Restaurant Critic John Mariani has problems with Bon Appetit Magazine’s picks for Best New Restaurants, and he makes a slew of excellent points you might consider
Did you happen to look at Bon Appetit Magazine’s picks for its list of Best New Restaurants of 2014? They include a food court, a luncheonette, a diner and a sandwich place, but skip fine dining altogether. Writer John Mariana calls the places on the list “the equivalent of $300 blue jeans.” Go ahead. Take a look at the list. We’ll wait.
Mariani offers some well-reasoned opinions in his weekly essay, “WHAT IS BON APPÉTIT MAGAZINE TRYING TO SELL US,” including why he is up in arms:
(W)hat it tells us is that, unless yours is a restaurant that is very edgy, cheaply decorated in worn-out clichés, often highly uncomfortable, and largely ego driven, you haven’t a chance of getting onto such a list.
I am in no way criticizing the food in these restaurants, although, perusing many of the menus from the list, I have to wonder if those with three items as main courses, one of them a salad, another a hamburger, really rise to the ideal of “best.” Maurice in Portland, OR, is a bakeshop and luncheonette; Thai-Kun (right) in Austin is a food court; Palace Diner (below) is, well, a diner; Rose’s Meat Market & Sweet Shop(above) in Durham, NC, is a sandwich spot–“not actually a restaurant,” says BA—The London Plane in Seattle is a grocery with lunch items. Do these really qualify as candidates for the bestrestaurants of 2014?
What I am questioning is what clearly appears to be an attitude problem here, one that glorifies novelty, youth, eccentricity and hipsterism for their own sake, while ignoring the excellence of those veteran restaurateurs who still believe in setting a good table, offering unique design and décor–often to the tune of millions of dollars–pouring significant capital into an enduring wine list of depth and breadth, hiring a chef who deserves to be paid top dollar for his experience and ability to run a professional kitchen, a service staff that sees to every aspect of their clientele’s comfort, then charges a fair price for the quality level of the entire dining experience.
Only one Dallas/Fort Worth restaurant made BA’s list: CBD Provisions, which I loved. But I also think John Tesar’s Knife deserves a nod. And considering BA’s picks, so might Stock & Barrel, Gemma, San Salvaje, AF+B and Casa Rubia. What do you think? Agree or not, at least Mariani grabs the elephant by the balls.