Little annoys a dining critic as much as being called a "food snob." Usually, this appellation is compounded with adjectives like "pretentious" and "arrogant." The usual employers of this terminology are the owners of restaurants that receive negative reviews.
A few years ago, I was introduced to someone who immediately blurted, "Oh, you're the pretentious asshole who gave my restaurant a bad review."
"As it happens," I said, "I just filed a positive update on your restaurant."
"Well, I'm glad you developed some taste," he replied.
"And I'm glad you got a new chef," I said.
Snobbery is not the only danger, in my opinion. A perhaps more insidious danger is reverse-snobbery, by which critics and foodies become excessively enamored of the mediocre, as if to prove that they are just regular folks with regular but somewhat adventurous palates. A recent example was the Wall Street Journal's report that Ann's Snack Bar serves the best burger in America. I love Ann's myself and have given her our Best of Atlanta award several times. And I'm happy to see Miss Ann collect buckets of cash from customers waiting an hour to eat in her tiny, inexpensive cafe.
That the Journal gave the award to Miss Ann's "ghetto burger" but actually described a different burger makes me think a bit of reverse snobbery was at play. Eating at Miss Ann's is very much about the working-class experience as much as the burger itself. The phrase "quintessentially American" echoes inside the head with every bite.
I find myself similarly seduced â almost. I love the fried chicken at Popeyes, but I certainly wouldn't call it the best in the city. Similarly, I love the Pot 'n' Pan (1865 Piedmont Ave., 404-874-0340) for breakfast on weekend mornings, but I wouldn't call it the best breakfast in town.
I always get the same thing there: two eggs scrambled with feta cheese, bacon, grits and a biscuit. It's yummy, but there's no question that a large part of the appeal is the crowd. Midtown boys who have been out all night mingle with young marrieds, drag queens, professional types, blue-collar workers, ad infinitum. Indeed, the staff itself is largely Asian. It's so, you know, democratic.
We pride ourselves on being a classless society, so many of us reflexively detest anything that smacks of elitism and we constantly look for something "real" or "authentic." Forrest Gump, a dumbed-down philistine with banal tastes, would be the ideal chef in the culture of reverse-snobbery.
But the banal isn't more "real" than the extraordinary. It's just safer. Indeed, its vaunted preservation reinforces class differences rather than transgressing them.
I'm not taking a stand here for a particular perspective, but I do think it's helpful for us to examine what animates taste. Reverse-snobbery is no more laudable, no less classist, than snobbery itself.
Not only that, but I don't see an address listed anywhere. And surely this can't…
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