I don’t do restaurant reviews. That’s not my thing. There’s something maddening about people blogging about their experience, hurling superlative after superlative – “mind blowing”, “forward thinking and innovative”, “absolutely amazing”, etc. Actually I have two favorite overused quotations. One is a phrase like “completely unique”. The word ‘unique’ cannot have a modifier. Either it is unique or it is not. There are not grades of uniqueness. The other is “quite possibly the best meal I ever had”. I love how the word “possibly” is always used. Just a little hedge. You know, not to offend anyone else who’s cooked for you in the past. Your mother-in-law might be reading, after all.
Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas of Chicago’s Alinea, named the best restaurant in the country, dropped by Seattle last week to promote their new book Life, on the Line. Scott, aka Seattle Food Geek, was scheduled to do the interview but could not make it. I was asked to fill in for him. Due to my complete lack of experience and professionalism, a freewheeling conversation ensued, and we discussed everything from their book, hunting, and music to their newest projects about to launch in Chicago: a restaurant called Next, and its companion bar, Aviary.
Nick Kokonas: So, Jethro’s not a food writer, he’s subbing for a food writer.
Grant Achatz: Thank god.
NK: So you know what that means? Actual intelligent questions that we haven’t had.
So, any questions you don’t want to answer, just say “fuck you”, and whatever.
NK: You’re going to get like, twelve “fuck you’s”.
GA: Ah, come on…
NK to GA: By the way, I finally read that interview. Joe Satriani? That’s where you went with that?
GA: The guy can play guitar, man.
NK: Yeah, in ’84.