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Dinner plans... for next year.
October 1, 2008 7:10 PM   Subscribe

What's the hardest dining reservation to score? French Laundry? Nope. El Bulli? Non. D.C.'s minibar? Not even close.

It's Talula's Table, a tiny shop in Kennett Square, PA that's a gourmet food store by day and a sublime dining experience by night. Located about 45 minutes from Philadelphia, Talula's Table was started by Brian Sikora and Amy Olexy, a husband and wife team who first rose to fame in the Philadelphia restaurant scene back in 2002 when they opened Django. Sikora and Olexy, both former employees of Philly restaurateur Stephen Starr, started Django with a $45,000 loan and only their mountain bikes as collateral. Within a year they were the darlings of the city, lauded for Sikora's unpretentious but innovative cuisine, and one of the driving forces behind Philadelphia's BYOB boom. Craig LaBan, the Philadelphia Inquirer food critic who can exault or destroy a restaurant with a single review, made waves by awarding Django a rarefied "four bells,"1 a rating typically reserved for the high-end gems like Le Bec Fin, Vetri, or Amada -- unheard of for a small bistro.

But at the height of their fame, Sikora and Olexy opted to walk away, selling the restaurant after a short five years to two investors2. After a time bouncing around the Chester County countryside (a sojourn that included a brief stint for Sikora at Sovana Bistro, and for Olexy -- arguably one of the best cheese experts in the area -- getting turned down for a job at the cheese counter in Whole Foods), the couple opened up Talula's Table. The two transformed an old shoe shop on the main drag of Kennett Square (mushroom capital of the world!) into a warm, welcoming gourmet market that specializes in prepared foods, pastries baked on the premises, artisan ingredients, and, yes, glorious cheese. At the back of the store is the large, rough-hewn farm table referenced in the shop's name. Every evening, after the store has closed, this table is the site of a multi-course prix fixe dinner prepared for a single party of eight to twelve people. As was his style at Django, Sikora's cuisine is unexpected but approachable, original but not fussy, and always divine. Bonus: he is a firm believer in the 100 mile diet, and draws heavily from the seasonable, local ingredients available to him in the abundant Chester County countryside3.

When Talula's Table first opened, getting a reservation at the table was fairly easy; only die-hard local foodies were even aware that Sikora was cooking again, and frankly, wrangling seven of your closest friends for dinner in the wilds of the Philadelphia suburbs wasn't an easy sell, not at first. But the buzz soon found Sikora, and before long LaBan made his way to dinner at Talula's, which he described as "one of the best meals [he had] eaten all year." After the LaBan review hit, the buzz only grew louder. Within just a few months Talula's had been talked up by the likes of Portfolio, MSNBC, the New York Times, and NPR.

Demand for the table exploded, and now the only way to get a reservation is this: you must call at precisely 7:00 a.m. one year to the day ahead of when you'd like to dine there. If yours is the first call they take, then you can book dinner for that date the following year. Good luck.

A few first-hand accounts of the folks who have had the Talula's experience are here and here. And this is a little glimpse into the kitchen. Oh, and here's a Flickr photostream for you to drool over.

1 - I would've linked to the original Laban review, but it appears that it has been removed from the Philly.com site, probably because it's no longer applicable.
2 - How far the mighty have fallen: Django closed two weeks ago, a mere three years after Sikora and Olexy sold it.
3 - Sample autumn menu from last year: Grapefruit Margarita and Nantucket Bay Scallop Ceviche, Roasted Chanterelles, Our Smoked Country Ham, Creamed Greens and Spoon Bread, Buttery Leek and Wine Poached Chatham Cod, Petite Pommes Frites and American Caviar, Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Artisan Ricotta and Maple Glazed Winter Vegetables, Cinnamon Smoked Pheasant Bastilla, Medjool Date Glazed Pheasant Breast, Crispy Phyllo and Toasty Almonds, Grilled Veal Steak, Porcini and Taleggio Ravioli and Braised Veal Shank, Scent of a Cheese: A Quintet of the Unusual, Gianduja and Dark Chocolate Caramel Tart, Nutmeg Anglaise, Port Poached Cranberries.
posted by shiu mai baby (54 comments total) 88 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Weekend Australian claimed the waiting list at El Bulli was around 2 million reservations...
posted by surenoproblem at 7:27 PM on October 1, 2008


OK who's in for a meetup at this joint 1 year from now, because I'll volunteer to start making the calls.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:29 PM on October 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Technically, the hardest dining reservation to score would be at places that don't take reservations, and stand by that.

Not to take away from the whole magic-phone-call-one-year-to-the-day-in-advance concept.
posted by mannequito at 7:30 PM on October 1, 2008


yeah, hardest reservation: McDonald's
posted by sexyrobot at 7:33 PM on October 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


But is it worth it?
posted by crapmatic at 7:34 PM on October 1, 2008


Possibly, but El Bulli doesn't keep that waiting list on file for long. With El Bulli you have to e-mail them in October with your name, the number of people in your party, and your preferred dining date. The owners spend two weeks booking the upcoming year's reservations, and by the time they're done, they are indeed completely set for the five and a half months that they're open. If you didn't get a reservation that year, then you have to try again the following October. Fun! Still, it's definitely one of the places on my "must-do-before-I-die" list.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:35 PM on October 1, 2008


But is it worth it?

It's probably worth outsourcing the phone calls to India, then scalping the reservations to the highest bidder.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:39 PM on October 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is an excellent post. Many thanks for the effort in putting it together.
posted by maxwelton at 7:42 PM on October 1, 2008


Actually my restaurant is even more exclusive, to make reservations you must call at the stroke of midnight on the first friday of the month an unlisted number that one of my personal Umpa-Lumpa line cooks will write on a random bathroom wall somewhere in Bithlo Florida. If you're lucky enough to make reservations you will be treated to a 2 course meal of pinto beans and fried chicken, with a side of white bread and milk duds for desert.
posted by nola at 7:43 PM on October 1, 2008 [16 favorites]


In all seriousness this is a hell of a post you've put together.
posted by nola at 7:44 PM on October 1, 2008


Fabulous post!! Great job!
posted by pearlybob at 7:52 PM on October 1, 2008


mannequito writes "Technically, the hardest dining reservation to score would be at places that don't take reservations, and stand by that."

I've eaten a couple times at a place that was invitation only and table d'hôte. They kept a list of customers and would call you up out of the blue saying they had an opening next week and would you be interesting in the spot (or something like that, I was only ever a guest). The only way to get on the list was to have been a guest of someone already on the list. It was kind of surreal. Like dining at your grandmothers without having to worry about your crazy uncle ranting about the communists.
posted by Mitheral at 7:58 PM on October 1, 2008 [7 favorites]


Great. freaking. post. Footnotes, even.
posted by zpousman at 8:04 PM on October 1, 2008


I thought it was Dorsia.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:13 PM on October 1, 2008 [11 favorites]


...Yet the staff rolled with the punches, not missing a beat even when one member of our group told a joke whose punchline involved sodomy. That’s a sign of a good dining experience: servers who can wax poetically about artisan cheeses and also roll with a well-crafted butt-banging joke.


I don't know who this chick (quinn77) is but if I waited a year to eat at a place like Talula's Table and was forced to listen to sodomy jokes, I'd ask the waiter for a nearby dentist because someone is losing teeth.
posted by shockingbluamp at 8:21 PM on October 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I honest-to-god thought this post would be about setting dining reservations to music.
posted by gubo at 8:22 PM on October 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Rao's.
posted by cogneuro at 8:26 PM on October 1, 2008


I honest-to-god thought this post would be about setting dining reservations to music.

Well, they are difficult to arrange.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:34 PM on October 1, 2008


I'm in.

(Had to chuckle at the Stichelton mention. I have a still very Anglophile father with quasi-Victorian taste who attended Oxford who was always complaining about the lack of a good Stilton in the area. I managed to trip over it a few months ago.

Yes, it was delish. Well, what I could pry from his hands, that was. Amusingly enough, it's the exact same culture as classic Stilton, but, due to it's raw milk base (as opposed to pasteurized), it is legally forbidden to call itself Stilton.)
posted by Samizdata at 8:45 PM on October 1, 2008


... You know, I can think of something more outlandish than the idea of a secret gourmet restaurant hidden in downtown Kennett Square - The tiny town that my parents used to go to because it had a K-Mart and was closer than Granite Run Mall....

Actually, no, I can't. Though the last time I went through there, I was startled at how up-scale it had become.
posted by Orb2069 at 9:07 PM on October 1, 2008


I thought that the answer was going to be some sort of 'guerilla restaurant'; I'm glad it wasn't. And it even turns out Kennett Square is familiar. Longwood Gardens is very pretty (a visit long before the restaurant existed). Terrific post! Thanks!
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 9:14 PM on October 1, 2008


oops. guerrilla.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 9:20 PM on October 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


love the post, shiu mai baby - this will keep me busy for awhile!
posted by madamjujujive at 9:23 PM on October 1, 2008


Suddenly my famed chicken stir fry no longer seems so exciting.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:25 PM on October 1, 2008


I gotta say that Django wasn't all that great. The cheese plate was okay. The seared catfish was really burnt and practically inedible. The greens were limp and tasteless. Like most of the restaurants in Old City, I was left with the impression that Django was another overpriced and overrated joint.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:19 PM on October 1, 2008


There should be a distinction between hard to get ( aka have to know someone ) and hard to get ( aka jump through these three hoops and say these magic incantations backwards in harmony ). Examples of the former is Rao's as linked above. Examples of the latter is Momofuku Ko.

I'm scratching my head at the inclusion of minibar in the OP. For as good as Jose Andres and, more recently solely Katsuya, are they are a far cry from Alinea and WD-50. And don't get me started on Farrah Olivia's. The latino dim-sum, however, is fan-fooking-tabulous ( and poaches many of the minibar dishes ).
posted by zap rowsdower at 11:21 PM on October 1, 2008


Wow, shu mai, you deserve to get paid for a post like that.

I've been looking for a link for the world's most expensive and exclusive restaurant, but cannot yet find it. It's really a club, so it kinda sorta doesn't count. Located somewhere in the (French? Swiss?) Alps, the membership fee of the club--the club consists of just the restaurant--is in the tens (or hundreds of?) thousands of dollars. Same with the meal--tens of thousands of dollars for a full seven course meal. The restaurant sits atop a mountain and is only accessible by the restaurant's own cable car. IIRC, the dining room seats--one table. Per night. Reservations are backed up for years.

I'll keep looking for it--it's a really weird and interesting place.
posted by zardoz at 12:22 AM on October 2, 2008


I've eaten at Rao's, as part of a private party. It was ok, but I wouldn't have thought it was worth it if I had had to make the reservation myself. I do like their jarred marinara sauce quite a bit though.

Ray's The Steaks in Arlington, VA is a great inexpensive steak place that doesn't take reservations over the phone. The trick is to go in the afternoon and put your name on their list for that evening. This policy is meant to make it easier for locals to get in (it does help, and fortunately, I live nearby), but it can frustrate people who don't live in the area.
posted by gudrun at 12:23 AM on October 2, 2008


I was born and raised in Kennett Sq, and currently reside in Manayunk which is part of Philadelphia, about 45 mins away from the restaurant.

As a leading entertainer (DJ) in this city, I often times have to entertain celebrities and friends, and this restaurant is kind of my secret weapon. Far enough away from the city that no one really knows you, but surreal food.
posted by Addiction at 12:32 AM on October 2, 2008


I've been looking for a link for the world's most expensive and exclusive restaurant, but cannot yet find it. It's really a club, so it kinda sorta doesn't count. Located somewhere in the (French? Swiss?) Alps, the membership fee of the club--the club consists of just the restaurant--is in the tens (or hundreds of?) thousands of dollars. Same with the meal--tens of thousands of dollars for a full seven course meal. The restaurant sits atop a mountain and is only accessible by the restaurant's own cable car. IIRC, the dining room seats--one table. Per night. Reservations are backed up for years.

It sounds a bit like the Eagle Club in Gstaad.
posted by atrazine at 1:51 AM on October 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


This place may serve a good meal, but I know it can't compare with my Grandmother's cooking. Grandma, dressed in a tattered apron, gray hair tied back, would work hunched over the old potbellied stove in the kitchen of the home where she had lived for forty years, blending the truffles and foie gras into the culinary foam with one hand while preparing a salpicon of lobster with the other. Often she would give us a discount on the bill because we were family.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:00 AM on October 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Blazecock: I'm curious about your lousy experience at Django. Do you know if you went there when Sikora and Olexy owned the place, or was it after they sold it (which was in the fall of 2005, if I recall correctly)?

I went to Django several times pre-sale, and it was always an impeccable meal. Hell, the balance they brought to the quality of the cuisine, the beyond reasonable price they charged for said cuisine, plus the friendly environment they fostered made it, hands down, one of my favorite restaurants on the planet.

Which was why going there after they left was such a crushing disappointment, because it was clear that the ineffable touch that made Django so special departed with them. The food was pretty good, but the magic was gone.
posted by shiu mai baby at 2:31 AM on October 2, 2008


My favorite restaurant is so exclusive that I can't name it because then it will no longer be exclusive, now will it?

I become wary when the circus holds more sway than the food. Fact of the matter is there are more good and creative chefs and cooks around than you can shake a stick at. Half the fun is finding them, and they pop up in the most unexpected places like Cornville, Arizona and Georgetown, Maine, or in a friend's kitchen. The best way to find them is not from a restaurant review in a newspaper, but by word of mouth.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:24 AM on October 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the post! I'll add that I too try to avoid places like French Laundry and El Bulli where the spectacle has taken precedence over the food. The best food out there is not that hard to get, but you do have to know where to look for it.

My wife and I just made a special food trip to the Langhe region of Italy. We rented a car and drove through the steep and narrow hills of both the Langhe and the Monferrato. Its an area with few tourists. But its where Barolo and Barbaresco wines come from. Where they still go on truffle hunts. Home of great cheeses and great restaurants - usually small farmhouses in the middle of nowhere.

This is the headquarters of the Slow Food movement. But its not a place that wants to be known. Typical of the region is Cesare who serves meals out of his own kitchen with his family. He was awarded a Michelin star and, famously, turned it down:

Then, there were Cesare’s dealings with the Guide Michelin. Awarded a star soon after opening da Cesare at a modest and hard-to-find location in the tiny Piedmont hamlet of Albaretto della Torre, he had called Paris to complain, and begged his name be removed from the famous red directory of Europe’s best restaurants. Michelin, though apparently surprised, reluctantly agreed. However, since there was still almost a year to go before the next edition, Cesare felt obliged to post a sign on his door in several languages warning “If you are here because you read about me in the Guide Michelin, please don't enter.”

Clearly, he didn't want the kind of people who fight for reservations for El Bulli just to say they went to El Bulli.
posted by vacapinta at 3:55 AM on October 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I become wary when the circus holds more sway than the food. Fact of the matter is there are more good and creative chefs and cooks around than you can shake a stick at. Half the fun is finding them, and they pop up in the most unexpected places like Cornville, Arizona and Georgetown, Maine, or in a friend's kitchen. The best way to find them is not from a restaurant review in a newspaper, but by word of mouth.

Steve, the funny thing is that, take away all the hyperventilating foodies ad breathless reviews, you've just described Sikora. I'm a casual acquaintance of both of them, and I can tell you definitively that he and Olexy aren't the type to stoke the buzz with gimmicks or slick marketing; if anything, it was their commitment to serving really, really great food at a reasonable price that won the hearts of so many diners. In fact, it is solidly word of mouth that drove the initial success of first Django and now Talula's table, well before the media caught on.

When Django was in its prime, there were a number of things about it that impressed me: most of the waitstaff was female (unusual for a high-end restaurant), and they wore charming tea-towel aprons that looked like they were straight out of a Kansas kitchen in 1930 -- the effect managed to be authentic and homey, not kitschy or ironic. The bread was baked and came to the table in little terra cotta pots. The serving sizes were flawlessly balanced; it was neither micro-food nor the gargantuan portions that have become iconic in American restaurants. If you ordered the cheese plate for dessert, Amy would come to the table and discuss each of the cheeses on the plate; where it came from, why she chose it, some of the flavors to expect, etc. And then, of course, was the food. My god, the food was so good. To this day I still remember one dish I had -- homemade orecchiette in a roasted tomato bolognese sauce, which Sikora finished with just a touch of lemon oil. I know it sounds rather pedestrian, but trust me: it was the kind of thing I would want to eat my last day on earth. *And* on top of all of that it was easy for two people to get out of there for under $100.

Django was the kind of place where you could go with a few friends, have a mind-blowing meal, one where the food is so amazing that you're all eating off of each other's plates, enjoying the two (or three, or four) bottles of wine you've brought with you, and suddenly you've been there three hours and you could absolutely stay longer were it not for the staff sweeping up around you and putting chairs up on the tables.

Sikora is definitely one of the "good and creative chefs" of which you speak.
posted by shiu mai baby at 5:22 AM on October 2, 2008


I think Minibar could get folks to reserve a place a year in advance if they allowed it--I've been, and trying to go back has been just too much of a hassle. I've called within 30 minutes of when they accept month-in-advance reservations, and have been locked out. It's crazy good, though (self link).
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:56 AM on October 2, 2008


Good luck getting a table here, too.
posted by educatedslacker at 6:08 AM on October 2, 2008


Damn -- I've actually been out on a few review dinners with them, but, sadly, not at that place! (Actually, both places we went to closed shortly afterwards his reviews came out -- Avenue B and some other place on 12th and Locust that was open for about 12 seconds.) Thanks for the awesome post.
posted by mothershock at 6:37 AM on October 2, 2008


I had dinner at Talula's Table several months ago. Yeah, it was pretty freakin' divine. This is an understatement.

It's not a restaurant, per se, and it's not really fair to compare it to one. It's a private dinner party with really beautiful food. Chef Sikora is quite clear on this.

I loved Django -- I went early and often -- but I do think that the food could be a bit uneven. I do think that the food there was excellent, and I loved engaging in cheesegeekery with Aimee.

I also found the hype tiresome, and thought that it set unrealistic expectations for what was a pretty modest restaurant, all told. I don't blame Bryan and Aimee -- I actually blame resto reviewer Craig LaBan, who is seemingly incapable of exercising even a modicum of restraint when it comes to this particular couple's ventures.

(If it seems like everyone is acquainted with Bryan and Aimee, it's pretty much because Aimee remembered the faces of everyone who had been to the restaurant more than several times. They're really nice people.)
posted by desuetude at 7:01 AM on October 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Desuetude: 1) I am supremely jealous of your Talula's experience. We have reservations, but not until next summer. Sigh. 2) I cannot believe I misspelled Aimee's name in the original post. Sigh x100.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:24 AM on October 2, 2008


My favorite restaurant is so exclusive that I can't name it because then it will no longer be exclusive, now will it?

If you're talking about the Lisbon Falls Subway, the cat's already out of the bag.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:30 AM on October 2, 2008


shiu mai baby, my only warning is that the dinner can be a bit of an endurance contest. By the end we were feeling a little dangerously close to exploding.

Only thing I'd add to your original post is that Talula's Table participates in the Headhouse Market (a program of The Food Trust) as well! (More info and resources at Local Food Philly.)
posted by desuetude at 8:04 AM on October 2, 2008


Also, the fact that its hard to get into is a by-product of the fact that they only have 8 tables and one seating per night. So, its a bit of an artificial scarcity which produces demand. And demand fuels demand (everyone wants to join the club thats hard to get into)

If the counter-argument is that it must remain small for them to focus on quality, the operation is still too small. Denis Leary of Canteen in San Francisco has 16 seats and 3 seating per night. Perhaps he should work less hard.

I can't argue against the food at Talula since I've never had it. But what happens to many restaurants overwhelmed by hype is that they start getting flooded by customers who are not there for the food and thus start getting less attentive. Also, the whole thing seems a bit provincial. We know what local reviewer LaBan thinks. And this seems like a worthy place for Philadelphians to go to (I notice desuetude and shiu mai are from the area). But I don't see a case made that this would be worthy of a trip were you not already in Philly.
posted by vacapinta at 8:13 AM on October 2, 2008


vacapinta, they have one table for eight people. And like I said above, it's not really a restaurant, it's really a private dinner party. They make a whole selection of prepared foods for the shop. The dinner thing is a side-gig, basically.

It's not so much that they believe that a restaurant has to stay small to maintain quality, it's that the chef is enjoying the freedom to make really complicated, intricate food for eight people INSTEAD of running a restaurant.
posted by desuetude at 8:37 AM on October 2, 2008


Actually, vacapinta, it's just one big table, and just one reservation per night. And that reservation must be for a party of at least eight and no more than twelve people. So not only do you have to plan a year in advance, you have to be confident that you can wrangle at least seven more people to join you for dinner a year from now.
posted by shiu mai baby at 8:39 AM on October 2, 2008


....and how ironic if proponents of the one hundred mile diet attract parties of 8 from Tokyo for an evening! ( like the guy who recently bought a bunch of grapes for $910)
posted by Wilder at 8:39 AM on October 2, 2008


Or, what desuetude said.
posted by shiu mai baby at 8:43 AM on October 2, 2008


This is indeed a fantastic post.

Though it is factually incorrect in one respect: the most difficult reservation to score is my kitchen table. Even I've never eaten at it, (though my dogs eat right below it, so I guess they could be counted the most exclusive guests in the world.)
posted by quin at 9:08 AM on October 2, 2008


Also, the whole thing seems a bit provincial. We know what local reviewer LaBan thinks. And this seems like a worthy place for Philadelphians to go to (I notice desuetude and shiu mai are from the area). But I don't see a case made that this would be worthy of a trip were you not already in Philly.

Don't the Condé Nast, New York Times, and NPR links in the OP kind of undercut your assessment of it being "a bit provincial," though? I mean, not that he's any kind of expert on food, but if you look at the Portfolio link, there was this:

Yet diners have included chefs, writers, tycoons, musicians, mushroom farmers, plastic surgeons, and actors. John Turturro traveled down from Brooklyn with his wife, Kathie Borowitz, on Valentine's Day; a friend had praised Talula's food so lavishly that Turturro had to see for himself.

"I was a little dubious at first, but the dinner surpassed my highest expectations," Turturro said after a banquet of egg custard with Jonah crab, exotic mushroom risotto, snails in rigatoni farci, roast pompano, osso buco and house-smoked bacon, lamb and wildflower honey, and an array of winter blue cheeses.

"Each dish was a separate love affair," Turturro said. "It was the kind of a meal you'd request before your execution."


So, you know, it's not exactly just some "provincial" regional phenomenon.
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:26 AM on October 2, 2008


(And thanks, y'all, for all the kind words. It was a fun post to put together, even if it did make me rather hungry.)
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:27 AM on October 2, 2008


Blazecock: I'm curious about your lousy experience at Django. Do you know if you went there when Sikora and Olexy owned the place, or was it after they sold it (which was in the fall of 2005, if I recall correctly)?

About a year after. And, admittedly, I only went once, so maybe it's not fairest opinion.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:52 AM on October 2, 2008


Blazecock Pileon: With all due respect to the folks who bought Django, it wasn't the same restaurant after the sale in anything other than name and a sort of loyalty to the premise. The chef and menus were completely different.

The sale gave the new owners a more sustained bump of buzz than if they had opened a brand-new place on their own, (plus the name-recognition factor among those who don't follow the restaurant scene as closely) so I don't blame them for buying the place. But by all accounts, things didn't go quite as smoothly as hoped for the kitchen or for the business.
posted by desuetude at 10:48 AM on October 2, 2008


Oh, and decor, of course.
posted by desuetude at 10:49 AM on October 2, 2008


"When you acknowledge, as you must, that there is no such thing as perfect food, only the idea of it, then the real purpose of striving toward perfection becomes clear: to make people happy. That's what cooking is all about."
-Thomas Keller

The quote above says it all folks. To those people who have been poking fun of the post in either direction... well... it doesn't really matter.

Some people dig exclusivity. If it makes them happy, fine. The thing is you can tell from these chefs they want little to do with exclusivity. It merely seems to be a byproduct of their easy-going sensibility and small, singular focus.

The food does indeed seem unpretentious, but flavor rules. It has to. Dining is nothing without flavor and I'm amazed how much that is often lost in the American culinary school. (Europe is a little bit better, japan is a little bit worse, spain is just about perfect... imo).

But it's reading stories like this that give me a great warmth inside. Cuisine is alive. I especially loved the presentations, unpretentious and food first.

That being said, a wonderous presentation can really wow some newbies... but all is lost without flavor.

This is why I'm a chef.

welll... an armchair chef.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 12:05 PM on October 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


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