Archive for September, 2009

The Sportsman (Seasalter, UK) – Give a Man A Few Miles

If someone were to tell you there was a pub, sitting on the mouth of the Thames, with a self-taught chef, serving some of the best food in England (if not Europe), you might respond you’ve heard this song and dance before. Media empires, both large and small, have been made out of trafficking these self-proclaimed hidden gems. Foodies (yes, it’s a terrible word) use them as a social currency to trade and barter; but they often only buy disappointment. So bear with this story when I say, after one visit, The Sportsman, a pub in the middle of nowhere, might be “one of my favorite restaurants in the world.”

Carrots (from the garden)

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Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark) – A Touch More Focus

Noma was emblamatic of its origins – wild, flowering, bountiful, and rustic – at times, it seemed as if the forest floor had invaded the restaurant. Geranium attempted to take those ideals and ‘civilize’ them – edit and refine – into a more minimalist haute experience. The aesthetics of the meal clearly share a common lineage with noma, and further help establish a Denmarkian identity of cooking. When it works, which is not always, Geranium’s food is among the most refined on the planet, as much so as any restaurant in France or Japan.

Unfortunately, the tasting menu was not a coherent arc – it skipped, jumped, and spurted – careful and focused dishes were followed by the sloppy and/or mundane. It never got into a rhythm, instead hopping from one dish to the next. Some dishes had a unified coherence while others felt rushed or typical. It had the potential to absolutely wow – to deliver a series of revelations not felt since my Pierre Gagnaire or El Poblet meals. But the menu ultimately felt like an exhibition of styles and techniques, instead of a story, or a work of art (to use a controversial term.)

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