Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Steady Center of an Expanding Bruniverse

I was dissapointed with the logophilic stylings of our talented Mr. Bruni last week, so I'm relieved to note his return to unusually brazen verbosity today. Today he looks at Michelin fave Jean Georges (NYT, "The Steady Center of an Expanding Universe", 04/19/06), of which he approves with such masculine drive and sensuous delight, that he eventually seems to be describing what he would no doubt call a ménage e trois. So, without further ado, let's make a short story long with this week's review by the Count of Dining Out, Lord Bruni:

First, he notes the grave importance of how many stars Jean Georges will get this year, in his usual cool way:

These questions inform any visit to Jean Georges, and they have relevance beyond this one great restaurant and this one great chef, because his trajectory parallels those of so many culinary titans.
Then he expounds on the gossamer beauty of crab. Try to picture a sickly Lord Bruni in velvet robe, sitting on a balcony behind a balustrade, staring off at the horizon as one jaundiced hand strokes the signet ring on the other:
A crab beignet was a cascade of sensations...Mr. Vongerichten loves this sort of dance, in which one effect often defers so quickly to another that it seems like a memory almost as soon as it's experienced.
Then, slowly, unexpectedly, perversely, Bruni lifts his skirts to give us a sensual description of parsnip soup, which is "laced with chipotle, the heat of which slowly intensified in my mouth but then receded as I caught the tartness of Meyer lemon juice." The Meyer lemon's not the only tart caught in your mouth, you awful tease!

Next, Bruni gives us a peek at the “brilliant choreography behind a dish of Japanese snapper sashimi,” which tantalizes us with the “fleeting, teasing impression” of Thai chili. Shivers! And suddenly, Bruni is describing a zany intergalactic sci-fi tentacle orgy:
…Different dimensions held sway at different moments, the lemon syrup beneath the fish briefly taking control, the caramelized jalapeño in a wash of olive oil around the fish insisting on a turn, the caramelized porcini mushrooms and garlic in the oil ready to fill in any gaps.
Yipes! What an attentive arctic char! It’s almost – yes, I – oh my God – OH my GOD –

He jettisons thick sauces and embraces oils and broths…
…OH! MY! GOD! AHHHHHH!....whew. Woah. And afterglow:
…preferring them for their lightness and for the way they release their scents, like the perfume of lemon grass that rose from a bath of Asian herbs and seeds around a delicately baked lobster tartine.
Ah, my darling, says Bruni, stroking your hair: "Eating is seldom this absorbing…this bracing."

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a nice red and a cheese platter,


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