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Are the baby sandwiches made from free-range babies?
July 24, 2014 2:56 PM   Subscribe


 
Thank you for posting this, I was itching too cause IT IS NOT EVEN PARODY THAT'S JUST LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE MENU EVEN DOWN TO THE SPACING.
posted by The Whelk at 2:59 PM on July 24 [38 favorites]


Bread available upon request
posted by The Whelk at 3:00 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


This is why I refuse to eat at a restaurant whose menu doesn't contain at least one word jumble.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:05 PM on July 24 [8 favorites]


This is my local example of a gloriously uninformative menu. Still haven't tried the place (which I'm told is actually pretty good).
posted by irrelephant at 3:07 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


(no starch) might be my favorite thing about this.
posted by rtha at 3:07 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Business class carrots was where it went from oh god yes to hilarious.
posted by grapesaresour at 3:07 PM on July 24 [14 favorites]


Saison with name you can't pronounce - $22/bottle (starch)
posted by bradbane at 3:08 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


I mean I love Mounment Lane as a NYC trendy all American food thing but this is basically the menu, it's just missing some terribly precious and fussy cocktails and scotches from islands you've never heard of and may infact be fictional.
posted by The Whelk at 3:09 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


"tarted up pork belly" would make a good user name. Also "token vegetarian dish" and "two bones with enough marrow."
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:10 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


The only thing it's missing is saying which farm it is "in partnership with" to make the turkey dish or whatever.
posted by The Whelk at 3:10 PM on July 24 [13 favorites]


It looks almost exactly like this menu from one of my favorite local places although the real prices are a few dollars cheaper.
posted by octothorpe at 3:11 PM on July 24 [5 favorites]


AHHHHH DivisionAlbertaPearlMississippi PORTLAND
posted by knownassociate at 3:11 PM on July 24 [8 favorites]


Haha, that just came up in my HipsterDiet™© AskMe.
posted by travelwithcats at 3:14 PM on July 24


I do enjoy how popular oysters are now considering we're going to have to explain how they tasted to our grandchildren.

Modern dining is largely getting used to spreading whatever trendy organ meta pate you have onto a gluten free cracker and balancing that one pickled jalapeño ontop of it.
posted by The Whelk at 3:16 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


This is my local example of a gloriously uninformative menu.

Total fucking genius: STEMS OF BROCCOLI IN SPICY CONDIMENT 4

Why waste labor turning your stems into soup? Just serve the damn stems, and put some unnamed saucy/dippy thing on it!
posted by rtha at 3:17 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]




I do enjoy how popular oysters are now considering we're going to have to explain how they tasted to our grandchildren. by The Welk

Eponysterical?
posted by Carillon at 3:21 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


The comments note one missed opportunity: No dollar signs. Never use dollar signs. Just digits..
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:21 PM on July 24 [31 favorites]


So close!

As shown here:
kale caesar ... $14
More likely:
kale caesar ... 14
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:21 PM on July 24 [25 favorites]


Dammit.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:22 PM on July 24 [18 favorites]


The only thing it's missing is saying which farm it is "in partnership with" to make the turkey dish or whatever.

"We strive to source our ingredients from local, sustainable farms" needs to be at the bottom.

My favorite places just usually have a chalkboard or whiteboard.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:23 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Also missing: today's date
posted by theodolite at 3:23 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


I don't get it. Is there something wrong with this type of menu? Seems fine to me, it's easy to change on the fly and it gets everything you need across.

There's a place in my neighbourhood that hands out iPads for their menu. It's gross because it's all grimy with other peoples' finger crud.
posted by Hoopo at 3:25 PM on July 24


It's scary because it's true.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:25 PM on July 24


I'd hit it.
posted by mazola at 3:26 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


There's a place in my neighbourhood that hands out iPads for their menu

I just immigrant song screamed with blind murderous rage.
posted by elizardbits at 3:27 PM on July 24 [40 favorites]


In San Francisco, remember to add a line at the bottom of the menu imposing an extra 4% (or more!) fee for complying with the damn law. For people from normal places, this isn't a restaurant tax, you see, it's restaurant owners angry that they have to pay into basic health insurance for their workers, so they tacked on a surcharge instead of raising prices. I have no objection to the law, but raise your prices if you can't legally afford to do business at your current pricing. Of course, many restaurants got caught not spending the money on their workers, either pocketing it or just letting it sit in their bank accounts.

This isn't just at sitdown places either; even hamburger joints do it.

I'm not looking forward to the day when an SF restaurant check looks like a phone bill, with a "regulatory cost recovery surcharge," "roof repair fee," "toilet amenity charge," and the ever popular "make the fry cook wash his hands after taking out the trash fee."
posted by zachlipton at 3:27 PM on July 24 [19 favorites]


I don't get it. Is there something wrong with this type of menu?

No it's just maddeningly familiar and unchanging, every nouvelle dining place in every city in America uses the same damn template and ingredients
posted by The Whelk at 3:28 PM on July 24


The worst are these places drink lists.

BEER:
Domestic: 3
Import Junk: 5
"Craft": 6
Craft: 8
Actually Local: 8

COCKTAIL:
Something That Isn't A Martini: 6
Might Be A Martini, If You Squinted Hard: 8
An Actual Martini: 12
Manhattan (Renamed Trendily): 12

Wine:
Crap: 4 / 19
Somewhat Less Crap: 6 / 28
Actually The Worst One On The List: 8 / 35
Pretty Good: -- / 50
Just Buy It At Total Wine, Already: -- /80
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:29 PM on July 24 [32 favorites]


I'd get stuck wondering if it should read apple and walnuts under trout or trout on apples and walnuts.
posted by Anitanola at 3:30 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Oooooo the stories I could tell yooou about wiiiiine maaaarkups ( why I get beer and mixed drinks when dining out unless they have like, cheap chamonage because I like bubbles.)
posted by The Whelk at 3:31 PM on July 24


The Whelk: "terribly precious and fussy cocktails"

My phrase for you is "please peruse our house-made bitters list."
posted by boo_radley at 3:32 PM on July 24 [21 favorites]


Hey rtha meet irrelephant
posted by beagle at 3:33 PM on July 24


Look I'm not saying I wouldn't enjoy a house made bitters, I'm just saying there are limits to optimizing and after a while it seems desperate.
posted by The Whelk at 3:33 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


My favorite is the burger, served "crazier than it needs to be."

Los Angeles is beset with burgers crazier than they need to be.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:34 PM on July 24 [6 favorites]


I saw the High-Roller Bivalves playing local dive bars back in the 80's - they were awesome!
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:35 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


But you really have to shell out for their concert tickets nowadays.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:36 PM on July 24 [10 favorites]


Oh, how I loathe the token vegetarian dish, probably pasta.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 3:36 PM on July 24 [9 favorites]


The Whelk: "Look I'm not saying I wouldn't enjoy a house made bitters, I'm just saying there are limits to optimizing and after a while it seems desperate."

I was going to riff on this a bit, but I haven't found a plant that somebody's made bitters out of that isn't completely poisonous or just a bit dumb.
posted by boo_radley at 3:41 PM on July 24


moules frite that spent a semester in Thailand

So, what, that means they threw a sprig of cilantro on top?
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:43 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


I'd get stuck wondering if it should read apple and walnuts under trout or trout on apples and walnuts.

Silly! They'd call it truite avec pommes et noyers! And the waiter would oh, oh so kindly explain when asked what it was with an air of genteel amusement that would make the patron's hand itch to smack them.
posted by winna at 3:45 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Which is insane cause apples + walnuts+ fish is clearly a NORMAN DISH and should be called Trout Normandy so you know yer getting apples and nuts and possibly egg noddles.
posted by The Whelk at 3:50 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


I was at the cocktail version of this place the other night. Damn fine cocktails, sure, but the menu made them sound like you should feel guilty for drinking them and forever destroying the ingredients.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:51 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


I Will Be Your Server
"Welcome. Have you dined with us before?”

“No. It’s our first time.”

“Oh, that’s adorable. Well, I’m sure you’ve been to other restaurants, right?”

“Uh, sure. Yes.”

“Great. Well, none of that restaurant experience will help you tonight. Because we do things a little differently here.”

“That’s O.K. We like different.”

“I’ll guide you through the process. First of all, we ask a lot of questions designed to make you feel insecure. Is everyone at the table O.K. with feeling insecure?”
Fuds
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:53 PM on July 24 [32 favorites]


Oh God my friends and I met up at the Pickle Shack on 4th Ave in Brooklyn before our friends' wedding on Saturday and this was basically the menu. The whole place was engineered around this very specific hipster-yuppie aesthetic where it was like, super proper, well-trained wait staffed, all dressed so as to best show off their tattoos and spacers, rustic looking friendly outside with a menu that seemed more like a dare than anything, and wonder of wonders, a beer menu that basically featured nothing but god damn IPAs.

I wanted pickles. They didn't make it easy. Why, why, why must you be like this, trendy Brooklyn places?
posted by Navelgazer at 3:55 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


There are times when I curse living in an unsophisticated backwater. There are times when I'm relieved I live in said backwater.

This one of the later.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:02 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


I don't get it. Is there something wrong with this type of menu?

Maybe it's because I'm starving right now, but me neither. I mean yeah, maybe this stuff is played out but as satire this isn't especially cutting. They've overlooked a lot of juicy targets as noted, and the substandard graphic design isn't drawing the LOLs either.

There's a place that just opened up here in Lunenburg that has this kind of stuff in spades

(haha right down to "oysters 3 each")
posted by Flashman at 4:03 PM on July 24


I'd get stuck wondering if it should read apple and walnuts under trout or trout on apples and walnuts.

Silly! They'd call it truite avec pommes et noyers!


No, at the kind of place that this is trying to parody I believe the menu generally reads something like:

brook trout heirloom northwest baldwin apples, california walnuts 26

and the mode of preparation, along with the relation between the various ingredients listed (and the many other unlisted ones) is left as a kind of "fun" mystery, whose only solution is a lengthy, annoying interrogation of the waiter.
posted by RogerB at 4:06 PM on July 24 [20 favorites]


I don't think the substandard graphic design is the point. It's that so many restaurants use that exact same substandard design. The descriptions are just icing on the cake (a raw milk and agave nectar icing).
posted by downtohisturtles at 4:08 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


I'm having a hard time reconciling the style of the menu with a group that likes pose as typophiles. Or is it just that I don't live an irony-slathered lifestyle?
posted by Thorzdad at 4:08 PM on July 24


I hate when you order an entree and get nothing with it. It's not even about the money I just want the reasonable amount of accompaniment. A quarter chicken on a bare plate is just why. No, I don't want one of your $12 sides: that has a high potential to become an awkward sharing situation. That or what, we all get our own $12 side?
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:09 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


I just immigrant song screamed with blind murderous rage.

One of the most evocative things I've ever read.
posted by curious nu at 4:12 PM on July 24 [5 favorites]


So true.
Boring pork dish that has been slow roasted for 930493 hours also needs to be on there.
There also needs to be an item with some kind of yuzu flavor.
posted by pravit at 4:13 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


Part of the issue I guess (if you can call it that (I had to avoid saying one there lest it undermine my point)) is that the menu isn't particularly helpful. You still need to aska fair bit of questions to actually understand what you're ordering and they often don't even use the 'normal' names. For example, chicken ala king would be farm raised free range chicken chef-foraged mushrooms and danish butter.
posted by Carillon at 4:14 PM on July 24


Octothorpe, I thought of Meat & Potatoes when I saw this, too. Love that place but this is pretty spot-on.

My other current local menu shenanigans around here are at Salt of the Earth, where you just get a listing of ingredients and have to take your best wild guess as to how they might be combined. Although this is the first time I've looked at their menu in a while and they seem maybe slightly more informative than I remember. Maybe that's the new management?
posted by Stacey at 4:17 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Thorzdad, I was thinking sorta the same thing, except I live in Albuquerque, an unsophisticated backwater that's practically a food paradise. Like, we have a few places like this, though my favorite two closed in the past year, but I feel like all of the really good cheap places, combined with our wearing-jeans-to-weddings, bolos-are-real-ties local lack of adherence to any particular set ideas of formality or fashion makes it so these places just have a hard time competing. We have a lot of great food, but not a lot of it is pretentious.

Though in my limited experience from the ones I have been to, which are all located in Nob Hill, all the appetizers should have a prime number of portions so that they're awkward to split.
posted by NoraReed at 4:19 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


On the beer version of this: Mission Delores (across the street from the aforementioned Pickle Shack) has a very strong beer list with lengthy explanations of the beers. Most of them are what I consider "homework beers," and usually I just want to have a drink without having to consider it with each sip, and usually that's all these types of places will serve, but Mission Delores had one on their list at least one time when I went there that basically said in the description (I'm paraphrasing, but not at all in tone and type of language) "This is a shitty tasteless ale that you don't want. It is here for people who don't know how to drink beer. We aren't going to respect you when you order it, and besides that, we charge way more than it is worth. Shitty, shitty beer."

I ordered them all night.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:19 PM on July 24 [6 favorites]


Beers come in two flavors: marathon or sprint. A marathon is a beer you can drink happily all night.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:24 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


As shown here:
kale caesar ... $14
More likely:
kale caesar ... 14


I wish I could say I had not seen:
kale caesar ... 14½
posted by moss at 4:25 PM on July 24 [9 favorites]


I can't help it, I love twee menus. I love strange and unpronounceable ingredients, and I love small dishes if it means that I can sample more food.

What I cannot stand, however, are LIES. A microgreen garnish is NOT a fucking salad, "jus" cannot be dotted five miles from the meat on a plate. If I get served something described as "compressed watermelon", it had better be the watermeloniest watermelon to ever watermelon in the history of watermelon instead of a pale little cube cut from an unwanted fruit at the bottom of the pile.

I still shake with rage whenever I think about that compressed watermelon.
posted by peripathetic at 4:25 PM on July 24 [34 favorites]


Also needs more: "new American cuisine," "neighborhood" and "local" as favorite adjectives, and the cocktails are all either named after rapidly gentrifying local streets or terrible puns

For example, chicken ala king would be farm raised free range chicken chef-foraged mushrooms and danish butter

where you just get a listing of ingredients and have to take your best wild guess as to how they might be combined.


Exactly — except for some reason they always hate to use the word "and." Doesn't send the right "minimalist" message to the Dwell-reading target market or something. At most you maybe get an occasional comma.

It's like some weird form of modernist poetry: ingredient parataxis. In fact I'm starting to wonder if this form of menu isn't actually driven by a certain kind of middlebrow aesthetic, where the real point (the thing that's really being sold for the money) is to make what's usually basically comfort food look and feel more adventurous and avant-garde than it actually is.
posted by RogerB at 4:27 PM on July 24 [8 favorites]


Man I might have to go for a walk later and take a pic of the hip restaurant menu down the street.

I thought for a moment that this post was just using an image of that menu to make fun of until I started to read it.

Good cocktails tho.
posted by sio42 at 4:29 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Ingredient parataxis is a lovely phrase.
posted by boo_radley at 4:35 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


This reminds me so much of the menu for The Corner Store in San Francisco, when I ate there last I noticed with no small interest that fully 2/3rds of the people around me ordered the "weird burger"
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:35 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


to make what's usually basically comfort food look and feel more adventurous and avant-garde than it actually is.

housemade macaroni-and-cheese with raw milk cheddar, brown butter ... 6
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:36 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Real world example (pdf)
posted by LionIndex at 4:37 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Is sous-vide over? Damn it. I didn't get out to anyplace trendy while they were still doing sous-vide.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:47 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


It's that damn font. Like a yellowing Old West town pamphlet but the printer heads are slightly misaligned.
posted by downtohisturtles at 4:48 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


missed the charchtuire platter.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:48 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


The charcuterie platter that says it serves 4 but only if 2 of them don't really like charcuterie.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:51 PM on July 24 [36 favorites]


cardamom-infused roadhouse fried chicken with house-made orange harissa and organic hops bbq 'sauce' -~- locally-sourced pickle slaw with pickled slaw aioli -~- mashed potatoes, deconstructed -~- cornbread with something disturbing in it --- 23
posted by Spatch at 4:52 PM on July 24 [8 favorites]


At the Hoffbrau, you sit anywhere, then the waitress walks up and says "We got large and small T-bones, ribeye and chicken breast." When you inform her of which of those items you'll have, she asks "Salad and potatoes?" To which the only answers are "yes" or "no."

THAT is a menu.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:01 PM on July 24 [13 favorites]


I would really rather have a menu that is vague and misleading, and a server who makes sure to explain what you just ordered...

than have a menu that demonstrates that the chef has no idea what the words on the menu mean.

"Oh yes, it's our take on bouillabaise, with beef and red beans and tomatoes and chili powder" 'So... it's chili, not bouillabaise."

"It's shrimp and grits crouquette. It's a 10 ounce grits patty that's been covered in sauce, and then had some shrip dumped on top." "You know that 'croquette' means *small* and *crispy*, right?"

"I've reimagined the cheeseburger by replacing the bun with a flatbread, and changed the katchup into more of a marinara style, and scattered the burger meat loosely across the top, and covered it all with a three-cheese blend. I then baked it in a hot oven for five minutes until crispy and the cheese was bubbly".
posted by jefflowrey at 5:02 PM on July 24 [12 favorites]


Reimagined is a word that needs to go on the dustheap with bespoke & artisanal.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:06 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


But bespoke means a very specific thing when relating to fashion.
posted by The Whelk at 5:07 PM on July 24


Although if you applied to food then very meal I make for my SO with his tastes in mind is bespoke
posted by The Whelk at 5:07 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Let's pretend we never bespoke of this thing.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:09 PM on July 24 [16 favorites]


Problem is, that's not actually what a trendy menu looks like at all. That's a cozy country breakfast place menu that's had trendy stuff written on it.
posted by telstar at 5:09 PM on July 24


Um I had a sixteen dollar fistfull of beets as pictured above at a brand new Suoer trendy place in manhattan and that's what the menu looked like down to the color of the paper
posted by The Whelk at 5:14 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


This one is even funnier.

I still sometimes just think of the phrase "panty slaw" and start laughing.
posted by escabeche at 5:15 PM on July 24 [5 favorites]


Is it like all the beets you can grab for $16? Cause that might actually be a good deal.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:16 PM on July 24


Yeah I like beets. What kind of beets?
posted by winna at 5:17 PM on July 24


There needs to be a dessert on there that sounds so amazing until one weird ingredient ruins it. Like individual artisinal doughnuts...yes, yes, tell me more...filled with Nutella-sriracha mousse...oh, never mind, I'll have this uninspired flan.
posted by Biblio at 5:22 PM on July 24 [13 favorites]


It was two types of beet ( and basically two beets in number) tossed in balsamic with watercress in an bowl that could fit into my scooped palm with like, two pumpkin seeds in there and an out of nowhere glob of pesto at the bottom. Also the goat cheese came on a separate little raft of cracker..which is dumb cause it didn't integrate with the beets which is the point?

If I was actually paying for it I would've been upset but there was also a free side of grilled asparagus which was okay except they didn't cut off the woody end and the "orange and walnuts" it came with where basically a loose mist. And it was during a lunch rush and I was the only person in the place so I give it a month.
posted by The Whelk at 5:24 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


I was all ready to laugh at charcuterie = 'jerky for grownups', except I just remembered that I brought a hunk of soppressata with me on my last couple of camping trips for exactly the same purpose. Then CampingMe looked at RestaurantMe and wanted to scream and ask, "what have you done to us? What have you done?"
posted by bl1nk at 5:38 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Missing desserts.

Small scoop of vanilla ice-cream topped with low hanging fruit compote 27
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:23 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Add me among the people who's pretty sure they've eaten at that place or its close kin. I had to blink because I've seen menus like that, except with no dollar signs, a lot of places.

However, I may tell my husband to knock off work early so we can have dinner at the Hoffbrau tomorrow.
posted by immlass at 6:25 PM on July 24


Is it like all the beets you can grab for $16?

They put you in one of those clear lucite tubes with a big blower on the bottom and beets fly up at your face and you get to keep all the ones you can grab in 30 seconds.
posted by elizardbits at 6:36 PM on July 24 [12 favorites]


Also I invite you all to picture the Whelk performing this act of indignity in one of his Hannibal suits.
posted by elizardbits at 6:37 PM on July 24 [9 favorites]


Hello Logan Square!
posted by PMdixon at 6:38 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Also every restaurant within a 5 block radius of my house has a menu exactly like this and I love them all even as I point and laugh.
posted by elizardbits at 6:40 PM on July 24


I was totally expecting a fixed-width font like this place. Punny names, small portions, menu items that are literally just "ask your server."

It's actually really good.
posted by arcolz at 6:41 PM on July 24


Reimagined is a word that needs to go on the dustheap with bespoke & artisanal.

I love skillet diner, but i completely fucking guffawed out loud the first time i saw their menu and it had "deconstructed corned beef hash" on it.

That literally sounds like something from a sketch comedy show. Seriously, deconstructed? really?

This is basically every restaurant in seattle that's been there for less than 5 years if you go to ballard, belltown, or capitol hill though.

Another one i'd add would be "we call it poutine, except it's really not ... 15". Seriously, how do so many places manage to fuck something up that's so simple?

Also, "vaguely french mac and cheese" needs to mention lobster. Because it seems like every place clones that idea.

And of course "adventurous" milkshakes with booze in them that inexplicably cost almost as much as two six packs of good beer, and fully $5-8 more than other cocktails on the menu.

Oh, and when you order the overly complicated burger they're going to ask you how you want it cooked and assume you want it medium-rare or less.
posted by emptythought at 6:45 PM on July 24


Is the food at these places actually good or do you all frequent them when you're in the mood to chow down on some hipster-outrage? Like, is it the case that you tolerate the twee menu conventions because the locally sourced organic hand rolled artisan foodstuffs are delicious? Or is this an "and the portions are so small" scenario?
posted by MoonOrb at 6:46 PM on July 24


So, the average velocity of an unladen beet in a big clear lucite tube is going to have to be sufficient to cause at least ... cringe-inducing... levels of trauma to the unprotected lower regions of the average human male.

So, yes, I'm happy to envision The Whelk , or, well, anyone other than me... , performing this act of indignity in any suit other than Space Marine Armor...

But maybe that just makes me a bit daft.

Schaedenfreude: it's not just for breakfast any more
posted by jefflowrey at 6:46 PM on July 24


"substantial portions of food?" These places NEVER, EVER have those. Ever. They are about $18 crab cakes that are the size of my thumb. They are whoppingly expensive and you leave STARVING. (God, I can really hate some places in SF.)

My mom once told me a story about some couple she knew that went out to a fancy-ass winery in our town with three other couples for someone's birthday. Apparently the birthday folks refused to pay for their dinner and another couple "forgot their wallet," so those folks and the other two paid hundreds for the meal. And then drove to Jack in the Box for actual food because they were still hungry.

Nouvelle hipster whatever we're calling it cuisine can shove it up their ass.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:50 PM on July 24


Yeah, I love it when my dinner options are boring as saltines veg pasta that still costs 22.5 dollars or fighting for the cheese on the charcuterie platter and hoping the salad has had more than a nodding acquaintance with croutons. So many vegetables, so much unneeded pork belly in them :(
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:55 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Oh god that's fucking awful, all the places near me with hilarrible menus actually serve real sized portions that real humans can achieve satiety by consuming.
posted by elizardbits at 6:56 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Is the food at these places actually good

The ones near me, generally reliably good and they don't really take themselves *that* seriously.
posted by rtha at 7:03 PM on July 24


> This is my local example of a gloriously uninformative menu.

OMG, they hired my favorite chef Milwaukee. Makes a great cheese burger
posted by morganw at 7:06 PM on July 24


This is basically every restaurant in seattle that's been there for less than 5 years if you go to ballard, belltown, or capitol hill though.

Every. Single. Restaurant. In. Seattle.

Like, my wife and I literally stopped paying for a baby sitter and going out anymore because I can't look at this menu anymore. We're too old for most anything else people go out and do and we fall asleep at movies, so we're usually drinking artisinal cider and eating a sustainable 2 ounces of halibut with a teaspoon of apricot wood smoked bacon compote. Please, restauranteurs, stop this. We are so, so hungry and starved for pleasure.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:27 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


That menu, this thread, make me want to stroll down to Dick's Kitchen and whisper tender heartfelt thank yous in their precious little ears for being kind of cool but also not, you know, this kind of cool.

and their drunkshakes are not so expensive plus you can get them with that coconut ice cream stuff
posted by beefetish at 7:33 PM on July 24


Once deconstructed most chefs then forget the most important part which is putting it back together again! When I was 7 I 'deconstructed' the vacuum but then of course wasn't able to put it back together again because I'm not a vacuum guy. Just say 'my take' on X or inspired by, that's usually more true unless you're gonna serve me a whole bun, raw hamburger and a some onion. I get the deconstruction is fun but I do generally prefer places that reconstruct skillfully. It's the difference between say the salmon cone and a bits of salmon provided on a plate with some topping and bread on the side.
posted by Carillon at 7:53 PM on July 24


Is the food at these places actually good or do you all frequent them when you're in the mood to chow down on some hipster-outrage? Like, is it the case that you tolerate the twee menu conventions because the locally sourced organic hand rolled artisan foodstuffs are delicious? Or is this an "and the portions are so small" scenario?

Yeah, I can say that the kale salad and the poached farm egg w/local bok choi accompanied by the herb-accented gin-tini is soul food

I am too tired from Lyme resurgence to find the reference, but the "local pork chop from the wise farmer" is pretty much perfect cuz I know that guy and I used to buy raw milk from his barn and write an IOU, and while I was there, chat with him about dating and politics
posted by lakersfan1222 at 7:53 PM on July 24


Real world example: Minneapolis edition
posted by triggerfinger at 8:05 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


moules frite that spent a semester in Thailand

So, what, that means they threw a sprig of cilantro on top?


I figured that referred to the current trend of serving mussels with Thai curry sauce. Which is admittedly extremely delicious.
posted by lunasol at 8:16 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


In its defense, our local variant is pretty good.

Also: you forgot all the gastriques.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:28 PM on July 24


Metafilter: Shaking with rage at compressed watermelon.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:31 PM on July 24 [6 favorites]


Is the food at these places actually good or do you all frequent them when you're in the mood to chow down on some hipster-outrage?

The place this made me think of is Smith in Seattle (menu - a little bit more minimalist, which I think is one thing this satire got slightly wrong). Smith is my absolute favorite place to eat in Seattle - cool but not pretentious, with a killer cheeseburger. Whoever upthread said that this is all upscale comfort food is pretty much right.
posted by lunasol at 8:31 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Also, on the subject of portion sizes: a couple of years ago, I went to France for the first time, and was prepared for portion sizes to be tiny, which is what I'd always heard. I was pretty surprised to discover that portion sizes were similar or sometimes even bigger than what I was used to from similar kinds of places in the US.

And then I realized that it's because I've gotten used to the smaller portion sizes at places like this. It's not necessarily a bad thing.
posted by lunasol at 8:34 PM on July 24


Okay. So I get that there's a specific type of trendoid menu that looks like this ("what a weird uni dish" fucking slayed me), but the problem isn't the menus.

The problem is that this, in many ways, is what super high-end, deconstructivist menus look like. There's no point in calling the dishes something super familiar (unless the deconstruction is both very clever and instantly recognizable), so dishes are listed simply by ingredients; part of the joy of that sort of dining is receiving something that is not at all what you expected based on the ingredient list.

Unfortunately, trendoid places have latched onto this idea without actually understanding the fundamentals behind why and how menus at places like Alinea and Noma and MiniBar and so on are written the way they are. It's cargo-cult menu writing. It's trying to reap the rewards without ever putting in the work.

(And frankly, count me as someone--I may be biased--who absolutely loves seeing sourcing information on a menu. I'm happier knowing that I'm eating a happy free-range cow, if possible, for example.)

A lot of the reaction here comes across as mockery that doesn't actually understand what's going on, and where these menu styles came from. The best non-culinary example I can give is Miranda Priestly's savage dressing down (ahem) of her assistant when she laughs about fashion in Devil Wears Prada. That whole sequence of tracing the colour of the cheap sweater the assistant is wearing to a specific designer's collection three years previously.

There is a purpose to this menu style. There really is. But it's just... copying the form without understanding the content.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:38 PM on July 24 [8 favorites]


...and to be perfectly honest, I have difficulty seeing the problems with some of the real-life menus linked here. A couple are a bit precious maybe, but for the most part they are clear and descriptive; "Pappardelle, bolognese sauce / short rib / pancetta / pork shoulder" should give anyone a crystal clear idea of what they are ordering, no? Isn't that what menus should be, when you're not dining in a high-concept/experimental restaurant?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:44 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Is the food at these places actually good

Well, yes ..usually. Like I said some of my favorite restaurants look Just Like This, but it is pretty predictable and if you can't laugh at yourself what can you do? Some places take it hilariously far tho.
posted by The Whelk at 8:49 PM on July 24


Is the food at these places actually good or do you all frequent them when you're in the mood to chow down on some hipster-outrage? Like, is it the case that you tolerate the twee menu conventions because the locally sourced organic hand rolled artisan foodstuffs are delicious? Or is this an "and the portions are so small" scenario?

It really varies. I've only once or twice actually had bad food at a place like this, usually just meh food. As i said though, Skillet is great. And so is Smith, which lunasol mentioned above.

The food is often basically as good as you'd expect it to be for the slightly upscale prices you're paying, but i'm still surprised when it's actually great.

I haven't gone to any "compressed watermelon" places in the past few years though. The last time i went to one was with an 80s rockstar and her entourage, and i had the most mediocre drunken chicken ever... and it was like $38. I think it might have even been significantly more. I usually just go to the "basic comfort food with a twist and some twee" type places, not the out there molecular gastronomy and twee places.

And, for what it's worth, very few places like this are memorable at all or would make any sort of top 10 of town list for me. If someone came to visit from out of town and asked me where to eat, i'd direct them mostly to more hole in the wall-y places even if they wanted to sit down.
posted by emptythought at 8:50 PM on July 24


I mean I can like that a place has lots of sourcing information but also laugh about it from time to time, you know?
posted by The Whelk at 8:53 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


(although I may not be the voice of reason and the common man here cause sometimes when I'm upset I make a reservation at a place with big fancy Prix Fixe lunch menu and just eat that alone with my phone and eat nothing else for the rest of the day..)
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 PM on July 24


During my drinking days, the company I worked for had a Christmas party at one of Bobby Flay's places in Midtown. Fancy place, small portions, yadda yadda.

We had the back half of the restaurant, but the front was still open to the general public.

I remember taking loudly about "fucking places that draw goddamned sauces on their goddamned plates" and then leaving to cash my Christmas bonus check... I was still hungry, so I went by McDonald's and ordered a value meal, which I brought back with me and proceeded to drunkenly eat inside the restaurant.

Ah.... Good times....
posted by Debaser626 at 9:05 PM on July 24


I remember taking loudly about "fucking places that draw goddamned sauces on their goddamned plates"

Sigh. High end restaurants take that "you eat with your eyes first" thing seriously. They try to make plates aesthetically pleasing and interesting as well as tasty.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:06 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


bl1nk: "I was all ready to laugh at charcuterie = 'jerky for grownups'"

I took that as a reference to actual fancy jerky, like some of the places around here serve.

feckless fecal fear mongering : "A lot of the reaction here comes across as mockery that doesn't actually understand what's going on"

A lot of the reaction here comes from people who actually eat at places with menus like this fairly frequently. *raises hand*
posted by Lexica at 9:11 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


I asked because the relatively few times I've been to places like this I've found that the food is awesome, the service is great, and if it wasn't so much more than I'm used to paying for meals out, I'd go all the time. And the menus--I am sort of with feckless fecal fear mongering on this. The menus I saw read to me as more literal than pretentious, like, the menus pretty much described what was arriving on your plate without bothering to give the dish much of a label.

And also my read on the thread when I asked my comment felt like people were weighing in more contemptuously than in a "poking fun at ourselves because we choose to eat that these places anyway, haha look at me this is totally the place i love!" kind of way.

Which made me sort of curious. But I'm really so little of a foodie that I don't know exactly which way is up at restaurants like these for the most part, and I was much more likely to go in the recent past when I had a job that would pay for my meals on occasion. Left to my own devices I can almost guarantee that the menus at any restaurant I frequent will be laminated.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:12 PM on July 24


Some of these places are really good, yes. I just had a date at The Jakewalk in Carroll Gardens tonight, and was laughing inwardly at how perfectly it fit this menu's stereotype, but it was fantastic food, the cocktails were pretentious as hell and all with homemade ingredients, but very well-made and tasty, and - and this is key - the bartender (we were sitting at the bar) was incredibly helpful and knowledgable and didn't pull any bullshit about anything. So we had a great time.

My brother and sister-in-law have a tamale place out in California. They make the best tamales in the world* and do so in tons of varieties you wouldn't dream of. Breakfast tamales, dessert tamales, all sorts of great non-tamale items. And they do so in a friendly environment that doesn't try to be something other than a tamale place, even though they do so much creative stuff with it. And they pride themselves more on customer service than on product, if anything. So this sort of trendoid stuff is not at all necessary, in my opinion.

Other places don't do it as well. If you order the "pickle assortment" at a bar called "The Pickle Shack" (I'm going to keep picking on them because jesus...) you expect assorted pickles with different flavors, probably in a long-slice form that you can bite into and do something with. You do not expect a couple of small slices of "house dill", a few small slices of a spicy "hop pickle" and then large piles of cauliflower, carrots, and fucking rutabega. For shame.

There are also a lot of places that specialize in cocktails where the goal seems to be putting four or five ingredients together that all sound great, plus one that ruins the entire thing. Rum, ginger, lemon, sarsparilla, I'm with you, and spearmint. Well nevermind. Tequila, lime, agave nectar, crushed raspberries, great, and cayenne pepper. Shit.

In law school, they teach you to never ask "the last question." You'll always want to tie everything in a neat bow that fits your narrative and beat a confession, Perry-Mason-style, out of the witness, instead of letting the jury come to their own conclusions based on the good stuff you've given them. Don't over reach. Don't go one step too far trying to prove something. A lot of these places habitually go one step too far and wreck their cases in the process.


*Not just me saying it - they've got the trophies from the International Tamale Festival to prove it - world's best.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:13 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


You do not expect a couple of small slices of "house dill", a few small slices of a spicy "hop pickle" and then large piles of cauliflower, carrots, and fucking rutabega.

Were these things not pickled? The definition of a pickle is something which is pickled.

Rum, ginger, lemon, sarsparilla, I'm with you, and spearmint.

Sarsaparilla has minty notes to it, so if the spearmint is used in careful moderation... ditto the cayenne in the other drink you mentioned; sweet + hot is a classic combination. Tequila + hot, likewise.

I mean, your taste is your taste, but as MoonOrb said there seems to be kind of a contemptuous attitude here towards people who are trying to use food--and drink--as a mode of artistic expression. As someone who does exactly that thing, the attitude rankles a bit.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:22 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


FFFM: I'm only contemptuous when every cocktail looks like this, and I can't find something I want as a result. Typically in these situations I'll go ahead and order the sweet + spicy option because I know it can be done well, and I trust a drinksmith too much to try to fuck with their creations, but it'll end up being not quite what I'd most enjoy there, and I can usually pick out the ingredient that is getting in the way of me liking it more.

I'm sorry if that rankles, because I know that crafting these things is indeed an art. It seems gauche for me to second-guess them in these circumstances, and yet I know how I'd like it, so I end up not knowing what to do at these places.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:27 PM on July 24


God now I want a Sunset Sarsaparilla, the fizzy, alcoholic cola drink we made for the End Of The World party. It was great and juuust a bit minty and root-y.
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 PM on July 24


And as for the pickles, well, I defer to an old joke I heard somewhere (probably in a D&D discussion): Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. Intelligence says that, yes, "we can pickle that and call it a pickle." Wisdom says that if you've got "assorted pickles" on your menu, people aren't looking for tiny amounts of pickled cucumbers and large piles of something else.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:29 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


(And I get that it's a tough line. A lot of music fans will hear Loveless and recognize it as one of the most gorgeous albums ever made, but probably the majority of people will not get past the first minute of it. Should an artist compromise for broad tastes, particularly when they know what they've created is great? Probably not. Should a chef insist on their own palate when dealing with people who likely don't share it? Maybe not. There's not a good answer here and different chefs and artists will answer it differently.)
posted by Navelgazer at 9:38 PM on July 24


> Look I'm not saying I wouldn't enjoy a house made bitters, I'm just saying there are limits to optimizing and after a while it seems desperate.

szechuan peppercorn bitters. My friends make it among their other house bitters (house bitters used to be a thing - just like most other bar things bars would make their own stuff) and that is one of my favorites. It's like that miracle fruit candies that change sour to sweet on your tongue, but instead numb it for a bit so the cocktail changes flavor as you drink it.

And they still stock angostura and regans and peychauds like like any other bar. They just keep a stock of their weird stuff for other cocktails to play with and to mix.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:44 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


So yes, I've eaten at way too many places like this, good and bad. Here in London, Russel Norman joints are the absolute gold standard, good food and booze pretty much guaranteed, and a billion other places copy the aesthetics, while producing varying results with the actual consumables themselves.

To weigh in on the cocktails, Navelgazer's experience tallies with mine - the sign I'm going to have a good time is that a *handful* of the cocktails are novel twists, and the rest are straight up, though maybe straight up versions of less well known drinks. Cocktails lists where every drink is a novelty take seem to be absolutely the preserve of places that copy the looks but not the goodness.
posted by ominous_paws at 10:51 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


And yes, these satires always bring them up, but you will have to pry those beautiful tattooed pale men and women of the bar and wait staff from my cold, dead hands (sadly not literally).
posted by ominous_paws at 10:55 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Novelty might not be my word, but yeah. I'm not a mixologist and don't claim to be one - that's it's own art. I have been called in to taste and give thoughts on and name cocktails at a number of places, though, and my biggest issue, is, as I said, the one step too far. It is always with an ingredient which will overpower the others, which is why I picked spearmint and cayenne in my examples above. In these drinks, there always seems to be a genuinely good balance of the flavors I want, behind a nasty, surly bouncer of this other thing, that might be a good flavor elsewhere, but just keeps me from enjoying the otherwise good drink beneath this one.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:13 PM on July 24


I dunno, in London trendy restaurants still seem to be doing

oysters, buttermilk, plaintains, wheat...8
hake, yuzu, moss....8
beef cheek, hypericum, abalone....9
chicken, courgette flower...22

The dessert menu is a single tiny sheet with

sweet potato, PX, earth...7
creme egg...9
walnuts, milk, seaweed...7
posted by Acheman at 12:26 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


The conceit of these restaurants is that the chefs are combining ingredients in untraditional, inventive, and hopefully delicious ways. Also, if a restaurant depends on a limited supply of seasonal and/or local produce, I can see why it would need some leeway in their description of dishes. Everyone aspires and everyone copies, and eventually, post-modern menus with all lowercase letters become a Thing regardless of the chefs' calibre.
posted by peripathetic at 12:54 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


The terrifying thing with this menu template is that it's completely international. I mean, I looked at it and instantly thought of Floraditas in Wellington, NZ. Although Floraditas goes a little further in the cutsieness stakes with its "ask your server for a postage stamp and we'll mail your menu to a friend!!" gambit. And the gratuitous Voltaire quote.

Good coffee, though.
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:36 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


God, the fucking lack of currency symbols. Yes, we have transcended mere currency now, and are paying for this food with pure maths.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:47 AM on July 25 [7 favorites]


There are also a lot of places that specialize in cocktails where the goal seems to be putting four or five ingredients together that all sound great, plus one that ruins the entire thing. Rum, ginger, lemon, sarsparilla, I'm with you, and spearmint. Well nevermind. Tequila, lime, agave nectar, crushed raspberries, great, and cayenne pepper. Shit.

In law school, they teach you to never ask "the last question." You'll always want to tie everything in a neat bow that fits your narrative and beat a confession, Perry-Mason-style, out of the witness, instead of letting the jury come to their own conclusions based on the good stuff you've given them. Don't over reach. Don't go one step too far trying to prove something. A lot of these places habitually go one step too far and wreck their cases in the process.


This is i think, the most insightful thing in here. And it's also why i think these places deserve the lambasting they're getting in this thread. I was trying to put my finger on this problem and you nailed it.

It's rare that a restaurant like this can make a cocktail without trying to go that extra little quirky mile. Most places that don't are bars that also offer trendoid food, or restaurants with a prominent bar that are usually open til like midnight at least.

That attitude expands beyond cocktails too. It's always "Hey, so we made poutine... but we put something CRAAaaAAaaaZY in the gravy!".

Good modifications of existing concepts, recipes, whatever don't seem arbitrary. They have this mystical "Wow, i never thought of that!" quality to them that doesn't just feel tacked on. There's exceptions to this honestly, but they really are exceptions.

I feel like you can judge whether a silly menu place like this is actually worth taking seriously, and is going to be properly decent by how much they just seem to be tacking stuff on for it's own sake like that. Adding that one extra silly ingredient to make it omgzany.

Good places tend to have one or two house made sauces or ingredients that are presented as super special, but they only put them in a couple things they make sense in. The truly silly cocktail-ruining places either have a ton, or just mix in random ingredients where you'd least expect them like that in everything.

There's one real exception to this, and it's high end stand-alone bars that only serve like, artisanal tater tots because the city forces them to sell food. In those kinds of places, you know if you see some bizarre list of ingredients it's not just quirk, it wouldn't be on there if it wasn't good because they have a reputation to keep. I don't think i've ever seen a mid-priced trendoid menu food place that did this case-ruining thing where the silly food wasn't ruined by that kind of zanyness though.

It's one thing to have silly titles if it's basically normal food. It's another thing to have silly titles and silly ingredients.
posted by emptythought at 3:29 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Wisdom says that if you've got "assorted pickles" on your menu, people aren't looking for tiny amounts of pickled cucumbers and large piles of something else.

Depends on the person. If I saw that I'd expect a variety of different pickled things.

Should a chef insist on their own palate when dealing with people who likely don't share it? Maybe not.

I totally disagree. If I'm serving my own food (at home, at a restaurant if chef is giving me free rein), I am--within whatever parameters are appropriate--going to make something that I think is delicious. At home it's going to tilt more towards whoever I'm cooking for and their individual tastes, but in a professional setting? Unless I've been directed to make a specific thing, or the restaurant only works within a narrow box, it's going to be something I find interesting and tasty; the whole point of going to a restaurant is that you're not getting a personal chef to make something tailored specifically to you.

The conceit of these restaurants is that the chefs are combining ingredients in untraditional, inventive, and hopefully delicious ways. Also, if a restaurant depends on a limited supply of seasonal and/or local produce, I can see why it would need some leeway in their description of dishes. Everyone aspires and everyone copies, and eventually, post-modern menus with all lowercase letters become a Thing regardless of the chefs' calibre.

This. So much this.

The terrifying thing with this menu template is that it's completely international.

Well, yeah, because the restaurants from which these types of menus originated are internationally famous. I don't know if elBulli was the first to start describing its menus like this, but it's probably the most well known. See also Alinea, Mugaritz, WD~50, MiniBar, etc etc etc.

It's one thing to have silly titles if it's basically normal food. It's another thing to have silly titles and silly ingredients.

I'd be fascinated to know what 'normal' food is. And what a 'silly' ingredient is.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:40 AM on July 25


Why is the dollar sign so important to you people?! Do you not understand that it is the price, otherwise? We're still dealing with a pretty traditional format here.
posted by redsparkler at 6:48 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Clown penis, oompah loompah skin, roast tweddle dee, all very silly ingredients
posted by The Whelk at 6:51 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Local clown penis, or frozen?
posted by Pudhoho at 7:41 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


God, the fucking lack of currency symbols. Yes, we have transcended mere currency now, and are paying for this food with pure maths.

I hope we've reached peak minimalism because it's saturated every aspect of life as we know it, and it's boring as hell.
posted by ChuckRamone at 7:56 AM on July 25


I totally disagree. If I'm serving my own food (at home, at a restaurant if chef is giving me free rein), I am--within whatever parameters are appropriate--going to make something that I think is delicious. At home it's going to tilt more towards whoever I'm cooking for and their individual tastes, but in a professional setting? Unless I've been directed to make a specific thing, or the restaurant only works within a narrow box, it's going to be something I find interesting and tasty; the whole point of going to a restaurant is that you're not getting a personal chef to make something tailored specifically to you.

Sorry if I wasn't clear, but I wasn't really disagreeing with this. Not entirely, anyway.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:07 AM on July 25


I like it when they deconstruct their already minimalist menus and write out the cost of the dish as "twenty-five dollars and fifty cents" such that it takes up fully 1/3 of the available menu space; I feel like they do this so they can insist on minimalist descriptions of the food in the other 2/3 of available menu space, and I enjoy what I imagine to be the epic glee on the face of the first person to decide to do this.

Artisanal glee, to be sure.
posted by elizardbits at 8:15 AM on July 25


Also to be fully clear, I don't have a problem with food that uses unconventional or "new to me" ingredients, but I do have a problem with food that costs what most people would agree is a large sum of money and which arrives in portions more suited for a children's menu or a generous tasting menu. If I'm in an expensive restaurant where the norm is a 3 course meal of individually ordered parts (and not the aforementioned tasting menu) and if after that 3 course meal I and my dining partner are presented with a bill of $300 or more, and (key part here) we feel as though we have eaten a very light snack, then I will be mad about it and I don't really care if that is somehow a low-class marker. A meal which is unable to satisfy normal levels of dinner hunger such that you have to go out for a second meal afterwards, when you or your dining companion are not Michael Phelps in training, is a bad meal regardless of how tasty it is.
posted by elizardbits at 8:20 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


As shown here:
kale caesar ... $14
More likely:
kale caesar ... 14


or
kale caesar ... 14.5
seriously, you only see prices with one decimal place at restaurants. Everyone else does two. Because you don't go around saying something cost "fourteen dollars and five dimes".
posted by madcaptenor at 8:34 AM on July 25


I see Logan Square in Chicago has already gotten a shout out...there's a lot of trendy restaurants like this that are actually good (Longman & Eagle, keep on keepin' on with the putting beef tallow in absolutely everything including your desserts, the vegetarians can go fuck off to Lula Cafe) but then there's places like Cellar Door Provisions, which, well...

Vegetable Soup
vegetable broth, summer veg, bread
10


I got a "panzanella salad" for $13 there once which was a tiny tangle of microgreens and edible flowers, and ONE FUCKING SLICE OF BREAD. ONE SLICE OF DRY BREAD, FOR $13.

Listen, I know those tiny flowers were hydroponically grown twelve miles away by some dickweed with a beard, but get the fuck outta here with that.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:40 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


There's this weird, maddening convention in TV adverts in the UK where not only will they not say 'pounds', they won't say 'hundred' either. So e.g. an ad for a £299 TV at Dixon's will tell you it's "just two nine nine!" Not sure how effective it is, but I did notice it creeping into the way colleagues would talk about how much they paid for something or other.
posted by Flashman at 8:42 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Okay but what if he also sometimes wears those tiny flowers in his beard. WHAT THEN.
posted by elizardbits at 8:54 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Okay but what if he also sometimes wears those tiny flowers in his beard. WHAT THEN.

The flowers are grown in his beard, duh.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:12 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Hydroponically.
posted by E. Whitehall at 9:13 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Those beardflowers are fertilized with artisanal glee.
posted by rtha at 9:50 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Agreed to a point, elizardbits, but (especially in North America) portion distortion is a Thing; we've become acculturated to huge piles of food. So what seems like 'snack' size is actually a reasonable amount of food for a human to eat, per various national nutrition guidelines.

And when you're paying that much, if it's an honest restaurant, you're mainly paying for a larger-than-normal number of staff, niche/artisanal = more $$$ ingredients, etc. Depending on the restaurant you may also be paying for the rooftop herb garden (and staff hours to attend it), the farm (as with Jamie Kennedy here in Toronto), etc.

And I think that's a lot of why sourcing is so often found on these menus; what may cost $1.99/kg delivered by Sysco is going to be a lot more expensive when it's coming from small/artisanal/organic producers.

(Then again, a lot of Noma's produce comes in via foraging in fields, for example.)

Naturally there are dishonest restaurants that'll charge you that much for raw product delivered by Sysco, and claim they're sourcing from wherever.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:01 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Those beardflowers are fertilized with artisanal glee.

Weird--I would have guessed patchouli oil.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:03 AM on July 25


boo_radley: "Ingredient parataxis is a lovely phrase."

Sorry. I meant: Ingredient Parataxis. A lovely phrase.
posted by boo_radley at 10:13 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


i would straight up pay thirty bucks to pluck flowers out of a guy's beard to garnish whatever dopey little meal i'm getting paid for
posted by beefetish at 10:30 AM on July 25


And when you're paying that much, if it's an honest restaurant, you're mainly paying for a larger-than-normal number of staff, niche/artisanal = more $$$ ingredients, etc.

Surely a little of that money could go to a second slice of bread, though?
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:59 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


> Agreed to a point, elizardbits, but (especially in North America) portion distortion is a Thing; we've become acculturated to huge piles of food. So what seems like 'snack' size is actually a reasonable amount of food for a human to eat, per various national nutrition guidelines.

Not acculturated to huge piles of food if you're a pro at eating at the sort of restaurants being affectionately parodied here. Heh.

(Though, honestly, I can usually make a pretty damn good guess at the portion size by triangulating the price + knowledge of the ingredients + dogwhistles in the description. That requires at least intermediate-level menu decoding skills, though.)
posted by desuetude at 12:22 PM on July 25 [4 favorites]


This is completely hysterical. The menu is almost identical to that of the Nickel Taphouse that recently opened in Baltimore, from the bivalves to the deviled eggs to the brussels sprouts to the (as corrected by Metafilter) "14.5"-style prices.

At the same time, it's a great restaurant. Good-sized portions, good beer selection, not too stuffy. It wasn't until I saw this link that I realized just how trendy this sort of place is right now. A++++ would click again.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 1:47 PM on July 25


Because you don't go around saying something cost "fourteen dollars and five dimes".

I am about to start, I tell you what.
posted by KathrynT at 5:13 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


we've become acculturated to huge piles of food

I agree, but what I am literally talking about is a trio of amuses-bouche being served on a giant plate with an abstract doodle of sauce as though they are a legitimate entree.
posted by elizardbits at 5:39 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Had dinner and drinks at this place tonight. The brussels sprouts were very tasty and the Non-Timber Forest Product Beer was very nice.
posted by octothorpe at 7:27 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


a trio of amuses-bouche

3 Whoppers Junior?
posted by Wolof at 2:25 AM on July 27


Menu Speak - On food descriptions and status anxiety
Lower-priced restaurants, meanwhile, rely on “linguistic fillers”: subjective words like delicious, flaky, and fluffy. These are the empty calories of menus, less indicative of flavor than of low prices. Cheaper establishments also use terms like ripe and fresh, which Jurafsky calls “status anxiety” words. Thomas Keller’s Per Se, after all, would never use fresh—that much is taken for granted—but Subway would. Per Se does, however, engage in the trendy habit of adding provenance to descriptions of ingredients (Island Creek oysters, Frog Hollow’s peaches). According to Jurafsky, very expensive restaurants “mention the origins of the food more than 15 times as often as inexpensive restaurants.”
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:40 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


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