The success rate of new plays, movies and TV shows about restaurants is nearly as steep as new restaurants themselves. It's a puzzle why we don't see more of them: Restaurants make such inherently dramatic places, full of passionate workers and sensual pleasures. The trick is to balance the humor and seriousness.
Unfortunately, the TV comedy "Kitchen Confidential" leaves its viewers feeling stranded on a perpetual wait list. The stage play Fully Committed at Marietta's Theatre in the Square, on the other hand, serves up a genuine insider's perspective.
Anthony Bourdain's original memoir Kitchen Confidential proved a page-turner not just for his restaurant industry "exposés" like don't order fish on Mondays, but for doing justice to the outsized personality of star chefs. Fox's "Kitchen Confidential," airing Mondays at 8:30 p.m., tries to duplicate the book's swaggering attitude but doesn't really get it.
Created by "Sex and the City" executive producer Darren Star, the sitcom depicts Jack Bourdain (Bradley Cooper) as a brilliant cook and recovering drug addict working as the head chef of a chi-chi New York eatery called Nolita. Star tries to do for haute cuisine what his earlier show did for New York's unmarried fashionistas.
"Kitchen Confidential" plays fast but glib, relying on drab put-downs like, "You put the 'ho' in hostess!" and frenzied, farcical plot points, like the severed fingertip that lands in a food critic's dish. The most authentic moments feel like accidents, like a montage of chefs working the line and servers putting food on tables, with techno music playing underneath. Mostly, you watch "Kitchen Confidential" feeling like the show itself is working harder than the characters.
You get a much funnier -- and more credible -- snapshot of the underbelly of New York dining in Fully Committed, playing at Theatre in the Square through Nov. 13. Becky Mode's comedic one-man show depicts an infernal day in the life of Sam (Bill Murphey), who mans the reservation line of Manhattan's latest four-star destination.
Sam remains literally beneath the restaurant's glitzy environment, laboring in isolation inside a dingy basement office. Via the reservation line and the "red phone" to the celebrity chef/owner, Sam negotiates with dozens of difficult personalities, all played with virtuoso deftness by Murphey.
Named for a restaurant euphemism for being "all booked up," Fully Committed can feel a little too much like the playwright's job-from-hell bitch-session (Sam works as a struggling actor in his spare time). But it pointedly captures the feeding frenzy that surrounds the latest status-symbol nightspot, and how getting a table can bring out the worst in the glitterati. In the play, Naomi Campbell's personal assistant, arranging for a party of supermodels, micromanages everything down to the wattage of the light bulbs nearest to their table. In conveying some of the unappetizing realities of restaurant culture, Fully Committed sells the steak, not the sizzle.
I'll second the comment on the gnudi. It was outstanding. Love the wine list, too…
Hey Bliss, you provide the prices for everything but the ramen.
Chateau de Saigon has a 10 page menu.
Andrew is my cousin & I am so happy for him & proud of him…
He is a Jerk off