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Who is a better chef: Dan Barber or Eric Rippert

d
Denial Oct 18, 2006 09:45 PM

Who do you think cooks better not just restaurant.

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  1. dkstar1 RE: Denial Oct 18, 2006 10:00 PM

    well...

    Ripert understands fish fairly perfectly but I think Barber understands vegetables and other proteins equally well.

    1. o
      oysterspearls RE: Denial Oct 18, 2006 11:19 PM

      Two totally different styles but you can't go wrong with ether one.

      1. d
        diropstim RE: Denial Oct 19, 2006 12:44 AM

        Both chefs a bit, umm... austere in their approaches and aesthetics. I find it almost impossible to charge either chef with lapses in technique-- like, ever--- but equally difficult to find anything on my plate which excites me. Ripert makes Carl Andre and Donald Judd seem overly exuberant as artists, and Barber is so enamored of sous-vide cooking that I think he might break into hives if he ever found anything crunchy contaminating his plate. That said, you'll still never find better fish (or less of it) than you will at Le B, and Barber knows exactly when to get out of a vegetable's way. In the end, it's the whole reductivist, "less is more" philosophy embraced by both chefs ( but more pronouncedly so with Ripert---last time there I was served what I imagine to be a deconstucted Sole Veronique which consisted, no joke, of a two-ounce slab of poached Escolar and exactly three peeled grape haves. And nothing else ) that leaves me a little cold.

        3 Replies
        1. re: diropstim
          m
          mrnyc RE: diropstim Oct 20, 2006 11:03 PM

          actually andre and esp judd are/were overly exuberant artists in my book (i mean murdering your spouse)? but i getcha.

          ripert leaving you stunned and hungry when you are spending a lot of loot for some mad minimalist vision is just not right.

          1. re: mrnyc
            d
            diropstim RE: mrnyc Oct 20, 2006 11:17 PM

            Technically, though, I don't think that the whole "Mendieta out the window" thing was an actual piece. Technically.

            1. re: diropstim
              m
              mrnyc RE: diropstim Oct 21, 2006 03:05 PM

              we should dine together at judd's table in marfa. heh.

        2. Withnail42 RE: Denial Oct 19, 2006 01:23 AM

          I’d be happy dining at either of their establishments.

          1. steamer RE: Denial Oct 19, 2006 01:29 AM

            This reminds me of the old "quien es mas macho?" from Saturday Night Live.

            1. d
              diropstim RE: Denial Oct 20, 2006 10:51 PM

              I'd never turn down a meal at either place, don't get me wrong. It's just that my last meal at Le Bernadin seemed so anticlimactic. I can't say that I was disappointed because nothing disappointed. The cooking was flawless, the wines interesting and well-paired, the service impeccable and even the sommelier was a hottie (bonus.) What the experience was not, however, was exciting, crave-inducing, revelatory or particularly memorable. I guess maybe I was expecting or hoping for something (at both places ) that was never in the cards in the first place: namely, big flavors and/ or inspired
              combinations of flavors, of textures, of temperatures etc. Instead I got exercise in nuance so ethereal that they threatened to evanesce before mine very eyes. Which is fine. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's what they do.
              Chefs that are exciting me right now? Vongerichten (still light and clean in his flavor profiles, but his flavors are much brighter, more focused and frequently more unexpected than anything I've had at either Blue Hill or Le Bernadin). Boulud. Keller. Carmellini. Conant. Batali (yes, still).Gallante (though he does inch pretty close to the line in the kitchen which reads: "effete girlyman food"). Pellacio.
              Hell, let's even throw Valenti in there, the man's not afraid to go big.

              1. l
                Leo RE: Denial Oct 21, 2006 05:33 PM

                I agree with two things - 1) very different styles, slightly different ethic too with Barber's "farm" bent 2) that reference to "quien es mas macho?" -- that was a great skit.

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