic favorites. The other 2 are bots that favorite all comments with "fucking" in them.

I note, with glee, that your comment has two favorites. Both, we must assume, from the bots.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:15 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


tumid dahlia: Lets just say that my own opinion, which I believe to be different from yours, is that his mean-spirited racist, homophobic and misogynist rants have not only ceased to be amusing, they have probably indirectly done more harm than his killing of a baboon. We can agree to disagree on this.

He ceased to be worth any attention as a human being long ago for me. The Times sent him to Haiti in 2004. His clever opinion? "Another winning top-10 fact: this is a disaster that uniquely cost more than the country is worth...For this sort of money they could just abandon Port-au-Prince to the dead, leave its cursed slums to the zombies."

In December, his review of the classicist Mary Beard's excellent TV show on Pompeii focused on her looks. Beard didn't find him clever and pithy. If you read her blog she was really shaken by it: "[The Review] is largely about how awful I look (16 from the back, 60 from the front, with terrible teeth and hair) and how if I was going to thrust myself into the nation's living rooms, I might have made the effort to smarten up"
As I adore Beard, I really thought this was just shoddy, misogynistic and hurtful.
posted by vacapinta at 6:22 PM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I ate at L'Ami Louis last year. Best chicken I've ever eaten. I think I didn't really understand what chicken tasted like before I ate it at L'Ami Louis. It was $90 for the bird, but my wife and I split it. It came with a plate of very decent fries, but those in the know also ask for the potato galette, which we did (no extra charge), and which was absolutely ridiculous (if you happen to like raw garlic with your perfectly roasted potatoes, which I do, very much). Half bottle of Nuits St. Georges brought the tab to maybe $160 for two people, with a bag of leftovers for a picnic in the park later. Skipped the $50 fruit plate. Walked out with huge, contented smiles on our faces.
And the service was bad, but in a fun way, like at Carnegie Deli in New York.
No accounting for taste, I guess.
posted by haricotvert at 7:27 PM on March 23, 2011


We're talking about a roast chicken. I'm trying to imagine paying $90 for a roast chicken. Maybe nowadays a roast chicken sounds really exotic? Because we make delicious roast chicken at home - it's not complicated.

When I go to a restaurant, I understand that I'm either paying for the labor I don't want to do, or I'm paying for some expertise for a dish I don't want to make, or I'm paying for some ingredient I can't easily obtain, or all three. But in this case, I can't think that labor and expertise is worth like $70 (wildly overestimating that a really, really nice organic French chicken costs $20). So I guess I'd be paying in part for... the atmosphere? Or is it really that good of a chicken?
posted by muddgirl at 7:51 PM on March 23, 2011


$90 for a well made roast chicken in a fine French restaurant doesn't seem crazy. The bird itself will be delicious, perhaps a poulet de Bresse. It will have a fine sauce, maybe white wine, butter, flavoured with truffle oil. Roasted perfectly, of course, with crisp fine skin. And presented tableside, then carried to a side table to be carved by your waiter before brought back to you. Your attentive, efficient, polite waiter. $90 is complete, tax and tip and side dishes of potatoes and a few unfussy green beans. If it's done well I'd happily pay that.

A key part of the description of L'Ami Louis is that it's the kind of restaurant that should provide this experience, but according to Gill does not. An ordinary bird, an indifferent sauce, a flabby skin. Or worst, an unprofessional waiter. You pay $90 for a chicken to not have that kind of disappointing experience.
posted by Nelson at 8:47 PM on March 23, 2011


/ray smuckles
posted by ryanrs at 10:14 PM on March 23, 2011


$90 for a well made roast chicken in a fine French restaurant doesn't seem crazy.

Yes it does. I defy you to find a restaurant here in America that serves any single dish at that price that's not some kind of "stunt" dish.
posted by mkultra at 5:23 AM on March 24, 2011


> Tavern on the Green here in NYC (which has thankfully finally closed).

Great news! Normally when I read about some NYC institution that's closed since I left (Gotham Book Mart, the Donnell) I shed a little tear and mourn the dead past, but this makes me happy.

Gill may well be a shit in person (though I find it odd that "murdering an animal for sport" should be regarded with shock and horror—where have you been the last million years?), but his writing is top-notch and made me laugh repeatedly. Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 6:36 AM on March 24, 2011


Don't forget -- it's $90 for the whole chicken (including neck & liver) plus the two big side dishes. So it's really down to $45 a person. High-end New York restaurants will charge you $30 for, maybe, a breast or a half a bird. And having eaten quite a number of very, very delicious chicken dishes at high-end New York restaurants (I used to be a restaurant critic), I can tell you that L'Ami Louis surpassed them all. For the record, there was no sauce, no green beans, no truffle oil. Just an outrageously delicious chicken, crisp-skinned and with extraordinary flavor. I won't say it was $81 better than the $9 rotisserie chicken at Zankou in LA. But I loved the place, and would go back.
posted by haricotvert at 6:52 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes it does. I defy you to find a restaurant here in America that serves any single dish at that price that's not some kind of "stunt" dish.


Really? That's like barely a challenge. Just off the top of my head you've got several places in NYC selling Cote du Boeuf for $110 - a fair comp to the chicken as both feed two. The last NY Times review was of a place that a had a dover sole for $70 - add tax and tip to that and that's 90 for a fish that doesn't feed two.

And then look at the per plate cost at Per Se. They've got a $125 appitizer caviar plate on their bar menu. (the main dining room is tasting only - and the minimum price of admission is 320 w/o drinks of any kind)
posted by JPD at 7:02 AM on March 24, 2011


I'm glad my dining options are not limited to the fried chicken and pie special at Marie Callender's.
posted by Nelson at 7:23 AM on March 24, 2011


Or wait, that IS what you meant, right?

Pretty much, yeah. That and the addictive bloodlust raging.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:30 AM on March 24, 2011


though I find it odd that "murdering an animal for sport" should be regarded with shock and horror—where have you been the last million years?

But that's not really an accurate description of what he did. He killed a baboon, not for sport, but because it was the closest approximation to a human being he could kill - legally, anyway. I deplore that, but I have to admit I find it much more interesting as a topic of discussion than killing animals for sport.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:00 AM on March 24, 2011


Monsieur Gill popped a tab of acid, then chased it down with a half a handful of magic mushrooms, followed by shots of tequila and prepared to write a review of a restaurant he'd dined at previously...

...suddenly, he was looking up the large nostril of a froggy man dressed in white with the comportment of a Vichy conductor with baleful rheumy oyster eyes looking down at him...

HA! Loved that review. Is it a combination of Hunter S. Thompson and David Foster Wallace - or somewhere between.

Let's have at that chicken like Bridgit Bardot's tits.
oh man.
posted by alicesshoe at 12:38 PM on March 24, 2011


And the service was bad, but in a fun way, like at Carnegie Deli in New York.

Sorry, maybe it's age and crank, but to me, bad service is never fun, esp. not at those prices. If the staff is slovenly in front of house, what must I wonder is going on in back? Life is too short and there are simply too many other options. Muddgirl has it dead right - I can cook my own damn chicken, and pile high my own damn pastrami, so be nice and give me a good reason to show up. Perhaps more than once
posted by IndigoJones at 2:55 PM on March 24, 2011


Metafileter: Wrong and easily refutable, but ..... goddamn it, I like it.
posted by sweetkid at 5:35 PM on March 29, 2011


Metafileter: Wrong and easily refutable, but ..... goddamn it, I like it.

MetaFilleter?
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 6:33 PM on March 29, 2011


yea sorry.
posted by sweetkid at 6:52 PM on March 29, 2011


Metafileter: Wrong and easily refutable, but ..... goddamn it, I like it.

MetaFilleter?


I see what you did there.
posted by sweetkid at 7:12 PM on March 29, 2011


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