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Duchamp 2010-06-26

by foodbitch 26. June 2010 19:47

Duchamp was a mid-level disappointment. If not for the Yelp Prix Fixe pricing, it would have been a bitter one. The Duchamps of the world should take note that we are all sick of predatorily-priced mediocrity. That’s why its dining room was half-empty on a Saturday.

Great deals are to be had with the Yelp Prix Fixe menu. Like the genius of Miami Spice where one could sample a 4-star kitchen for $35 even though normal pricing would run 5x, Yelp went one step further and mandated $25 for a three-course meal. At Duchamp, said pricing bought you a small-plate (normally priced from 7.95 to 12.95), large plate (13.95-23.95) and a sampling of 3 deserts normally priced $8. Pretty decent. Price, that is. The quality of the meal was anything but. The only good that evening came in the form of white flatbread pizza which was different enough to be good, not great. The “deconstructed” tuna nicoise was unacceptably bland and used the cheapest cuts of the cheapest tuna (tail/ahi). 12 bucks for 4 razor-slices of that with whatever other reconstruction they dribbled on the plate was a giant miss.

The often-photographed Havarti cheeseburger looks pretty, thick and juicy. It very well might be. IF, that is, they didn’t fry it straight to the ninth circle of hell. I specifically ordered rare (rather than medium-rare) knowing that such thickness tends to overcook quite often. The waiter assured me that they know how to do medium-rare perfectly. I should have ordered raw because I was punished with a well-done patty. When something 2.5 inches thick is cooked through, it really really sucks. You and I know this. Why doesn’t the kitchen? Why not send it back? I was hungry and the waiter vanished. Not cool. But the cheese was good. Havarti always is. Is there a less healthy cheese that isn’t triple-cream? I hope not.

On to the final charge in what could be a multi-count indictment: alcohol. Done are the days of charging limbs for martinis. It is absolutely inexcusable. $12.25 is resort-pricing – not that of a mid-range restaurant. And the sly little trick you pulled in pricing was worthy of mention and warning to the unsuspecting. Kettle One costs $1 less than Belvedere on the Duchamp pricing scale. I ordered Kettle One. You were out of Kettle. You offered me Belvedere. I accepted. My first martini cost $11.25 as Kettle does. The next two cost 12.25 as Belvedere does. Not cool again. When a restaurant is out-of-stock the substitute needs to reflect the lowest price, not the highest. Especially when the price is already ridiculous.

Based on Saturday’s experience, Duchamp would be doing Bucktown a favor if, like the eponymous artist, it retired and did something scholarly instead. I hear “endgame” was a fun pursuit for dear Marcel. Duchamp Restaurant should start thinking of one.

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About the author

FB is the CTO of an entertainment company and, these days, writes much more in prose than he ever wrote in code. Which is a good thing. Because people expect quality from code. Meal me:

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