Five Reasons Tasting Menus Are a Dining Scourge
|Flickr user dalbera|
|Not a restaurant (though there's a good one inside).|
The fancier the restaurant, the more likely it is that they'll be full of people who are determined to have a really intense experience from their favorite chef. Once relegated to the table in the kitchen, these folks have now spread like mint throughout the restaurant. In the fanciest places, it can be hushed, like a museum (or its -eum cousin, a mausoleum). God forbid you should interrupt their experience with anything like normal human conversation or laughter; they'll turn amusing shades of red and splutter about the death of decorum on websites like Yelp and Chowhound.
4. They're contributing to the demise of the three-course dinner.
The three-course dinner has a long precedent in our culinary history; like it or lump it, much of the fine dining we do is modeled on the French meal. But between the tasting menu and the culinary cancer of "small plates", the appetizer-main-dessert model is quickly falling away, which is a shame: it's easier to moderate your consumption that way, and it leads to awkward dinner parties where would-be chefs try to make a dozen dishes in a home kitchen.
5. They take twice as long as a normal dinner.
I can appreciate a long, pleasurable sojourn at the table as much as anyone, but it must be timed well, and even the sturdiest butts begin to ache after three or more hours in the same chair. There may be hope: I went to a four-hour dinner in New York City once where there were activities interspersed with the courses, both to give the kitchen some slack and to provide some ass relief for the diners.