Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fine Is the Enemy of Everything

Cooper and I - obviously - go out to dinner a lot. We eat at at least one new place a week, sometimes more. We also go back to some of our old favorites on a regular basis (heeeey, Petit Louis).

Before we were reviewing in earnest, the job "restaurant critic" sounded impossibly glamorous. It is an awesome job - don't get me wrong - but the reality is that when you visit about 60 restaurants a year, most of your meals are not out of this world good.

Most of them are fine. They're OK. They're not bad. They're decent. Maybe they even have one really good element. But overall, they're just...fine.

Fine is a good thing. When most people go out to dinner, they don't pick apart every little element of the meal, like we do. Fine is more than enough for a perfectly pleasant, happy experience.

When we have a meal that's fine, we leave in a perfectly decent mood. We feel fine.

But then, every once in a while, we have a dinner that's incredible. It puts us in an amazing mood. We can't stop thinking or talking about the food.

That is what happened a few weeks ago at Moonshine Tavern (my review is here).

The service was spot on. The drinks were killer. The food was creative and delicious. There were no missteps. Everything was so good we didn't even want to leave.

The unfortunate side effect of a meal that good is that it's a reminder that dinner can be so much more than fine. It can be great - even when it's casual food. So then I think, well, it should be great. Why is this just fine? Why isn't it better?

The answer, of course, is that it's not better because it can be "fine" and people will still come. They'll still enjoy.

But wow do I wish that everyone could just be great.

(Side note: Go to Moonshine! Make them successful! Order an extra chicken BLT to take home for lunch the next day - you won't regret it!)


theminx said...

Be thankful it's only 60 restaurants a year. Tom Sietsema has often said that he eats out three meals per day every day! I think that would kill me.

Kit Pollard said...

Me, too. I remember Elizabeth Large writing, at some point, about how much she loved to just cook at home - because she never got to. I'd miss it so much.

Sietsema must spend so much time in the car, too. That would also kill me.

Kwan said...

We went to moonshine Saturday night because of this post and your review. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my (albeit high) expectations. Service pretty much sucked which Chad the manager blamed on being swamped by the glowing review and an upstairs private party. We will give it another try on a weeknight. I really want to like this place!

Kit Pollard said...

Oh no! I am so sorry to hear that - I don't want to ruin a place! Chad was our waiter, too. I hope they get their legs back under them. We had such a great experience - I want it to be like that for everyone!


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