Understanding Alla Vita
You revel in the fear you once felt when entering revered dining rooms. You treasure the technical errors, faux pas, and outright mortification inflicted upon those who stewarded your earliest gastronomic experiences. For the true test of hospitality staff is how handle those agonizing moments with aplomb, resisting the temptation to twist the knife and solidify a bad memory. Graciousness, on such an occasion, comes close to godliness.
From the archives: An Exploration of Ethnic Identity and the Persistence of “Prairie” Cuisine
Ever promised the world and delivers first-time guests a pretty fine experience. And you think most visitors will leave the restaurant feeling satisfied by the novel food, polished service, and refined atmosphere. They’ll feel satisfied because the heightened expectations were just about met, but you’ve never felt those expectations were truly surpassed.
Hype is anathema to a cynic such as you. Yet some places fulfill–dare you say, surpass–expectations from the very start. Some places not only please, but they promise. They stand as a bastion of dynamic cookery and gracious service that is sure to elevate the expression of those arts across the entire city. They beg you not merely to check them once off of your bucket list, but affirm the splendor of those rare restaurants that embody a living organism.
While OAD’s survey-based rankings offer a valuable counterpoint to fine dining’s entrenched powers, the organization’s legitimization of social media self-aggrandizement represents the very peak of competitive conspicuous consumption. Chefs who cater to this globetrotting cabal do so to the detriment of their own communities, impeding the development of an inclusive, distinctive regional taste.
Diversity, the death of insight, and the necessity of playing nice.
With more and more restaurants embracing the world’s most popular culinary genre, it pays to know just which vision of “Italy” one will be exploring in a given dining room.