King empire

Restaurant review shows it’s the chef, not the king who has no clothes

Any restaurant review that begins with “There is something to be said about a truly disastrous meal, a meal forever indelible in your memory because it is so bad that it can only be considered an accomplishment” is something something that I really want to join.

It is as if Dorothy Parker is resurrected and dining in Italy.

This review is for Michelin-starred restaurant Bros in Lecce, Italy, and the reviewer is Geraldine DeRuiter, a blogger who, in the great tradition of the brother and brotherhood of columnists, finds just as baffling and appalling as the rest of the world. don’t be like us anymore.

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Chez Bros, DeRuiter and his party of eight lost $ 1,500 on a 27-course “meal” that included scraps of edible paper, rancid ricotta (the restaurant’s word for it), a tablespoon of goo ” infused with meat molecules ”and my favorite, a sort of mousse served in a plaster cast of the chef’s mouth.

It was, DeRuiter wrote in a review that has since gone viral, “the kind of meal that makes you feel like the fabric of reality is unraveling.”

I will say that some of the more ‘classic’ restaurants in the world have been pushing the boundaries for a while now, to the point where you can leave me out of it. You’ll see George Will tweaking before you catch me ordering a tasting menu again.

But no one ever says anything, because they are universally acclaimed establishments, and if there is a fault to be found, it is most certainly up to the guest, not the chef.

So in the end, DeRuiter is the kid who points the finger at the naked emperor and says, “Uh, guys? “

I understand that there may be something else going on that is more cultural than gastronomic. Personally, I was made fun of because I showed up in a Parisian restaurant at the unholy hour of 7 p.m. them.”

But she’s not the first to notice it. In 2012, food critic Pete Wells wrote for The New York Times that “the consumer of such a meal can feel as much like a victim as a guest. The reservation is hard-won, the night is exhausting, the food is cold, interruptions are frequent. The courses become blurred, the flags of the palace and chess sting.

I would also say that, like swimming in the English Channel, the tasting menus require a youthful endurance and optimism of which I am utterly incapable.

Forget that as you get older your taste buds harden into unassailable nodes that are about as absorbent as railroad ballast, so culinary nuance is a wasted art. On a good day, I can tell the difference between an oyster and an omelet, but if you ask me to distinguish between allspice and nutmeg, forget it.

Really, it takes six or eight bites before the taste even starts to register, so you need something on the order of half a chicken to make an impression. Except you can’t eat that much anymore, then dinner becomes just a ritual prelude to bedtime, as inmates are supposed to put together a few final words before the execution.

Nor, on my best days, could I ever sit still for two to four hours while the food ran out. Conversation is difficult for me, and I have usually said everything I had to say in about four minutes. The thought of sitting there for another two and a half hours listening to people talk about the drugs they are taking and who they saw at the Celebration of the Lotus yoga lesson that morning is more than I can bear.

DeRuiter tried to put the best face on it, calling it a (bad) shared experience among friends. He’s a better person than me. But at least Bros didn’t ask them to do the dishes.

Tim Rowland is a columnist for the Herald-Mail.