Plein Sud Review: Wrong eggs at Plein Sud
It’s very rare that I get excited about going to a NYT zero-star restaurant. And with that, we get into the second post of Danny is a motherfucker week. Sam Sifton gave Plein Sud zero stars. The restaurant’s executive chef, Ed Cotton, is one of the finalists in this season’s Top Chef. The final episode of this season is September 15th. In the preview to the season finale, Bravo basically gave it away about who’s gonna win. Seriously. If Angelo is on his deathbed, and it’s down to Ed and Kevin… well, yea. So the odds of Ed winning TC is pretty damn good. But if you read eater and grub street, you’ll know who they think is the winner this season. With all of that said, I was still excited to try some Top Chef food because it would be my first time eating at a TC restaurant.
One of the joys of living during the smartphone revolution is that you can queue up a food review with just a few finger gestures. Or if you have a shitty winmo phone, a few stylus swipes. With no time at all I was sitting at the table, and annoying Steph by reading the review while I perused the menu. The only thing Sifty liked was the pasta with merguez. He said of that dish, “Pasta with fiery merguez, however, was perfect and welcome.” Indeed. Pasta that cost $21 better fucking tie a windsor knot and throw a damn touchdown pass. Was it good? Yes. Did I expect it to be good since it’s basically pasta with a few chunks of merguez and it cost TWENTYONE dollars? Yea it better be good. Was it Top Chef material? Who knows, it’s just pasta right? And not even fresh pasta.
Steph got the steak and eggs. On the menu it said, “7oz NY strip steak / two eggs sunny side up / breakfast potatoes” So it was curious when the eggs came out scrambled. One of the joys of steak and eggs is getting your steak with some oozy and delicious yolk from a sunny side up egg. That’s the whole point. This is not to mention the fact that the menu specifically said sunny side up. Therefore there should be no doubt in the kitchen how the egg should be prepared. It’s not even like they asked how we wanted the eggs and there was confusion between the server and the kitchen. No. The kitchen should have prepared the eggs one way and one way only. Sunny side up. Did they do it? No. The steak was ordered rare and it came out on the firmer side of medium.
I just figured if you’re a Top Chef, you can cook eggs. Some folks might say, “Why didn’t you return it?” Well because restaurants should just do it up right the first time. If you’re eating by yourself and not too hungry, I can see how it’s alright to wait a little extra to ask them to do it right. If you’re eating in a group, it would definitely hold up your whole party if everyone had to wait for you.
This reminds me about some argument I had with someone before about whether cooking is art. It’s that phrase that’s oh so popular. Cooking is like art! Michael Ruhlman said it best in his books, that cooking is a craft. See the difference is that a craft is something you hone over repetition so that you possess the skill to produce something of high quality each time you do it. So if you’re a restaurant, you want to produce the same quality product over and over again. Sounds boring, but that’s what it takes. If the menu says sunny side up eggs, a good craftsman would make it sunny side up each time. Also, art is something that has greater value when it’s produced in low quantities. But the food we eat in restaurants is something that needs to be produced over and over again to prove it’s worth and consistency. By definition it’s produced in high numbers… now unless one thinks mass produced Justin Bieber posters from Wal-Mart is art… well, cooking is not art. And those steak and eggs from Plein Sud definitely isn’t art. I’m not sure it’s tops either.
Plein Sud85 W. Broadway.New York, NY 10007212-204-5555
Posted by Danny on September 15, 2010 at 3:10 am
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