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gzhpcu
2009-Oct-21, 06:38 AM
Actually, I should have known better, the restaurant, after all, was called "Arte"....:sad:

So, our neighnors last night suggested we dine out at a new restaurant, and my wife, excitedly, said her girlfriends had been eulogizing it (another warning light should have lit...) and she was looking forward to trying it out.

So with my stomach rumbling in pleasant culinary anticipation, we parked in front of the restaurant. It looked more like a small temple than a restaurant, and as we entered with our friends, the atmosphere was hushed, not the usual loud rumbling noise of a good old trattoria, where mama is busily cooking the most decilious pasta plates.

The inside looked more like a cocktail lounge, with expensive abstract art hanging on the walls. "Look" gushed my neighbor's wife, "isn't that exquisite..." pointing sotto voce at a huge oil painting consisting of random blotches of color. "Oo, oo" I began to think.

We were ushered to table (the chairs were expensive,chic and very uncomfortable). Immediately two waiters floated up to our table, high priests of nouvelle cusine. "Rats, trapped..." I thought panicking realizing what was in store for me. (Yes, I was hungry)

They brought us huge menus, the size of a daily newspaper, with a flourish. The entries were all in French of course, and each entry was a paragraph long, and the prices astronomical.

Beginning to feel desperate (starvation is a horrible thing...), I searched for something substantial. We ordered. I asked for gnocchi (the least exotic item on the menu) and a tuna fish dish.

It was very silent in the restaurant. Next to us sat a couple, who hardly spoke to each other, sitting upright and stiffly (like embalming dummies). She had an elaborate Madame Pompadour wig, and he looked like something out of a Monty Python show. Good grief! No mama, here, no lusty good old Italian food...:cry:

The offered us a free taster: I needed a magnifying glass to see it, but the description of what it was lasted a full three minutes. My wife (who says she is on a diet, but doesn't need to be...), looked up at me with enthusiam, with a "gosh, isn't this great..." expression. I heard my stomach rumbling with protest at the sight of the microscopic starter.

The following plates were in the same vein: huge plates, "artistically" decorated, accompanied by the "oohs" and "aahs" of our wives. As I began to grumble, my wife gave me a warning glance, accompanied by a swift kick to my shins with her pointed high heeled shoes (which hurts darn it, so I decided to hold my peace...).

The tuna fish (instead of being a nice big steak-like piece) consisted of three postage stamp-sized pieces garnished with tiny herbs....

To add insult to injury, across the street, was a noisy Italian restaurant, where I could see people laughing and digging into enormous plates of pasta, fettucine, risotto e funghi and good old chianti (not some high priced, dusty bottle of french wine...).

The only thing which was not tiny was the bill: the two of us paid 250 dollars! Leaping Lizards!

I know only one thing: they will never catch me there again. Once home I raided the fridge, and made myself a nice salami sandwich...

Jens
2009-Oct-21, 06:46 AM
Sure, it's French, but there's an "i" missing from cuisine (in the title too). Maybe you left it out deliberately to show how little food they served. :)

mike alexander
2009-Oct-21, 07:17 AM
"Nouvelle cuisine" is French for "Waiter! There's NO FOOD on my plate!"

TheHalcyonYear
2009-Oct-21, 07:29 AM
Most restaurants have menus with the prices listed. In fact most restaurants post these menus at the front door so people can see the cuisine and the prices.

NorthernBoy
2009-Oct-21, 07:50 AM
I actually like this kind of restaurant sometimes. It's interesting to see what the chef can create that is interesting and new, taste combinations and textures that you'd not normally get.

The portions are small, but it's normal to have a high number of courses to compensate, with it being reasonably normal to have seven, eight, or even nine, plus something to cleanse the palate between each one.

I agree that the fact that it is so quiet in some is a bit strange; when my friends and I would go, it would generally be a fun night out, with plenty of talk and laughs, but some people seemed to want to treat it like it was a church. I suspect that a lot of these, though, had been saving up for what was a very unusual treat, and wanted just to concentrate on the food itself, savouring every bite. The waiters and owners themselves don't try to foster quiet, it was the other customers who chose to be like that.

gzhpcu
2009-Oct-21, 11:08 AM
Sure, it's French, but there's an "i" missing from cuisine (in the title too). Maybe you left it out deliberately to show how little food they served. :)
Yes, I know...:wall:

Just shows an underlying antipathy to French food....:sick:

gzhpcu
2009-Oct-21, 11:09 AM
Most restaurants have menus with the prices listed. In fact most restaurants post these menus at the front door so people can see the cuisine and the prices.
Not all of the "chic" restaurants here in Switzerland....:cry:

Buttercup
2009-Oct-21, 12:29 PM
It was very silent in the restaurant.

Seems no one else was enjoying it either. I wonder how long they'll stay in business...


Next to us sat a couple, who hardly spoke to each other, sitting upright and stiffly (like embalming dummies). She had an elaborate Madame Pompadour wig, and he looked like something out of a Monty Python show...

The offered us a free taster: I needed a magnifying glass to see it

:lol:

Yes, the over-rated is usually just that. :rolleyes: I don't have lots of experience with "high end" stuff, but usually something (most often a place) that's bragged up turns out to be a disappointment.

You paid good money to dine there, and it's a shame you walked away still hungry.


To add insult to injury, across the street, was a noisy Italian restaurant, where I could see people laughing and digging into enormous plates of pasta, fettucine, risotto e funghi

Yes, that would be aggravating.

Fazor
2009-Oct-21, 02:34 PM
If it makes you feel any better, we went out and I got a large, greasy-to-perfection Philly steak sandwich, with fries, with soft pretzels with cheese dip as an appetizer.

Oh, and I paid about 15% what you did. ;)

I like fancy, gourmet foods; but too many places confuse that with "artsy" presentation and no substance.

Argos
2009-Oct-21, 04:45 PM
I know only one thing: they will never catch me there again. Once home I raided the fridge, and made myself a nice salami sandwich...

I said that to myself a couple of weeks ago in Paris, when their "Ravioli aux Cpes" consisted of five(!) pieces of ravioli accompanied by the same number of mushrooms, a microscopic branch of herb and some drops of a whipped topping. :rolleyes:

I love Italian portions.

gzhpcu
2009-Oct-21, 04:52 PM
And I forgot to mention, that being the eternal optimist, I ordered three balls of ice cream for desert. They were served, of course, on a huge plate and were grape-sized! :sad:

NorthernBoy
2009-Oct-21, 05:06 PM
I said that to myself a couple of weeks ago in Paris, when their "Ravioli aux Cpes" consisted of five(!) pieces of ravioli accompanied by the same number of mushrooms, a microscopic branch of herb and some drops of a whipped topping. :rolleyes:

I love Italian portions.

I was served a single one in a Gordon Ramsay restaurant a while back.

I debated with the waiter weather the menu ought to have said raviolus, as surely ravioli is plural, but I'm not sure that he really understood.

Argos
2009-Oct-21, 05:11 PM
I debated with the waiter weather the menu ought to have said raviolus, as surely ravioli is plural, but I'm not sure that he really understood.

Good one. :)

NEOWatcher
2009-Oct-21, 05:51 PM
...So, our neighnors last night suggested we dine out at a new restaurant...
Fruedian slip? Neener-neener...

I have a hard enough time with plain old specialty restaurants. I have too many relatives that can't get enough of Bonefish Grill. Not saying it's bad, but I sure can get enough of it.
Everytime I go there, I want to ask the wait staff to go next door to the Outback and get me a T-Bone.


...Leaping Lizards! ...
Around here, they tend to wink (http://www.winkinglizard.com/data/content/).

HenrikOlsen
2009-Oct-21, 09:09 PM
My preference in restaurants is those that serve all-you-can-eat spareribs followed by all-you-can-eat ice cream with coffee

Ilya
2009-Oct-22, 02:49 AM
I am convinced nouvelle cuisine was invented so that chefs could laugh at customers.

mike alexander
2009-Oct-22, 03:04 AM
A restaurant is not a church. Food will not give you salvation. Remember that, in twelve hours or less, where the food ends up.

danscope
2009-Oct-22, 04:20 AM
There's all kinds of french food. You didn't find Julia Child eating nouvelle
fool ya cousine in Paris or anywhere else in France. It is a caricature of food,
a bizare cartoon for people on a 43 calorie diet and a 23 calorie head.
Once you have enjoyed the real thing.... well, fool me once and I won't be back.
Don't participate.
Last night, we dined for four people at Chateu Moi .......4 ...2 lb lobsters,
2 pounds of steamers , 8 prawns, asparagas and new potatoes....\
with desert for $72. Wine was extra....$9 reiseling.
And we didn't work very hard at all. Really. With music.

Best regards,
Dan

Celestial Mechanic
2009-Oct-22, 05:32 AM
I had a similar experience with a tapas restaurant. My brother had a gift card for that restaurant, so that took a bit of the sting out of it, but we were still disappointed. There is a French restaurant within walking distance of my house. Maybe some day I'll try it. I just hope that they are more into the food than the presentation, if you get my drift. ;)

My suggestion to gzhpcu: next time you and your friends go out to dinner, go to that Italian restaurant across the street. I'm sure you'll all be happier there.

Also, your experience could have been worse -- at least the lights were on and nobody was eating forbidden birds under a cloth! :eek:

Jens
2009-Oct-22, 06:03 AM
Last night, we dined for four people at Chateu Moi .......4 ...2 lb lobsters,


Maybe the French spellchecker isn't working on this board. Chateau? :)

NorthernBoy
2009-Oct-22, 08:32 AM
It is a caricature of food,
a bizare cartoon for people on a 43 calorie diet and a 23 calorie head.

Hmm. That's one view. The other is that it can be the best chefs showing their invention.

It can be about enjoying the flavours, textures, and contrasts, and is always about the quality of ingredients.

I assume that the "23 calorie head" reference is supposed to insult the intelligence those of us who like it, which seems quite a strange thing to do on here.

gzhpcu
2009-Oct-22, 09:52 AM
My suggestion to gzhpcu: next time you and your friends go out to dinner, go to that Italian restaurant across the street. I'm sure you'll all be happier there.


You are preaching to the choir... living in Southern Switzerland, close to the Italian border, I mostly choose Italian restaurants (except for once a month when I have hamburger withdrawal and go to Burger King...). But it is "chic" down here to go to Nouvelle Cuisine restaurants. I will offer more resistance next time...:)

gzhpcu
2009-Oct-22, 09:53 AM
Maybe the French spellchecker isn't working on this board. Chateau? :)
Or we need a French version of Gillianren....:)

Daggerstab
2009-Oct-22, 12:53 PM
According to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Omens), the nouvelle cuisine has been invented by Famine, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. :) (He has also invented junk food and owns the "Burger Lord" chain. :) )

mahesh
2009-Oct-22, 02:00 PM
Actually, I should have known better, the restaurant, after all, was called "Arte"....:sad:

I knew it! I knew it!

I could smell that place from here, gzhp...avoid like the plague.
Even as I hit your second paragraph, its poseyness comes through in all its fragrance.

Just last night I was reading a review of exactly such a restaurant, open here, in Mayfair (one of the posey suburbs)...I thought you did write that article, for a moment. Although I think it would've been a few dollars more than your tab...but you get to feast your eyes on some "great paintings" and stuff on the walls...and don't mind the waiting staff (like yours), dripping with condescension...

It's like being stuck in total darkness with overcast skies :wall:

SolusLupus
2009-Oct-22, 03:46 PM
I am convinced nouvelle cuisine was invented so that chefs could laugh at customers.

So it's dadaist cuisine?

Dgennero
2009-Oct-22, 04:18 PM
I also had the experience of microscopic portions on oversized plates (which purportedly supply enough room for artistic arrangement), in an open air restaurant near the Munster in Strasbourg/Alsace. It was slightly better but not much in the French restaurant in the world village of Epcot center/FL.

Ever since, I avoid restaurants, no matter what the average price of their dishes is, that have:
- a menu completely in French
- white linen, folded napkins and a battery of sparkling glasses already on the table
- a maitre d' or a sommelier
- "reservations recommended"
- people wearing anything more formal than business casual
- anything on the menu announcing "at" (German: "an") this-and this sauce.
The latter simply means that there will be a dime-sized dollop of this sauce/gravy leaning against the course.
No no, give me smothered in anytime!
And please, even IF the portions are bigger, it is *I* who knows best when to refill the plate, not some garcon who gives me just another little little bit from some silver bowl.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Oct-22, 04:38 PM
I'll just comment that my favorite all-you-can-eat spareribs followed by all-you-can-eat ice cream restaurant is "reservations recommended".
I'll also note that I do have to tell them to start frying the next pig when I get the servings, otherwise they'll wait until I finished them to ask if I want another.

hhEb09'1
2009-Oct-22, 05:00 PM
Philistines :)

The other night I had north carolina smoked rainbow trout with braised olives and pickled tomatoes, potato agnolotti, charred leek vin blanc, and it was awesome. Almost as good as the wyoming blackened trout with blackened potatoes and blackened corn on the cob and blackened toast I had last summer.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Oct-22, 05:38 PM
I'm guessing your trout came in slightly more than pea size and with more than half a potatoe.

hhEb09'1
2009-Oct-22, 05:45 PM
It more than filled a 12" skillet, part of the reason it was blackened... :)

gzhpcu
2009-Oct-22, 05:48 PM
I'm guessing your trout came in slightly more than pea size and with more than half a potatoe.
How 'orrible e barbaric! Zat es terribly gauche! C'est pas artistique!

danscope
2009-Oct-22, 06:01 PM
Hmm. That's one view. The other is that it can be the best chefs showing their invention.

It can be about enjoying the flavours, textures, and contrasts, and is always about the quality of ingredients.

I assume that the "23 calorie head" reference is supposed to insult the intelligence those of us who like it, which seems quite a strange thing to do on here.

Hi, No , it is more about sitting down to a $100 dinner and getting three shrimp. I know someone who had that experience.
I can tell you that Emeril doesn't work like that. He knows how to build a plate.
If you want to make an appetizer, fine. It's supposed to be smallish.
But when dinner arrives, you shouldn't have to say....
"Where's the Rest of my dinner".

danscope
2009-Oct-22, 06:06 PM
Maybe the French spellchecker isn't working on this board. Chateau? :)

Hi, I am going to use spell checker! I will. It is a good thing. My spelling or typos are oftentimes wanting. :)
Dan

NEOWatcher
2009-Oct-22, 06:12 PM
I assume that the "23 calorie head" reference is supposed to insult the intelligence those of us who like it, which seems quite a strange thing to do on here.
I think the two of you are just speaking of different experiences because I can relate to both.

Note that the OP only got a plate of morsals, you mention the experience as having a "high number of courses".

Two completely different things.

tlbs101
2009-Oct-22, 06:20 PM
My new lady friend has gotten me to try a variety of restaurants in the city, that my wife (RIP) would have never even considered.

About a month ago we went to La Provance and I fully expected the large plates with the microscopic portions, but the portions were plate-filling and very satisfying. I even splurged on a bottle of wine that was equal to the cost of both meals and it was outstanding. I had never eaten escargo and I probably never will, again. We have plans for eating there this weekend.

That was a month ago. Last weekend we tried yet another resturant neither of us had been to, Boca di Beppo immigrant style Italian. The place was crowded, noisy, and food was served family style -- large bowls of pasta with generous entrees on large plates. I had never had meat balls as large as meat loafs. This is one restaurant that I will be going back to again, and again.


Quote from Danscope: "...I can tell you that Emeril doesn't work like that. He knows how to build a plate ..."

15 years ago wife(RIP) and I ate at NoLa; an Emeril restaurant in New Orleans. Some of the flavors were a bit, 'out there', but the portions were, indeed, huge.

.

danscope
2009-Oct-22, 08:34 PM
Yes..... if you follow some recipies, you may be well advised to back off on
the amounts of 'essence' sometimes reccomended. You have to taste as you cook. Experience throughout a lifetime gives you a better idea of how to season the many recipies you will encounter with each and every cook you
find. As in all things, you have to develope and use 'Horse sense'.
That Jamacian jerked chicken that calls for 3/4 cup of ground pepper could use some adjustment! :) (Definitely not Emeril's) . I experienced this somewhere... way way way too much. The cook must smoke parodis.
Best regards,
Dan

Jens
2009-Oct-23, 02:28 AM
I would prefer to make some distinction between the atmosphere and the size of the portions. I also dislike the atmosphere in some nouvelle cuisine places, but I don't really mind the small portions. I think that if more people ate that way, there would be fewer problems with diabetes and stuff like that in the US and many other countries. . .

gzhpcu
2009-Oct-23, 05:41 AM
I would prefer to make some distinction between the atmosphere and the size of the portions. I also dislike the atmosphere in some nouvelle cuisine places, but I don't really mind the small portions. I think that if more people ate that way, there would be fewer problems with diabetes and stuff like that in the US and many other countries. . .
The problem, however, is that the while the portions are very small, the prices are very big...

I think the answer is to give them a very small tip, and tell them it is a "nouvelle" tip....:)

NorthernBoy
2009-Oct-23, 06:30 AM
Hi, No , it is more about sitting down to a $100 dinner and getting three shrimp.

It still doesn't mean that the diner is an idiot, though.

Well, maybe they were a bit foolish for going to a restaurant where they could apparently only afford one course from a nine course menu if the above is to be believed, but that was not what the rest of us seemed to be discussing.

You might prefer a meal that gives you 6,000 calories for $20, but that doesn't mean that a person is an idiot who chooses to go in another direction.

I've enjoyed some meals out where, as I mentioned above, one course was a single ravioli, but tha does not, I hope, make me an idiot, but rather, just someone with different tastes to me.

It is a bit as though I were being told that I must be stupid for having a bottle of a very good Pauillac instead of a half a crate of coors.

NorthernBoy
2009-Oct-23, 06:36 AM
The problem, however, is that the while the portions are very small, the prices are very big...

I know what you mean. I picked up a piece of art the other day that was barely six inches on a side, but it cost much more than a big poster that I saw on the way home, with a picture of some kittens in shoes.

It gets worse. I had a little yellow lotus sports car a while back, but then realised that I could have had a pickup for less money, and the pickup would have weighed about three times as much. Three times!

I realise now that the value of an object is all related to quantity, though, so I'll stop making these silly mistakes!

gzhpcu
2009-Oct-23, 06:38 AM
It is a bit as though I were being told that I must be stupid for having a bottle of a very good Pauillac instead of a half a crate of coors.
Certainly, one pays for a good bottle. But that is not nouvelle cuisine.

My gripe is what you get for what you pay in those places. If the portions were just a bit bigger, it would help. Why serve three small cubes (the size of dice) of tuna instead of a normal slice of tuna, for example? They can save the decorations (which are often not edible) and the miniscule tiny sauces (the stomach has more difficulty digesting a diversity of spices and sauces). And why the enormous dishes? Just a rip-off to distract you from the fact you are getting a homeopathic meal...:cry:

HenrikOlsen
2009-Oct-23, 06:53 AM
It is a bit as though I were being told that I must be stupid for having a bottle of a very good Pauillac instead of a half a crate of coors.
Actually, it would be more like calling you stupid for having a thimbleful of a very good Pauillac and paying twice the prize of a whole bottle for the privilege because the thimble is specially shaped.

NorthernBoy
2009-Oct-23, 07:36 AM
And why the enormous dishes? Just a rip-off to distract you from the fact you are getting a homeopathic meal...:cry:

I've only once left a high-end restaurant hungry, from Per Se, in New York, and given the number of times I've eaten at places like this, that could just be an abberation.

All of the other times, I've left pleasantly full.

I do wonder if people who are not happy with the sizes of portions were expecting that, for the cost, they should be leaving feeling absolutely stuffed, as seems to be the aim in many US restaurants nowadays, with meals providing three or even four thousand calories.

If so, then they've missed the point, I think. Good dining, for lots of us, is not about eating what we'd see as too much. You are probably still getting well over a thousand calories in a meal in a restaurant serving haute cuisine, which is, frankly, plenty to be consumed in one sitting.

NorthernBoy
2009-Oct-23, 07:38 AM
Actually, it would be more like calling you stupid for having a thimbleful of a very good Pauillac and paying twice the prize of a whole bottle for the privilege because the thimble is specially shaped.

It would still be insulting, and wrong, though.

If you are not comfortable with the costs, and with the product, then that is your choice, but calling me stupid for having different tastes to you is quite ridiculous.

Ivan Viehoff
2009-Oct-23, 10:03 AM
Many years ago I did a project related to the operation of ferries in western Scotland, and we had to visit Oban (pop 8,000), the main ferry port and a popular tourist centre in the scantily populated west highlands of Scotland.

The chief ferry captain took us out to lunch at what he described as the "best restaurant in Oban". It became apparent that what he meant was "the restaurant that serves the largest portions in the Oban". The captain must have been about 300lb. Personally I think there is a comfortable amount of food to eat, and more does not improve it. To me, a huge steak is an affront, not a treat.

The previous evening we had dined at another restaurant, a little out of town, which smoked its own wild-caught salmon, among other culinary treats of a genuinely special nature. The portions were not small like nouvelle cuisine, but I think they would have fallen well short of satisfying the captain. It remains one of the culinary highlights of my life.

Each to his own.

Eating out in Switzerland is very expensive, so in my several visits I can only remember about 3 meals out. If I remember correctly, they all included a lot of cheese. I love Swiss cheese. (Which in Europe means "cheese made in Switzerland": it is far better than the imitations made elsewhere.) But I can imagine that if you live there you might from time to time want to eat something other than cheese.

gzhpcu
2009-Oct-23, 11:18 AM
I've only once left a high-end restaurant hungry, from Per Se, in New York, and given the number of times I've eaten at places like this, that could just be an abberation.

All of the other times, I've left pleasantly full.

I do wonder if people who are not happy with the sizes of portions were expecting that, for the cost, they should be leaving feeling absolutely stuffed, as seems to be the aim in many US restaurants nowadays, with meals providing three or even four thousand calories.

If so, then they've missed the point, I think. Good dining, for lots of us, is not about eating what we'd see as too much. You are probably still getting well over a thousand calories in a meal in a restaurant serving haute cuisine, which is, frankly, plenty to be consumed in one sitting.
I am well acquainted with the enormous portions served in many restaurants in New York. I was once invited to a business lunch there at Wolinsky's steakhouse. I never saw such huge steaks, and I just managed to eat a third. This is the other extreme of the spectrum.

Other restaurants in the NY area also served much larger portions than I could possibly eat. Over here, near the Italian border, the portions, I find are just right. This particular nouvelle cuisine restaurant called "Arte" is a joke.

NorthernBoy
2009-Oct-23, 11:23 AM
Other restaurants in the NY area also served much larger portions than I could possibly eat. Over here, near the Italian border, the portions, I find are just right. This particular nouvelle cuisine restaurant called "Arte" is a joke.

Even when I know what to expect, the portion sizes in the US still catch me out.
Frankly, I'm surprised, given what's viewed as "normal" there, that they don't have something of an obesity problem because of it...

Ilya
2009-Oct-23, 12:19 PM
So it's dadaist cuisine?
That occurred to me, yes.

NEOWatcher
2009-Oct-23, 05:02 PM
If you are not comfortable with the costs, and with the product, then that is your choice, but calling me stupid for having different tastes to you is quite ridiculous.
I agree, but I could stretch that to "inconsiderate" if you didn't keep that in mind for your co-diners and thier expectations.



Other restaurants in the NY area also served much larger portions than I could possibly eat. Over here, near the Italian border, the portions, I find are just right. This particular nouvelle cuisine restaurant called "Arte" is a joke.
I wonder if it's just impression. Around here, there's usually a shrink in portion size before the restaurant goes under.

I know lots of people that equate small portions with "uh-oh, the restaurant's in trouble".

danscope
2009-Oct-23, 07:35 PM
Yes, we have seen the presipitous " portion shrink" when a restaurant is in trouble. Then, if they luckily get their liquor license,
the food majicly gets so much better. Hmmm...
Typicaly, if you order a steak around here, it is about $13.95 and around 10 OZ. A special, which suits me is a 6 OZ. at $9.
A 1 1/2 oz portion I suppose is what it is. Around here, that restaurant will be a flash in the pan. More popular in Hollywood or NY, I suppose.
And we catch tuna here in RI. A nice 6 oz tuna steak lightly broiled makes a fine dinner! And if someone gets a dice cube, they'll say..
"Where's the rest of my tuna?"
Sushi is a whole different game. An artisan is preparing a really nice thing for you. :)
Short penciling the customer around here is bad business and leads to empty chairs and a sign......"re-opening soon under new management".
Best regards,
Dan