Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Fangs of a Restaurant Critic

This is the kind of writing that makes The New Yorker such a pleasure to read. In the magazine's April 5 issue, there is a review of Le Caprice, a restaurant in the Pierre Hotel. The magazine's critic, Lila Byock, calls Le Caprice "a stuffy take on a sceney London institution." She continues:

As on "Made Men," however, meticulous appearances mask trouble; Lutece this is not.

While you're waiting to be seated, you may be tempted by one of those nostalgic cocktails. Don't be: they're as cloying as the Disney ballads tinkling out of the piano.

... On recent visits, [service] ranged from hostile to bumbling to non-existent. After checking in with the host, a diner was chased down by a suspicious employee who seemed to feel she didn't belong. A bartender recited, unmprompted, the ingredients of every cocktail on the menu, as if to prove he knew them.

A waiter, preoccupied with a former "Saved by the Bell" star at a nearby table, briefly materialized only to sweep away a third-full bottle of wine. When asked to leave it, he froze. "It's not a scam!" he protested. At these prices, one might beg to disagree.