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Monday Morning AgitatorJanuary 4, 2015

Matt Lightner Out At Atera and Ronny Emborg In – A Blow to American Cooking

This is bad news for those of us who care about the way American cuisine is progressing. Not that I have anything against Ronny Emborg, but the Atera job is one of the prime opportunities for an American chef who cooks in a progressive style. There are so few restaurants in the U.S. that feature progressive cuisine that the idea that the spot is lost to a European chef – especially one who hasn’t done anything significant in quite some time – is a blow to the development of American cooking.

One wonders when owners of restaurants make these types of decisions

01/04/2015 | Comments (3)

December 27, 2014

My 25 Favorite Dishes of 2014

I thought long and hard about making a list of the 25 best dishes I was served in 2014. And when I decided that it was too difficult a task, I decided to switch to my favorite dishes so I wouldn’t have the burden of actually defending their superiority. Still, it wasn’t an easy task, but somehow I manage to slog my way through it. Listed in alphabetical order by dish:

1. Aged Duck, Duck Liver Jus, Porcini, Garlic Scapes & Duck Boudin Blanc – Castagna, Portland, Oregon

Justin Woodward calls the blob in the middle of the plate, “duck liver jus

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12/27/2014 | Comments (1)

November 13, 2014

Akrame – I normally do not pay a second visit to a restaurant unless there has been a significant event like an uptick in the reviews I am collecting or Michelin awarding a restaurant an additional star. Okay, I happen to like Akrame Bennellal personally, and that weighed in his favor as well. Unfortunately, the meal did not deliver on that promise, and what we found was some good ingredients, prepared in a manner that did not appear precise enough to warrant Michelin’s promotion. And we know Benellal has it in him as a lobster dish was so good that it...
Continue reading about 'Europe Trip Fall 2014 - Arpege, Quique Dacosta, In...'

11/13/2014 | Add a Comment

September 30, 2014

Atera – After having an exceptional first meal at Atera, my second was much less enjoyable. If you asked me what caused me to feel the way I did about the meal, I would probably that Matt Lightner had taken a detour from the Aduriz-esque cuisine that he excelled at while he was cooking at Castagna, in favor of a trip down the more Noma-esque,foraging lane. As a result I had not visited the restaurant since June of 2012. But word on the street was that Lightner’s cuisine was moving back in the other direction, so I booked...
Continue reading about 'Summertime 2014 Catchup - Atera; Birch; Castagna; Hugo’s; Le...'

09/30/2014 | Comments (1)

August 30, 2014

With Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, the Amalfi Coast, Rome and Paris now in the rear view mirror, I had finally arrived at the final week of the infamous birthday trip. And after enjoying so many meals in unique locations, it was back to travel as usual for the final week. That meant moving around Europe from city to city on a daily basis. So I bid adieu to my family and I got in a taxi headed for Orly Airport where the plan was to board a plane to Barcelona.

A second visit to a restaurant is atypical for me

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08/30/2014 | Add a Comment