Sodikoff chutes, New Classics, a Yelp bachelor, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, October 4th, 2019
Let’s get to it…
First, Some Sad News – Via the Instagram account of The Restaurant at Meadowood on Wednesday: “We are saddened to share with you the heartbreaking news that one of our own was killed in a car accident this past Saturday. Cameron Thompson was a young cook and member of our restaurant family….. He was 26.”
The (New Classics) Lists – GQ’s Brett Martin is out with “an attempt at penance” this week, in the form of a list of great “middle aged” restaurants to make up for his many years spent chasing the new. “The list, presented chronologically below, begins with a restaurant just over 25 and ends with one that just turned 15.” Congrats to: Boulevard (SF, opened 1993); Il Buco (NYC, 1994); Himalaya (Houston, 1994); Gramercy Tavern (NYC, 1994); Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix, 1994); Cajun Claws (Abbeville, LA, 1996), Beans and Cornbread (Southfield, MI, 1997); Lucques (LA, 1998); Bouchon (Yountville, 1998); Prune (NYC, 1999); Restaurant Alma (Minneapolis, 1999); Diner (NYC, 1999); Herbsaint (Nola, 2000); Cafe Juanita (Kirkland, WA, 2000); Oleana (Cambridge, 2001); Hugo’s (Houston, 2002); FIG (Charleston, 2003); Avec (Chicago, 2003); Ha VL (Portland, OR, 2004); Frasca Food & Wine (Boulder, 2004); Momofuku Noodle Bar (NYC, 2004); and Rasika (DC, 2005).
Little chunks of history / memory alongside each, including guest writing from John Birdsall, Caroline Styne, Devra First, Bill Addison, Providence Cicero, Rick Nelson, Aaron Foley, Hugo Ortega and Donald Link. Worth your time.
The (Bar) Lists – 50 Best’s big bar list is out, and from 1-10 the top ten for 2019 are: Dante (NYC); Connaught Bar (London); Florería Atlántico (Buenos Aires); The NoMad (NYC); American Bar (London); The Clumsies (Athens); Attaboy (NYC); Atlas (Singapore); The Old Man (Hong Kong); and Licorería Limantour (Mexico City). Rounding out the American entries: Kattan Kitten (NYC, #14); The Dead Rabbit (NYC, #22); Employees Only (NYC, #26); and Trick Dog (SF, #42). Congrats if you made it! Maybe move to New York if you didn’t?
The Suits – In Chicago, “The owner of Au Cheval has sued home furnishing retail operator RH, formerly Restoration Hardware, claiming he was fired on the spot after telling the company he wanted to resign. Brendan Sodikoff claims he is owed $550,000 in severance pay plus 25,000 shares of stock options from RH, in a lawsuit filed with a U.S. district court yesterday. Sodikoff joined the company to help create the Three Arts Club Café, a posh Gold Coast eatery and showroom space with an indoor garden… Sodikoff, who also runs Chicago restaurant group Hogsalt Hospitality (Bavette's, Gilt Bar and the Doughnut Vault), said the demands of running both operations were ‘larger and more complex then (sic) ever and the demands are moving beyond my capacity.’" Details via Sarah Zimmerman in Crain’s, including a full pdf of the suit itself.
P.S. - Without my asking, RH mailed me a glossy, 16 lb, shrink-wrapped copy of Sodikoff’s contract, and in volume 11, page 342, there is indeed reference to a “Legally binding golden parachute that embraces the sculptural curves and understated glamor of gilded age gravitational resistance…”
The Suits too – “Because of [an unexplained] ‘pre-existing relationship’ with the Blaine Finley law firm in Washington, D.C.,” Maine’s own Portland Hunt + Alpine Club restaurant is now the plaintiff “suing a consortium of Atlantic salmon producers, alleging that the companies, most of them based overseas, engaged in price-fixing.” I don’t pretend to understand this suit yet, but if you’re in the seafood business, there’s some background in the Portland Press Herald via Edward Murphy.
The Media – Announced yesterday on Eater SF, a familiar face: “Luke Tsai is the new lead editor at Eater SF, effective immediately. Tsai formerly ran the food sections at San Francisco magazine and East Bay Express, where he also served as the food critic…. Tsai replaces former editor Ellen Fort… He joins reporter Becky Duffett and our incoming to-be-announced senior editor.”
The Critics – FYI, LA: The LAT’s Patricia Escárcega says on Twitter, “I had a baby girl this summer. Her name is Sofía. I love her so much that I get teary just thinking about her. I want to thank everyone who sent me emails & DM's over the summer asking why I wasn't publishing restaurant reviews. It means so much! Anyway, I am back at work now.” Congrats! First review in the Sofía era: Chinito’s Tacos in Lakewood.
Michelin Season – The Great Britain and Ireland bibs are being announced on Twitter right now, just a little too late for this edition of Family Meal. If you want to play the prediction game, Eater London’s Adam Coughlan says “the bookmaker Ladbrokes has revealed to Eater the odds on the London restaurants thought to be in the running for the 2019 guide.” They won’t actually take bets because some people obviously know the results already, but for example: Core by Clare Smyth is “priced at 5-4 for a third star.”
For Design Fans – Bear with me… No great restaurant photos here, but this Becky Duffett look back at SF’s Foreign Cinema over the years has some real choice pics of John Clark and Gayle Pirie rocking matching late 80s attire and showing off some spectacularly au courant home decor, including (you’re welcome) the iconic First Chair by Michele De Lucchi. Chuckle all you want, but I love this description from the Dallas Museum of Art: “The distinctive look he gives to objects ensures that they become fashionable and then fall from favor quickly. De Lucchi believes that products will soon be ‘in’ for only one year or so, and therefore replacement will be at a faster pace. He is ‘a strong believer’ in consumerism because it ensures the success of technology and industry, as well as the constant need for more product designs.” Maybe that’s all just an easy out, but… Swoon. Unswoon. Repeat.
And last and least – The Daily Show went after Yelp this week, with familiar accusations of extortion from “cartoonishly Italian”(!) chef Davide Cerretini of the Bay Area’s Botto Bistro. To get Yelp’s side of the story, host Desi Lydic speaks with Yelp’s San Francisco Community Manager Ben Flajnik, who viewers may remember as The Bachelor from Season 16 of a show called The Bachelor. There’s a lot going on here, and you will appreciate the heroism of my refraining from comment…
And that’s it for today! Heading south for the week tomorrow, with three kids under five in tow. Please send chaos-friendly recs in Uluwatu if you have them!
I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or fashionably fleeting late 80s chair designs to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like Family Meal and want to keep it going, please chip in here. If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself