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Literally the Restaurant of My Dreams

November 17, 2015

Every now and again, I give readers a peek under the hood of the blog.

This is a project that started out over six years ago, and has become a daily habit. But most of the writing happens late at night, after everyone is in bed, and the world is asleep. It’s not that I’m an insomniac. I actually really enjoy sleep. It’s just that I’ve always found writing to be more productive when all of the distractions of life are stripped away.

That said, I’ve always been a night owl. Before the blog, I used to stay up way too late playing video games. I’ve spent more time on Halo 2 than I would care to mention. But in my defense, it was a great way for me to stay in touch with my friends back in California in those first challenging years after the move to New York.

I mention all of this, because last night I did something differently. I actually went to bed early. Occasionally, the lack of sleep catches up with me and leaves me completely exhausted. So I retired without writing a blog post.

The FLB may be interesting for people to read. But I write it largely to help get all of these thoughts about food out of my head. So perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that after falling asleep without writing a post, my subconscious would dream about food.

Really, the dream was about a restaurant. I suppose it’s not unsurprising that the restaurant of my dreams isn’t particularly a good one. Many of the details are a bit fuzzy, and I’m keenly aware that people recalling their own dreams isn’t all that interesting, so I’ll just give you the highlights.

Mrs. Fussy and I were going out for a nice dinner. The place seemed more like the big city, just given the size of the crowds and the closeness of the quarters.

As we were brought to our table, we walked through a narrow curved corridor, where we passed a narrow table set for two, pushed up against the right wall. The table was empty, and I thought to myself, “I’m glad that’s not our table.” Whoever was sat there would be jostled throughout the entire meal, as people walked to and fro past the table.

The corridor was interesting at least, because it meant diners couldn’t see into the dining room, until they were brought to the table. It reminded me a bit of Postrio in San Francisco, minus the grand staircase.

Our table may have been even worse, as we were seated at the same table with another couple who were already into their meal. Communal tables are fine, however it helps when you are expecting them. But we made the best of the situation, and started to look over the menu and the wine list.

At first I thought the wine list was reasonable, seeing wines listed in the $20 to $30 range. Until I went further down the list and saw a wine listed for closer to $10. Then I realized this was the list of wines available by the glass. The wine bottle list was quite expensive, and I don’t recall seeing anything for under three digits.

Without a doubt, the best part of this experience was the waitress. She was extraordinarily patient and charming.

Why patient? Well, because the menus seemed to just keep on coming. There was the main menu. There was a special sandwich menu. There was a breakfast all day menu. And attached to one of the menus, there was a long ribbon on which was printed the mega-course chef’s tasting menu.

It was a lot to consider.

Naturally, I wanted to try the chef’s tasting menu, even though at $200 it was more than I had intended to spend that evening. Although I would have to convince Mrs. Fussy. And since everyone at the table had to order it, I was concerned I might not be able to convince our dining companions to my left.

With so many menus, the experience at this restaurant could actually be customized to provide absolutely any kind of restaurant experience a diner could want.

Coming out of the dream, I’m thinking about how restaurants can be mapped out on a grid. The x-axis is the cost, from the least expensive on the left to the most expensive on the right. The y-axis is the food, from the least adventurous on the bottom to the most adventurous on the top.

No quadrant of the grid is inherently superior to the others. In each there can be good restaurants and bad restaurants. Places like The Bears Steakhouse are expensive with unadventurous menu items, but that’s towards the top of my list of places I really want to visit.

Unlike the restaurant of my literal dreams, no actual restaurant should try to be all things to all people. It’s a recipe for failure. Restaurant owners should always remember what their restaurant is all about, and try to be the best at what they do.

And hire great service staff. Because when the shit hits the fan, a good server can save the day.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2015 11:37 am

    Postrio! I am sure it was a fine place for omnivores but I used to poke fun at them for serving vegans only wild mushroom risotto. Every darn time over a two or three year period. Then my client would pick a new favorite restaurant and, lo and behold, the dish would turn up there as the only vegan offering. I was glad when, after about ten years, San Francisco’s chefs seem to have lost the recipe. Now it has turned up on the east coast. I can’t remember where it was. I hope chefs here aren’t tempted. I’ve had enough for two lifetimes!

  2. November 17, 2015 6:34 pm

    Go to The Bears. It’s an experience. Talk to somebody who has been before you go though. I have a feeling you might be disappointed… It is really not that expensive. Probably about 75 bucks a person if you aren’t drinking heavy.

  3. November 17, 2015 10:59 pm

    I need to get to the Bears. Has been on my bucket list ever since I arrived in these parts but nobody in my family has the slightest interest in a slog to a meat-besotted destination. You should put together an impromptu Tour de Chateaubriand a la Ours.

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