'GQ' Critic: Lousy New Orleans Restaurants Make Me Question Rebuilding
We generally enjoy Bloomberg/GQ food critic Alan Richman's acerbic, over-the-top eviscerations of the city's overpriced crudo emporia (example: "I asked [the sommelier's] opinion of a couple of $70-and-under Australian reds I was considering for my second wine. He suggested a $205 Australian pinot noir instead. The only appropriate response to that would have been to beat him to death."), but his dispatch from New Orleans in the current GQ, left us more than a little vexed. We're not usually offended by written equivalents of kicking a man in the nuts while his hair is on fire (really, how could we be?) but this piece left us feeling violated. We're going to a cheat a bit and give you a sample from the end, but read the whole thing:
During my time in New Orleans, I sought to keep some perspective. For example, when the sommelier at August brought me an incorrect vintage of the wine I'd ordered, I tried not to be too distressed, knowing that somewhere in the Lower Ninth Ward a house was sitting atop a car. Yet it's important to come to a tough decision about New Orleans, because it's going to cost Iraq-magnitude money to get this place back to where it was or, better yet, where it should have been. I do admire much about the restaurants, even if their desserts survived Katrina because they were too heavy to float away. Restaurants could be the saviors of New Orleans, providing they produce innovative rather than repetitive food. They risk becoming meaningless if restoration means transforming the city into a low-density Creole theme park where food is one component of a commemoration of the past.
Perspective is indeed important. We've been reduced to a state of incoherent rage, but we do want to express the hope that someone down there pissed in his soup.