Daring versus safe versus boring French food: is there more to be said?
- John Talbott May 27, 2014 12:23 PM
Given the discussion on other threads about various restaurants' food being daring, safe or boring, I'm not sure there's anything more to be said.
But, of course, as the oldest guy left standing here, I'll put out a statement in the tradition of Oxford's Thursday debates, to wit: "This House has no confidence in any CH member's ability to define the difference between daring, safe and boring food in Paris."
5 minutes each Ladies and Gentlemen.
My favorite was eating "pig in the 'style' of the dog" (sure) when I was in Viet Nam during the war that wasn't a war.
A number of years ago John Tagliabue of the New York Times wrote about an edible-insect farmer in the Netherlands http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/wor... and it appears that a Belgian chain Rentokil will bring these delicacies to the parvis of La Defense June 4th. http://www.directmatin.fr/cuisine/201...
According to Trip Advisor Paris, there are 12,000 plus restaurants in Paris today. Walking as we do daily through various neighborhoods we are surprised that the number is not higher. That means that any person wanting to eat in a restaurant in Paris has over 12,000 choices. Breaking this down to chewable pieces...from where I sit this minute, I could go to over 4000 restaurants without moving more than a half mile by foot.
Given that level of competition, a restaurant better know its niche, know its client, know its food and deliver.
What has been missing for me in the the various chp discussions of what's what on what's served is respect for the client, despicable as he or she may be, who ultimately pays the bills.
If you can make a fortune cooking wtf you want and staffing poorly, ...good for you! You have found a niche!
You won't last long, so I suggest investments in T bills.
Balance is the key. I tend to be quite an adventurous eater and love those eureka moments when the brain figures out that all those strange juxtapositions of ingredients and flavours is actually quite good. Yet, I can only take so much of innovative cuisine, no matter how good, before I begin to crave simple comfort and familiarity. For me as a Parisien, the return to more or less traditional cuisine in a classic bistro or brasserie (or even some neo-bistros) also renews the soul... with the added advantage that the taste buds and the brain are on auto-pilot. But again, soul-renewing and comfort have their limits and I'm soon back with a yen for the modern or the different or ethnic. I doubt that I would appreciate innovative cuisine as much as I do if I didn't have my little breaks in traditionland... and vice versa. And the same goes for the style and vibe of restaurants. I'm a fan of the sleek/ sophisticated and modern but can only maintain my interest by regular visits to the hip/ bobo or the traditional (even cliché). With the abundance of quality that Paris offers, it's such a waste to get stuck in just one style or cuisine groove.