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L2O - 2011-02-25

by foodbitch 8. April 2011 03:15


As you walk onto the Belden-Stratford, you notice there is something…not…quite…right. There’s a little too much noise over there…somewhere in the corner. Not anything that would have ever been permitted in the days of Ambria. Indeed, the ghosts of Lincoln Park West Past should haunt this place forever. Because it’s the best meal they’ll ever have.

And why wouldn’t it be? Have you some insider information? Well shut the front door. Riverdance survived the swan song (and dance) of Michael Flatley. James Bond spies onward with the rise and setting of 5 stars. And L2O is still, after its chef’s departure, the finest meal most of us will ever have. Ghosts included.

Rarely do the founders make the best businesspeople. It wasn’t the teacher-trio who started Starbucks that built a few stores into a global brand. It wasn’t the McDonald brothers, operational geniuses that they were, that created the foremost icon of America. Nor is a single firm that laid the final mile of DSL copper still in business. The best entrepreneurs very rarely make even adequate managers. The Gateses, Dells and Waltons are few and ever scarcer. And growth in the restaurant business is an exercise in the battle between the artists and accountants. The problem arises when the founder can’t scale up the creativity to accommodate the increase in demand. It is fine to insist that every item leaving kitchens is perfection on a plate but not when this makes for miserable chefs/staff/owners because the misery’s contagious – the customers can tell. We can tell. Trust us.

I would like to talk more about this dining evening the review of which is 2 months in the making. I simply haven’t the vocabulary. Those who know me know that this admission means something. I have vocabulary for most things but not this experience. And I can’t in good faith, hold up any more deserved reviews. All I can tell you is that this was, and still remains, the best meal of my 35 years. Rock-star chef’s departure non-withstanding. For those that must: we had the seasonal tasting menu. This consisted of 3 creatures of the sea, 1 overfed duck liver, a Korean something, a fungus and 2 desserts. And regarding those who may wish to inflict ridicule upon the creatures overfed, know this: all of earth’s biomass survives at our pleasure or consumption. Korea sucks but their food rocks. So do their movies. Anyway, did you just take a breath? 2/3 of the cells you aspirated were fungal and since you’re likely in America, you’re a fat mofo and could use 50% of the two desserts we had. Which were caramelized apple and a grand mariner soufflé. See? Even the Lincoln Parkies know how to feed their drunks to death. After this, despite our good intentions, we went home. Which takes some doing. We really didn’t need that 4th bottle of Sake with our meal but my date said we did and I’ve known her for a little while and would like to keep my head…

In that vein, my woman has never know the pleasure of an oyster. RAW. Until this day. Had there been no more b-day presents (like her paying the tab), I would have assumed this mine. Except, she hated it. She made seem like it was kicking and screaming its way down her gullet. Until I told her that they haven’t the skill of motion. I think I made out fairly well. Don’t you?

Then it was all my fault.


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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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