Wednesday, February 20, 2013

OK, So Alan Richman and I Don't Exactly See Eye to Eye

I had to chuckle when I read Alan Richman's introductory comments to his 12 Best Restaurants of 2013 piece in Esquire GQ, for they almost completely and directly contradict the entire theme and thesis of the essay I wrote for the Charleston City Paper's Winter Dish issue, which I composed weeks before Richman's piece ran but just came out in the City Paper today.

It's almost like we were debating each other with back and forth salvos without even realizing it. In fact, here's a spliced together version of that debate:

Richman: "We yearn for restaurants that are like us: casual, kindhearted, original, and a little too loud."

Me: "'Hearty comfort food to warm the soul' is leaving mine rather cold."

Richman: "The setting doesn't have to be stylish, and the waiters can put on whatever they want, even the T-shirt they wore the night before [and it's fine with me]"

Me: "We're witnessing an ever-deepening slide into the casual corner with servers' attire and restaurant decor [and that's not a good thing] . . . . Khakis led to blue jeans, oxford shirts are giving way to T-shirts emblazoned with restaurant logos."

Richman: "Deviled eggs with domestic draft beer is the food-and-beverage pairing of 2013."

Me: "When did deviled eggs become fancy restaurant food? You can top them with all the house-smoked bacon and microgreens you want, but it doesn't make them any better than the stuff our moms used to make for picnics, funerals, and other auspicious occasions."

Richman: "Food is plated differently these days. Less often will you come upon meat, potato, and vegetable all together, neatly arranged, occupying the same plate."

Me: "I relish the carefully-composed plate, one that wows you with its visual beauty, then backs up the promise with stunning layers of intense, complex flavors in combinations that you never would have imagined possible."

At least we have this in common: we both think the Ordinary is great. Richman named it one of the 12 best in the country, and I was fulsome in my praise as well, for the same reason: the food's so damn good.


Mr. Sidetable said...

Don't you mean GQ instead of Esquire? I'm sure Richman wouldn't want to be confused with John Mariani.

Robert said...

Oops! You're are right. GQ it is.

Though, I don't exactly see eye to eye with John Mariani on everything either!

Mr. Sidetable said...

Not a bad thing. Although if you had more in common with him, maybe you'd get all your meals for free too.

Sheppy said...

I should send you the letter I wrote him, his editor, and The Style Guy (for good measure) after he singled out Husk in the previous year's article... Tony Bourdain was right; Alan Richman is a douchebag.

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