Ah, the Brits! This week in the Times UK, A.A. Gill ventures to New York to review Momofuku Milk Bar, DBGB, and the Breslin, and to pronounce upon the city itself. The restaurant reviewers from across the pond are known for their sharp fangs and blood lust, but this is a little ridiculous.
In the lede, we discover that Gill likes at least one thing about New York: the sky! Yes, even in a gray midwinter, he finds that our deep blue sky reminds him of the Virgin Mary. The niceties are short-lived, however, as Gill crowns New York the worst-dressed rich city in the world:
This is the only English-speaking city where a grown-up can wear a T-shirt that says “F*** you, you f***ing f***”, in the expectation that the passing nubility will find it amusing, sophisticated and erotic. This is also the only English-speaking city where they jolly well might.
This is perhaps a misunderstanding of those T-shirts sold in Chinatown that only tourists buy. No, New Yorkers are not impressed with tops printed with “You say I’m a bitch like it’s a bad thing,” and “Instant asshole, just add alcohol.” Nor do we find them sophisticated or erotic. You may hate the bushy Brooklyn beards, but please, give us some credit.
But on to the food:
And right now in New York, there is an infantile-regression recession. Not quite comfort-club grub, but there is an anti-sophisticate meatiness to everything. A chin-dribble finger suck.
Can’t really argue with that. Next, Gill assesses Momofuku Milk Bar, a Korean restaurant if there ever was one. Here’s how he sums up the Momofuku craze:
Momofuku is a small chain of related restaurants run by a Korean chef. Korean is this year’s must-have oriental.
Korean is this year’s must-have oriental! Lucky for David Chang, who grew up in DC.
Gill unleashes some blood lust on DBGB:
A deeply unpleasant black pudding that claimed affinity with the Basques, presumably after they’d blown someone up. A Vermont sausage with cheese that was like eating an infected toe.
But actually, it’s not so bad. It’s just “an attractively well-intentioned mess.”
On to the Breslin, which Gill actually likes. On the subject of chef April Bloomfield:
She is one of the most excessively edible chefs in the city, and is originally from the Midlands. So the food has that familiar smell.
And we’re left to ponder that familiar smell — along with the notion that the restaurant is “packed with regular Joes talking with their mouths full and their heads empty.”