Robert Dentice wrote: Michel Abood wrote:
I had dinner last Friday at Racines, with the new chef Paul Liebrandt in the kitchen. I am happy to report that the food was bright and balanced and quite delicious. You could tell he is trying to impress and make his mark, and if this continues he will. I wish we had a place like that near me in San Diego (which has consistently disappointed me food-wise, for the most part).
Funny enough, my friend and I were remarking how much he cursed in the kitchen (we were sitting at the bar overlooking the action). A few days later this article came out: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/0 ... ial-staff/
He is an unbelievably talented chef. However he creates such a tense environment that it spills over into the dining room experience. Although I loved his food at Corton I stop going because the entire staff literally looked abused and were so unhappy it ruined the meal. I was hoping he had chilled a bit and the partnership with Arnaud, Pascaline and David would work well. It is being billed as a one month residency.
I feel your pain on San Diego one of the worst food cities in the U.S.
Chef was intense, but the kitchen seemed smooth and not that tense, though there were a few tense moments when he berated a sous. That said, the place was packed (granted, it was a Friday) and both Pascaline and Arnaud were running around for most of the evening. Food, as I mentioned, was outstanding, and very refreshing (as much as I liked Chef Duca as a person, his mains always suffered a little though his apps were pretty good).
In most places outside of NYC, the food scene has improved before the wine scene caught up (Portland, ME for example). In San Diego, it seems to be the exact opposite: when I moved here in July 2016, wine selections were boring, it's gotten so much more interesting, with a natural wine show, NatDiego, open to consumers (most of whom had shockingly smart questions) and tons of cool stuff on lists (in particular Augusto is doing great work at the Cucina group, where you can find lots of funky but fun stuff, and of course Vino Carta and The Rose and to a lesser extent Village Vino). If you want to cook at home (which we do a lot), you can source amazing stuff. But aside from a few well-known places that are mostly Asian (Ota, Ota's spawn like Himitsu, Menya Ramen, Bangkok Bay), it's pretty nondescript and boring. Tribute Pizza makes a good pie, but nothing like Ops in NYC which was the best of a Saturday Pizza Crawl we did on my last trip back (Ops beat Roberta's by a mile).
And don't get me started on pineapple on a pizza...