The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2017

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Forgive me, but I am embracing my inner fuddy-duddy. I realize we're in a period where "casual" is the opera- tive word to describe most everything we do and most everywhere we go. Things were more formal 50 years ago, especially in restaurants: Many places—and there still are a few—required gentlemen to wear a jacket and even a tie. The reason for this was to establish an ambience: an elegant atmosphere to let customers know they're in a place that takes itself and its aura seriously. Recently, for the second time, I dined at The Grill, which formerly housed the bar of the Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagram Building on Park Avenue in New York City. Toward the end of its previous incarna- tion, the spectacular, Philip Johnson–designed space was beginning to show its age, and had become a little dusty and tired. The new management, Major Food Group, is spear- headed by chefs Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi, who have already had a serious impact on the New York restaurant scene. They've spruced up the place so that it shines like new, and it's one of the most beautiful and dramatic venues in the country. Into this space, they have inserted waiters dressed in custom-made Tom Ford tuxedos serving exquisite rib roast from shiny $25,000 trolleys. The food is retro and quite majestic without being stuffy. The whole experience has a grandeur about it that is rare among today's restaurants. Here's where the fuddy-duddy kicks in: During both dinnertime visits, I was appalled by the way many of the customers were dressed. This is a place where the average dinner check is $150 a person, and yet there were people there not only missing jackets, but wearing white T-shirts. I'm sorry to come off like a prude, but going to a restaurant that has made an effort to be superior in every way while dressed like you're headed for the Golden Arches is downright disrespectful. It is disrespect- ful to the food, to the staff, to the chef—to the whole experience. I guess there are people who don't know any better. Isn't that sad? Anthony Dias Blue Dress Blues LETTER FROM THE EDITOR 4  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2017

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