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Ria 2010-03-20

by foodbitch 20. March 2010 20:53

The difference between the witchdoctor/rainmaker of eon past and the urban hipster of modern day is the former knew he was full of scat. How many otherwise intelligent people do you know that honestly believe they start trends and influence fashions? Although Ria never will, here’s to hoping that they do.

You’re common people. No one hides in bushes to document the minutia of your life. No one splashes it on the cover of supermarket tabloids. And no suburban housewife will ever ravage yours to fill the clichéd vacuum of hers. Except for a very few, no one really cares about what you say or do, or how you say or do it. Not even your 1000 Facebook friends. No matter the scope of your trendy genius, you simply lack a sufficient microphone to inflict any sort of influence upon the world. And not just you. Had Max Planck tossed aside a certain crazy manuscript, Einstein may have died a lowly patent clerk. Had a dead monk’s genetic studies remained lost, both Darwin’s and Mendel’s names would have likely been forgotten. It is not until someone influential takes up a cause, a thought or a style that the world gives a flying flock. Unfortunately, with the tiny numbers coming through Elysian’s doors, it is exceedingly likely that their skills will go unnoticed.

That’s a shame. Several things make Ria 4-star material. And several others ding it but these are hotel-related and not the restaurant’s fault. First, there is the service. “Excellent” does not do it justice. Ours this evening was above/beyond anything that we expected. Beyond anything this close to Rush Street. Attentive but not burdensome, conversational but not preachy, humorous but not clowning. Tru-caliber holding the theatrics. Why does so much 4-star dining think that waiters should project elitism? The diners of today want the mood of fun, not funeral.

The food. The consommé was one of the best soups I’ve ever had and for someone almost as passionate about the hot liquid course as the alcoholic one, this remark can carry weight. The special was the Guinea hen. Amazing that something can sound so tame yet unleash a torrent of delight that parallels your first illegal high. It was $40. For a bird. But I can’t describe how worth it. Worth its weight in Epoisses. Speaking of: due to drastic under-serving I stopped ordering cheese courses. I might start again. Comté was the cheese this evening and glorious was its portion. I’m not a fan of Comté but there was too much left over and that whole saying about pizza and sex applies. Besides, Brillat-Savarin said that a meal without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye.

In closing, where on Rush Street can you still get a martini for $10? Where can you get a free round because there wasn’t enough for two glasses? Where is good wine not marked-up 5x? You’d never think it looking at the menu but Ria is affordable if you order well. Yeah, $38 for halibut and $15 for soup seems high but both would have been far more at Everest with far less fun. My great regret is that the restaurant was empty. On Saturday. Unlike genetics papers, menus don’t get prized post mortem. Instead of proper credit as the source of really good ideas, Ria may forever be the hipster who “started” skinny jeans. Or the Asian high-school kid who added to our lexicon. Or the butterfly that flapped its wings and caused the Bangladesh monsoon. Whatever, as long as it’s a monsoon of consommé.






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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: mealschpeal@gmail.com.

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