Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Honesty Honestly

Over a pleasant Dine LA lunch with a friend at Water Grill, I think I distilled what's at the root of my disdain for restaurants that I, well, have disdain for.

They're dishonest.

I understand that this is wholly subjective and based in nothing more than my own phantasmagoric knee-jerk opinions. I'm just elaborately and self-importantly justifying my own decisions. But hey, that's food writing.

Take the restaurants I've recently "panned":

LudoBites. Claim? "Combine Old World simplicity and New World imagination in innovative dishes to tantalize diners' taste buds." Reality? Middling vanity operation with more style than substance.

Two Boots. Claim? Cajun-tinged take on classic New York pizza. Reality? Over-reaching and under-performing limp crusted mediocrity.

Akasha. Claim? "New American cuisine offering comfort food with big flavors and sustainable ingredients, for carnivores and herbivores alike." Reality? Decent organic home-cooking in a million dollar dining room for fine-dining prices.

(As an aside--would LA restaurants please stop putting their business plan mission statements on their websites? Holy crap, no casual visitor to your site cares that the Westside Tavern is: "
An expansive, social and urban-minded restaurant, Westside Tavern features chef-driven yet affordable interpretations of California Tavern Cuisine alongside a complementary selection of fresh cocktails, craftsman beers and thoughtful wines. Encompassing 10,400 square feet and 300 seats, Westside Tavern is open for dinner daily and is designed to be used as a casually upscale gathering place by a broad cross section of Los Angeles professionals.")

The restaurants that I like are honest. They either make no claim to be anything in particular or they make a claim that they live up to. Bar Pintxo claims to be a reasonably authentic Basque tapas bar. Done. CitySip claims to be a friendly neighborhood wine bar. Done. Wurstkuche serves sausage, fries, and beer. Done. Church & State claims to be a French brasserie/bistro. Aces. All these places do what they do and they do it well and fairly.

That's all that it takes. Really. No high-falutin' concept. No crazy cushy chairs. No booths full of lithe models and swarthy men in stripy shirts and designer jeans. None of that.

Just be honest.


p said...

that's funny, i just ate at tavern for lunch yesterday, and boyoboy was i SO disappointed! $14 for a glorified grilled cheese sandwich that wasn't even good! we didn't even get the fancy seating because i guess that is for reservations only, even though it's the exact same menu!

David J.D. said...

Tavern always looked really f-ing expensive to me. And $14 for a grilled cheese, shallots or not, is embarrassing.

Beautiful space though.... Guess that's a case in point?

SinoSoul said...

You are absolutely spot on re: Ludo/Akasha/2 boots. Though oddly enough, I thoroughly enjoyed Westside Tavern. Perhaps they should simply tout themselves as: the nicest meal at the mall you'll ever have.