Food is alive and well in New York, not thanks to influencers

Food, spoken time and time again, is enjoying a golden age in New York City – but don’t tell the Instagram-obsessed and budding “influencers” that.

On social media, the aesthetic of the dining room tends to favor radioactive dishes and “laid back” (ie incompetent) service over food that tastes good and staff who know. what theyre doing.

But to hell with the supposed tastes of the prevailing zeitgeist: gourmet restaurants are thriving and multiplying at a breakneck pace.

Example: Chef Jonathan Benno’s new and luxurious Mediterranean restaurant at the Evelyn Hotel (7 E. 27th St.). Besides great food, it has notes of grace that are said to be as dated as the pheasant under glass from the ‘Mad Men’ era: good food, comfort, courteous service, beautiful surroundings, and tolerable noise level. Benno has been jam-packed since it opened in November, long before it deserved a rave review in The New York Times last week.

The chef is finally keeping the promise he made as chef de cuisine from Thomas Keller to Per Se, where clarity of presentation and distinction of flavors reigned – but has vanished in his baroque and picky Italian endeavors in Lincoln. Benno’s Franco-Italian menu is prix fixe only ($ 94), and the dishes aren’t groundbreaking, but beautifully executed. Elysian Farms Tinted Spanish Egg Casserole and Lamb with Merguez and Vegetables is simply as delicious as it looks.

Unlike the idiot-focused “scenes”, Benno’s waiters don’t utter any inanities such as, “How do those first bites treat you?” They don’t harangue us about ‘people hanging out too long to eat’, as my friends suffered this week at La Pecora Bianca, favorite of the no-grace scenes in Midtown (where the hostess tried to chase them 15 minutes longer. early than a two hour home to rule).

Benno seems destined for a long and prosperous future. Yet when the Times awarded it three stars last week, it seemed sorry to do so. The headline called the place “proudly out of step with age.”

What “age” are they talking about? Fine dining thrives by just about any definition – and kicks off wacky cooking experiments, communal tables, and excruciating noise.

Lamb with carrots, artichokes and eggplants at Benno.Evan sung

All modern French establishments РLe Bernardin, Jean-Georges, Restaurant Daniel and Caf̩ Boulud Рare almost always full. The same goes for Marea, Del Posto, Gotham Bar & Grill, Lafayette, Carbone, The NoMad, Eleven Madison Park, Il Gattopardo, Tamarind, Dawat, Union Square Cafe, The Modern, Gabriel Kreuther, La Grenouille and pretty much all the steakhouses in town. .

The field of gastronomy is not diminishing but growing. Some of the more popular places have opened over the past three years and have quickly filled up – like Le Coucou, the Grill, the Pool, Avra ​​Madison, Temple Court, Majorelle, Flora Bar and the new Leonti in the Upper West Side.

Yet many, if not most, of the places blogs and Instagrammers favor appeal to customers more interested in style than substance: pizzas, tacos, and hard-edged noodles that look and are run like classrooms. kindergarten.

GrubStreet said in 2016 that a Times review that downgraded Per Se from four stars to two was “Another nail in the coffin of fine dining.”

Guess what? It is difficult to get a reservation at Per Se. Hopefully, restaurateurs aren’t betting more on the hype than on the obviousness of dining rooms with no free space to spare.

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