I actually generally shy away from “traditional” restaurant reviews. I’m not entirely sure why but I’m quite certain that part of it is that I rarely find myself actually eating at places that are reviewed. To that end, I’m reasonably sure that I’ve never actually read a restaurant review from Frank Bruni, the now retired NY Times critic. Still, today his final column was published and i saw a couple references to it so I gave it a quick once-over.
I’m very happy I did, mostly for this one gem:
IS THERE ANY BEST, SAFEST WAY TO NAVIGATE A MENU?
Scratch off the appetizers and entrees that are most like dishes you’ve seen in many other restaurants, because they represent this one at its most dutiful, conservative and profit-minded. The chef’s heart isn’t in them.
Scratch off the dishes that look the most aggressively fanciful. The chef’s vanity — possibly too much of it — spawned these.
Then scratch off anything that mentions truffle oil.
Choose among the remaining dishes.
The only other bit that I would even consider adding to this list is that, in my experience, chefs are more willing to take risks and experiment with the appetizers than the mains. In an uncertain environment that can lead to many meals that are heavy on the apps for us, including one weekend in San Francisco where nary a main course was seen on our tables.
Now I just have to figure out how to effect such a plan in Seoul this Sunday.
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