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Anyone been to LudoBites at Gram & Papa's so far?

Hi Gang,

I have reservations for an upcoming date, but no recon on this board thus far...

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance!


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  1. Yes, J.L. I went this weekend and loved it. We had a lot of dishes. Was everything great? No. But most dishes were delicious and highly memorable. Spotted J. Gold chowin'. There were lot's of bloggers blogging so I expect you will get more specifics from them.
    Highly recommended, indeed.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Ciao Bob

      Thanks for the prelim. report back! Any especially memorable dishes?

      1. re: J.L.

        I really loved these dishes:
        Raw Scallop, Almond Puree, Pickled Grapes, Capers, Cauliflower Ice Cream $14
        Burgundy Escargots, Garlic Flan, Green Jus, Yellow Flowers $14
        Egg, Potato Mousseline, Lobster, Borage Flower $15
        Parmesan Sable, Sweet & Sour Cherry Tomato, Zucchini Ravioli $16

        I didn't care for what I gather is a signature, too rich for me, but others loved it:
        Foie Gras Croque-Monsieur, Lemon-Turnips Chutney $29

        1. re: J.L.

          JL how was your experience? Any recs? I noticed that 2 of the dishes I was most looking forward to have been removed. Both the egg, potato mousseline, and lobster dish along with the the foie croque have been removed from the menu. I felt the foie croque was the most successful dish at Ludobites 1.0. The verision at Breadbar was simply genius.

          I'm hoping Ludobites at Grams turns out better than the one at Royal T. I know you had a good experience but mine was pretty mediocre. The foie beignet was unremarkable and still frozen in the middle and they had run out of a couple of other dishes by the time I arrived for my 830pm seating. Royal T kinda felt like a poorly thought out, in it for the profit only sequel to a hollywood blockbuster. I'm hoping Ludo 3.0 can at least be more like Ocean's 13 than another Ocean's 12.

          1. re: Porthos

            That's funny. I think it would be safe to say that 4.0 is better than 3.0, unanimous among those I know that went to both.

            1. re: streetgourmetla

              I'm counting the truck more as v2.5.

              Glad to hear this version is better than Royal T.

              1. re: Porthos

                Was at Ludo 4.0 on Friday night. It was indeed much better than the Royal T version. The foie croque was not on the menu but was made for us (and several others) on request. I really enjoyed the ham soup and the brie chantilly appetizers.

                The white asparagus veloute was very good except for the candied olives. I understand he was going for sweet (veloute and fennel), salty (salmon roe), and bitter with the candied olives. But for me the candied olives was a distraction from an otherwise balanced dish.

                I was less than impressed with the steak. The sauce ended up tasting like BBQ sauce which may or may not have been the intention.

                Chocolate souffle with black pepper ice cream was excellent. Mine didn't have any ice crystals as was reported in another post. The black pepper in the ice cream was apparent but not overbearing. Stellar.

        2. Yes, it was an enjoyable meal, and a substantial improvement from 3.0.
          Loved the scallops, Jidori chicken, foie gras croque-monsieur, the carrot salad, and the dark chocolate souffle. The escargots were good, too.

          Although I suspect many of these dishes will be gone by the time you go. Oh well. But, overall this was a worthy endeavour.

          3 Bloggers Blogging, 2 Hounders hounding, and a J Gold with a Frisee

          4 Replies
          1. re: streetgourmetla

            Heehee... My suspicion has always been that JGold is actually a regular on this board.

              1. re: streetgourmetla

                He used to post under his own name--no secret there.

                1. re: mc michael

                  Well, all food writers lurk on chowhound, they'd be wrong not to, bloggers, foodies, television programs.

          2. I went opening night. 4 top, ordered one of every app, steak and chicken entree, one of every dessert. Service was bad. We BYOBed and our server topped off my oxidized L'Etoile with our Riesling that we brought before I could say anything. Timing of courses was awful. We literally got one app, waited 20 minutes, got another, waited another 20 minutes, told our server to just fire at will and it still came out slow. I was watching the kitchen and I didn't see any action going on. Just very slow movements. Plates weren't that beautiful. Croque monsieur was okay, I don't get the hype. I could use a hell of a lot more foie. Dish with cheese and honey was pedestrian, nothing interesting. Carrot salad was interesting and was quite excellent with the Riesling we brought, but on its own it was extremely astringent and not pleasurable to eat. Everyone seemingly enjoys the fact that he's using a high tech gadget called a gastrovac, but having used one myself they're really nothing special. It's a very precise crockpot that happens to have precise vacuum/pressure control. Scallop dish was quite possibly the most disgusting thing I've ever eaten. The scallop was raw, good quality, and mild, so the accompanying caper puree, which also looked like vomit, completely destroyed the dish. The cauliflower ice cream was icy, no craftsmanship there, and the almond puree didn't do anything to tie together these flavors which could work if they were executed with more balance (i.e. searing the scallop, toning down the caper element) Escargot was decent, needed some punch. Lobster was good but it was literally a scrap knuckle piece hidden by the potato espuma and the egg was overcooked, which I don't understand. If you're going to serve an egg 64 you just keep it in a thermal circulator all night and crack em to order. Very classic flavors too and nothing terribly inventive here.

            The steak was the highlight. Perfectly cooked with a perfect crust, delicious green peppercorn sauce, and crisp white asparagus, which I would prefer cooked more to sweeten it up but homeboy probably wants to get his money's worth on the Gastrovac, and it did provide a nice textural contrast. Chicken was good.

            Desserts bombed, the chocolate souffle was undercooked and that raspberry religieuse is a travesty, is it supposed to be pate a choux? What's with the horrible piping design? We asked for coffee with dessert and it never came.

            I know I sound harsh but seriously, this guy helmed L'Orangerie. He hawks his cookbooks at these events with topless pictures of himself. The dude better bring it in the kitchen, and based on my night, he just doesn't.

            7 Replies
            1. re: fooddude37

              Yikes - Hoping the kitchen shapes up by the time I go (soon)...

              I had an inside offer to attend on opening night, but I feared just this sort of thing, so made a later reservation...

              1. re: fooddude37

                Wow.. somehow i love this review. cuts through bullshit without sounding like a hater. AND really, truly.. has a point

                1. re: fooddude37

                  FoodDude37 just sounds like a jackass to me ;) j/k

                  I was actually at that same dinner... in fact, I was actually at that table... in fact, I sat next to him. He's a pro so his attention to detail and standards are way higher than mine. I had no problem with service but I'm a bit biased because the server is a friend and it was opening night. I agree wholeheartedly that the dessert and scallop dish were ATROCIOUS. Amongst the worst things I've ever eaten, no joke. However, I really, really, really, really enjoyed the potato mouselline, escargot, steak, and foie gras croque-monsieur (though I agree that it was very light on the foie gras, especially for the price.) All in all, I really enjoyed the dinner and those hits made up for the minuses for me.

                  1. re: fooddude37

                    The thing you guys have to realize is that the first week of LudoBites is always going to be rough while they get their timing set up. They train with the staff for a couple of days before they start and that's it. If you want perfect service and execution that's exactly the same every time, you're going to the wrong restaurant. It would be a lot more expensive if they had to spend the time training everybody for a week or two before they opened. And in general, everything is a lot more free-form at LudoBites.

                    As for my experience, I really enjoyed the food. Some dishes I liked more than others, but some favorites were the steak au poivre, the ham soup and the squid carbonara.

                    1. re: noahbites

                      I hated the squid carbonara. It was tough, it tasted principally of Parmigiano and the pancetta was quite cold in the centre (according to Ludo, it's supposed to be). It was the only real failure of a dish, though.

                      The blood sausage mousse was insane.

                    2. re: fooddude37

                      That is unfortunate although an opening night anywhere is usually less than ideal. I have been to LudoBites a couple times when it was at Breadbar and really enjoyed his inventive cuisine with French touches. Very creative and fun experience. I hope to go to LudoBites at Gram & Papa's but will wait a bit for things to settle in

                    3. Website pretends the entire event running from 4/8 thru 5/28 is fully booked. And this,long before the 4/8 start date.

                      Commoners allowed to submit a (humble) request for admission to their waiting list.

                      Actually, I'm surprised their waiting list is not closed, in which case they should kindly abase themselves to opening a wait list to get on the wait list.

                      Sorry, this is way too aristocratic for a shlepper like yours truly.


                      14 Replies
                      1. re: RicRios

                        Actually, I tried to get on the wait-list and wasn't able to even do that (at least for 15 or so dates I tried)! It's a fun concept but way too high-maintenance.

                        1. re: aching

                          "It's a fun concept "

                          Methinks: as fun as shooting themselves in the foot.

                          1. re: RicRios

                            Gentleman, it's a pop-up! It'a not a standing restaurant. If you want to play you musn't fuss so much, have a little fun, or go to an established restaurant because maybe this isn't your thing.

                            Pop-ups have reservation lists that fill up fast because the chefs are popular enough to do such an event. It's kind of like inviting a chef to cook in a strange kitchen, sourcing is not easy due to the limited run, but there is a more personal experience that you can have.

                            And noahbites said it best, there were excellent dishes, some better than others. WHen you order the whole menu as are table did, the object is to figure out the dishes you like, and just have some fun. Some you will like, love, be indifferent, or loathe. That's going to happen at every single pop-up you attend. The chefs are trying out recipes on you , in Ludo's case, he would rather take a chance and fail than just be ordinary.

                            "The scallop was raw, good quality, and mild, so the accompanying caper puree, which also looked like vomit, completely destroyed the dish. The cauliflower ice cream was icy"
                            But this kind of commentary really is isn't helpful, and more akin to another forum known for that style of review. "Icy ice cream?"

                            RicRios, I had a blast, our table was covered in wine bottles, and some tequila for after the dinner. Everyone there seemed to be having a great time. This is supposed to be fun. Try a pop-up sometime, loosen up a bit, you might enjoy yourselves.

                            1. re: streetgourmetla

                              My point was only that if their wait-list is full, they should just say so on their website instead of having you try each day on their calendar and get rejected each time! As I said, I do think that a pop-up restaurant is a fun concept, but just like a conventional restaurant, I'm only going to bother with the ones that actually seem to care about me and my time and the quality of my experience. (Also, not a gentleman!) =)

                              1. re: aching

                                Agree with RicRios and Aching. I've fallen victim to clicking their website everyday in hopes of getting a table. Such a waste of time and effort.

                              2. re: streetgourmetla

                                "But this kind of commentary really is isn't helpful, and more akin to another forum known for that style of review. "Icy ice cream?"

                                Street, I haven't been to the restaurant/pop up in question, but just to be fair I don't see the criticism here as being other than rough, yes. But certainly not out of bounds by any stretch of the imagination for Chowhound. Icy can be an apt description of ice cream that, instead of being smooth and creamy, has ice crystals formed in it. Not pleasant to eat when that happens...

                                1. re: streetgourmetla

                                  I have a different set of standards. Whether we're talking about a catering event for a wedding, a private party, a taco truck at 3 a.m., my friend's mom's Peruvian cooking, my grandparent's Mediterannean cooking, a cook is a cook is a cook. What you put on that plate represents you. It's mind blowing to me that anyone would put themself in the hands of a chef, or a cook, and know ahead of time that some dishes they'll love, and others they'll loathe, and essentially be treated as a guinea pig, and PAY FOR IT?

                                  Ice cream should never be icy. There are many techniques to overcome this and to willingly serve it shows a lack of attention. We could get in a lengthy discussion about what proper technique is in another thread, about what it means to be a good cook and to present food that is balanced. My criticism stands and has nothing to do with my ability to "loosen up" or enjoy myself.

                                  As for the "opening week jitters", it would be understandable if I saw the kitchen hustling and falling behind. This was not the case. There was no sense of urgency, just everyone moving at a relaxed, too relaxed pace. To spend that much time on the food should ensure the quality of what went on the plate. That means to me that everything we were served was exactly how Ludo intends it to be, and in that case, I'm not interested in his food.

                                  1. re: fooddude37

                                    Congrats on the standards.

                                    There had been 3 prior Ludo Bites and plenty of info out there on the internet before you went to this dinner. So, the fact that he would be playing around with new recipes and that he likes to change things up was well known to me, and you should have known as well. You were the one blindly trusting the chef, I went in eyes open.

                                    There are very few menus out there that are bullet proof, and even my favorite restaurants may have items that either do not interest me, I didn't like, or are weak offerings. So, we order based on recs or previous experience. If it's a new place and we have no info we are all entering blindly, unless you are a true chowhound and can zero in on a find and the potential good menu items. There's no 1,000% batting average there either.

                                    Ludo is going to try new things, change the menu, and at this point is enjoying the freedom of the pop-up.

                                    All kinds of restaurants have tasting menus, omakase, or other types of "chef trusting" that many here enjoy. I've done a fair share of tasting menus and there are always items, even from my favorite chefs, that are not things I would order again. Sometimes nothing offends, sometimes everything is good but a yawn, and sometimes it has been a meal that has transcended, etc.

                                    But, chowhounds that are willing to take one for the team are my kind of people and what make this an interesting place.

                                    Anyways, for Ludo Bites 5.0, consider yourself informed.

                                    1. re: streetgourmetla

                                      So, if I understand this rationale correctly, anyone who goes to a pop-up should inherently expect mediocrity, if not abject failure, in certain dishes? And we're supposed to be accepting of this because we've done our proper homework?

                                      That's not an encouraging endorsement of Ludobites or any other pop-up. Poorly cooked scallops doesn't sound like "experimentation". There's not a fine line between "experimentation" and "poor execution." You can easily achieve the former while avoiding the latter.

                                      1. re: odub

                                        You're not understanding this rationale correctly.

                                        Restaurant you know=dishes you know and like, dishes you ignore

                                        New restaurant=Try the menu over time and find the dishes you like, if the restaurant is worth it.

                                        A pop-up is like a new restaurant that will never go through the process of working out its kinks, revising the menu, improving the dishes. Walter Mantzske isn't going to do the Church and State menu when he pops up at Hatchi bar, he's going to do something different.

                                        Someone who goes to Ludobites and doesn't know he changes the menu and tries new things all the time hasn't done their homework. I was pretty clear on this. You want Church and State, go there, if you it at Mantzke's pop-up, don't go. You don't trust the chef, don't go to their pop-up.

                                        People who only go to concerts for the hits are the same mentality.

                                        I had no poorly cooked scallops, nor did the many friends I know and trust. This is your opinion, but no sense debating subjectivity. I had great 4.0, no abject failures, though. I had items I would order again. But, chances are they've moved on.

                                        The experimentation is with the menu, trying new dishes, different combinations, different textures. He's not experimenting with scallop cooking technique, which is a bit peculiar to insinuate that Ludo is anything other than a polished and accomplished chef.

                                        We always bring a group to order the whole menu to try, and we're OK with that. Practically all of my friends who have gone have done the same, because that's how you do a pop-up.

                            2. re: RicRios

                              yes, every date I tried to even get on the waiting list was overbooked too.
                              Santé, tattooed hipster chef!

                              1. re: dharmathug

                                According to the Chef's Twitter page, he had 20 no-shows last night because of the rainy weather (and he was REALLY annoyed by that!); it might not hurt to call at the last minute to see if a table is available....

                                1. re: CEfromLA

                                  Yes, I remember from 3.0 many people snagged ressys day of. Embrace the technology.

                                2. re: dharmathug

                                  I decided to email the reservations site directly to complain about the non-functioning wait list and was pleased to hear back from wife Krissy that she would put me on the wait list. So let's see what happens

                              2. I had gone to LudoBites about 2 weeks ago and was incredibly excited to go. Excited to the point that i thought this one meal was going to make my entire week that much better. That being said, i was COMPLETELY underwhelmed by my meal at Gram & Papas.
                                First course I had was the Brie Chantilly, and I'm not gonna lie, I thought this was fantastic (probably the best thing of the night), I could have eaten a whole more plate of this. I was expecting to be blown away after i ate this dish. After that came the carrot salad, good at first but it got old quite fast. Not to mention the incredibly copious amounts of olive oil that dressed this dish. Between bites I found myself wiping off my face because of the excess oil dripping off the carrots. After that came the bread service with lavender honey butter, it was good... but it was bread... and where I come from bread is typically a complimentary service. Asparagus veloute was next, sounded great on the menu, i found this to be totally disgusting, the mozzarella mousse on the bottom was grainy and it just added a funky textural element to it. Next came the squid "carbonara" which was the dish i was most looking forward to- to me there is nothing better than a great carbonara. This dish was a complete miss. The texture was just off, and it was lacking salt. The egg 64, just didn't work for the dish in my opinion. I understand that it is the perfect temperature for an egg to be cooked, but the white on this just added a slimy component to an already lacking dish. Egg 63 (or 64) works a lot better in a ramen(like momofuku) or just using the yolk. I also did not see anything "snowy" about the parmesan, what on earth is parmesan snow? I am quite sure it is simply parmesan grated on top. Seems a little arrogant to me to call grated parmesan, "parmesan snow" After that I was begging for the lamb dish to somewhat salvage the whole experience. It did not impress. Im no cheap-o but I don't see any justification in charging $26 for a single chop that was 75% fat. I dont know if he did it en sous vide but the fat was clearly not rendered enough and it made it almost inedible. There was about one bite size portion of meat. The potato mousseline, I'm pretty sure had used boxed potatoes as a base, they clearly did not taste fresh. And the smoked eel?! maybe Ludo is just above me in all culinary aspects, but that piece of eel did nothing to elevate the dish. I feel as if it was put on the plate as a "wow" factor. What was most shocking to me was that I did not see Ludo prepare one thing, rather he was just standing there looking "pretty".
                                I just want to reiterate, I REALLY wanted to love this meal. I tried to find something gratifying in every dish, but when looking back at this meal, I could have spent the same money at Melisse, Langham, or Providence, and would have had an exceptional meal with exceptional service. I was really let down by all aspects of this meal

                                1. My husband and I went last night (4/28).

                                  Ludo was in the kitchen, cooking and plating. He chatted a little with some patrons.

                                  Ordered, and Consumed Three from Appetizers
                                  Tartine Plate "Warm Baguette" Honey-Lavender Butter & Smoked Lard
                                  This sounds simple simple simple, but I loved it. The bread was really fantastic (procured from BreadBar, for anyone from LA) and the smoked lard was light and delicious, and truly the devil's candy.
                                  Brie Chantilly Napoleon, Honey Comb, Frisee Salad, Balsamic
                                  This was good, but I found the plop of cheese a little overpowering and rich. The balsamic was a great, sticky acidic counterpoint to the honeycomb and brie. I didn't finish my portion, and I don't know if I would order this again.
                                  Scallop, Almond Puree, Pickled Grapes, Capers, Curry Oil & Cauliflower Ice Cream
                                  I'm allergic to shellfish, so I only had a tiny bit of the ice cream (tasted like cauliflower!). My husband got a dreamy look on his face and told me he doesn't eat enough scallops.

                                  Main Course
                                  Squid "Carbonara", Pancetta, Poached Egg (63 degrees), Parmesan Snow, Chive Flowers
                                  This was my main. Squid replaced the traditional pasta, and was super, super tender. I really liked this, and ate all but one bite. The pancetta and soft egg yolk took this dish up to the salty fatty stratosphere.
                                  Rack of Lamb, Fresh Goat Cheese, Smoked Eel, Artichokes, Potato Mousseline, Mint
                                  This was my husband's, and while we usually share, we were both in deep deep food comas by this time. I had a couple of bites of his lamb--gorgeous! It was super pink, and tender, while the deep bowl of potato mousseline was whipped potatoes and oceans of butter. (Chef, if your google alerts has pulled this review to you, I'm sorry if I missed any of the other ingredients.) This dish had so much butter, it was less like potatoes, and more like a porridge.

                                  Macarons, Organic Strawberry & Chantilly
                                  This was our attempt at going out on a lighter note. The soft pillow of sweetened cream on top of the strawberries didn't make it very light, but it was very, very good.

                                  All in all, I'm really happy we got to go to this type of a restaurant. The pairings in each dish aren't for everyone, but we didn't have one clunker the whole night. And since this place is BYOB, the meal was reasonable ($95, before tip).

                                  1. Going tonight!
                                    Not sure WHAT to expect since the reviews are all over the place, but either way, it should be interesting......

                                    1. Funny thread. 2 points: One is that I consider Ludo a bit of a mad genius, he is consciously and intentionally experimenting, and when a dish hits it's so thrilling because it's not just a rehash of what everyone else is doing. I've had more fun at his pop-ups than with any other dining experiences in the last few years. My wife and I went a few times (granted only to breadbar) and were totally high from the experience. Ate great food, met cool people, chatted extensively with chef and his wife (not because we knew them previously, we did not), and drank stellar wine which we were able to bring ourselves. Point 2: I got into ludo bites at least a couple of times by just showing up a bit before 6 o'clock. That was my very easy way of dealing with supposed reservation nightmare. Oh, and I never went and didn't get in.

                                      Maybe everything's so completely different at 4.0 that none of this applies, but I kinda doubt it.

                                      1. http://www.laweekly.com/2010-05-20/ea...
                                        Jonathan Gold just came out with an article essentially praising Ludobites pop up joints as the center of cool, in the moment, genius creation. He talks about how over his many visits there he witnessed the meals and menus evolving, getting better, but all in a raw, garage band kind of hip, exciting way.

                                        Ludo has cooked all around town in the top places, which he either left for creative differences or boredom. He already was criticized for inventive mistakes. He has now had 4 pop up restaurants with many of the same items each time. There are plenty of other top restaurants that creatively mesh new, fusion and exciting along with nail it perfection. Hatfields, XIV, etc.

                                        My take is if I am spending $150 for 2 people + wine and tip, I want more than a hit or miss, groovy, grunge star meal. I have only eaten here once, the food was good, but hit and miss, and I find it pretentious that J Gold is saying this. Am I supposed to go every week myself to discover the evolution? I'm eating a meal, for crissake, not watching a painter. Why the adulation for creativity that is raw but unperfected? I'm paying for both creativity and perfection.

                                        I think if you start giving a chef excuses because he's creative and raw and non-conformist, and cooks like an experiment in process, you are taking away from other great chefs who can nail all that each time.

                                        I find it pretentious to praise him and ourselves for being part of this creation, especially as he has been making a lot of the same stuff from the beginning and for those prices should be giving us perfection, repetitive or otherwise.

                                        8117 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: dharmathug

                                          Seems to me that this argument has been missing the point. Comparing a pop-up restaurant to a fine dining establishment is like comparing classical music to jazz. If i go to hear Yo-yo Ma play Prokofiev, I know that I will hear that music, which has been codified and rehearsed extensively, played beautifully; exquisitely well. But if I go to hear Roy Hargrove play Miles Davis, I'd actually be pretty disappointed if what came out of his horn sounded, in the least, pre-planned. There's the difference.
                                          You said, "if you start giving a chef excuses because he's creative and raw and non-conformist, and cooks like an experiment in process, you are taking away from other great chefs who can nail all that each time". And yet that's exactly what many of us are enjoying, the sense of witnessing a chef walk the tightrope. There's certainly the possibility that there may be a disaster, but there's also the possibility of experiencing something transformative that will never be repeated...
                                          Praising Lefebvre in no way dismisses, say, Cimarusti any more than appreciating Andres diminishes Goin. Different styles, different tastes. All of them with their place in the culinary landscape.

                                          1. re: FranklinJefferson

                                            The problem with your reasoning is that this is extremely fine dining from an extensively trained chef, just done in an unusual environment. As I said, this style of creative fusion and juxtapositions is common nowadays. And as J Gold says, his presentations do evolve over the course of the 2 month stay. But since I'm paying top $$ for a Top Chef, I shouldn't have to pay so much for being a test group. I should get a discount price for being a guinea pig.

                                            1. re: dharmathug

                                              I am a fan of Ludobites.

                                              However, I also agree with your point of view to some extent. Ludobites gets a lot of praise for the concept and the food isn't always spot on and flawless. Some dishes are simply weird or do not work.

                                              Having said that, I find that Ludobites has more substance than other heavily praised restaurants such as Bazaar and Animal. Bazaar's novelty quickly wears off and you realize that the kitchen and food is pretty sterile and lacking soul. Animal is a display of decadence and while good, gets cloying pretty quickly.

                                              Ludo at least tries to do something different and if 1 or 2 dishes show me something new, and the other 3 or 4 dishes that night are just good, I'm satisfied. The pricing is very fair and you are getting a huge discount. My meals at Ludobites 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 have all been at least half of what I spend at Bazaar, Providence, Mozza, etc.

                                              Ludobites is not "extremely fine dining" and has never claimed to be.

                                              1. re: dharmathug

                                                I'm paying to "go along for the ride".

                                                I'm fortunate in that my dining budget is, shall we say, generous. Fine dining is easily found. Pop-up dining? Well, I'm willing to pay for the novelty, be it possibly sub-par.

                                                If that makes me an unthinking lemming, then I'm one lemming who's having a great time doing it, and I find value in that...

                                                  1. re: FranklinJefferson

                                                    Amen to :
                                                    1) "I'm fortunate in that my dining budget is, shall we say, generous."
                                                    2) "I'm one lemming who's having a great time"
                                                    3) "I find value in that"
                                                    4) All of the above? Then rather than Amen, I'd say "Mazl'Tov!!!"

                                            2. re: dharmathug

                                              Couldn't agree more. Having been in the restaurant industry for the last 10 odd years, it pains me to see people make comparisons of chefs to musicians. I implore you, take chefs off this pedestal. Even within the context of comparing a chef with any artist, in any great art there is craft first, creativity second. And there is always, always editing. When I hear of chefs "taking risks", it makes me want to puke. Please. It's not hard to spend an afternoon conceptualizing a dish and practicing a few times before presenting it to a public, and any chef worth his salt will have a repertoire that he knows he can execute well, while modifying the components of the dish to stay "fresh" or "current". Steak, white asparagus, green peppercorns? These are not groundbreaking flavor combinations, nor are scallops, cauliflower, grapes, and almonds for that matter. These flavor combinations have existed for decades if not more. Very often, the pleasure we derive from good food may seem like creativity at its best, especially seeing as how culinary art is sort of the new kid on the block compared to visual or auditory arts, BUT, I promise you that pleasure you derive is more than likely from the craftsmanship involved in the execution of a successful dish. When I talk about poor balance, you can liken it to bad brush technique. That painting might be beautiful to 99% of the populace, but to the trained eye it's downright embarrassing.

                                              1. re: fooddude37

                                                But I'm not a "trained eye", so that makes me a member of the 99%. I suppose my ignorance is bliss, in this case. Sometimes the process of attempting to create something beautiful can hold beauty of its own.