Opening menu development for Next.  Paris 1906.  Watch Grant Achatz and Dave Beran work on one possible dish for Next, via Next Restaurant.

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A year ago, I drove a couple hours south of Cleveland to a strip mall off Interstate 71 to film part of an episode of Bourdain’s “No Reservations” heartland episode, at a stellar Japanese restaurant called Kihachi (google map it, look at all the parking lots and new housing developments). During the meal Bourdain, I made an off-handed remark about how extraordinary to find a restaurant of this caliber in the heart of Applebee’s country.  That was it, that was all!  And it’s still how I still see it, namely that strip malls off interstates, miles from any actual metropolis, is, indeed, Applebee’s country. Regrettably, this episode of the show featured Columbus, Ohio, the state capital, home of OSU and the Buckeyes, and the good people of this heartland city, eager for the national spotlight Read On »

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For all the interest in food, chefs, and restaurants, the popularity of “Top Chef” and other shows depicting professional restaurant work, most poeple still have no clear conception of the unique, bizarre, intense, exhalted, depraved, mysterious human stew that restaurants are. Yesterday, New York Times writer Ron Lieber blogged about being kicked out of Marc Forgione’s New York City restaurant.  Disturbed by the chef’s protracted yelling at a member of the staff, he marched back to the kitchen to tell the chef what for. The upshot was that Mr. Lieber was asked to leave. (It’s a good post, read it.) Mr. Lieber asked for comment on the blog. Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton called attention to it on Twitter, to which I gave a loud guffaw at Mr. Lieber’s act.  He could have been dressed Read On »

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A visit to the Cheesecake Factory In Suburban Cleveland, or, How To Use a Fancy Pants Word Like “Insipid” Twice In a Two-Minute Video (insipid: 1. without flavor, tasteless 2. not exciting or interesting, dull; lifeless). A week or so ago I made fun of author and journalist Kelly Alexander after she wrote an article in praise of the Cheesecake Factory. She quickly issued a challenge by email: “OK, Ruhlman: A wager is in order, clearly. If you go to the Cheesecake Factory, taste that miso salmon, and after that can honestly tell me it doesn’t rock, I will not only pay for your salmon but will personally buy 15 copies of Ratio. If you go and eat it and then concede that it tastes good, you have to blog KELLY ALEXANDER IS RIGHT ABOUT Read On »

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