The first review I read of Chamarré Montmartre was Emmanuel Rubin’s in Figaroscope where he gave it a busted/broken heart and called it sad Caribbean stuff (apparently conflating the Caribbean and Indian oceans, which occupied the blogospere’s schadenfreude quotion for some time.) In any case, a busted heart, like a NYTimes theater/movie pan, is pretty hard to get up from.
Then I read Sebastien Demorand’s Le Fooding’s Good News section on Chamarré Montmartre, though, where he compared Antoine Heerah’s cooking to that of Vongerichten and Roka, I stopped and said “Whoa! What have we got here?”
Finally, I was sent the video-blog of François-Régis Gaudry’s filming of Sophie Brissaud’s supposedly settling whom she would side with. My understanding after the fact that it would be somewhere in between. http://blogs.lexpress.fr/restaurant/2008/1...au-chamarre.php
Now, most weeks, when the big boys and girls go to a place they tend to rate/grade it as if they had eaten there together (which I realize they do, do) and like the reporters in Viet Nam after the Five O’Clock Follies, agree what would appear tomorrow.
Not this time – Rubin and Demorand – two seasoned chaps disagreeing 100% and the famed cook-book and food writer coming in between them.
Who’s right and does it matter?
Well, I hate fence-sitting and love being on the winning side, so I went and the envelope please:
Rubin in a TKO (to mix a few metaphors and references).
The place is a mess; too ambitious, too many cuisines on one menu: Indian, Franco-Mauritian and Far East almost competes with Chinese/Japanese/Vietnamese/Korean ones, too many, too busy plates, and on and on.
But this is not a review of the place, it’s a meta-review; a chance to learn some lessons from the big boys and girls. So here are mine:
1. Trust no one (who said that first, Peter Lorre?)
2. Trust yourself (who said that first, I trust Bob Dylan more than Ben Spock).
3. Trust your wife or S.O., mine is the proverbial canary in the mine, with a feces-detector and an early warning system.
4. If there’s a food fight, go yourself and see, it’ll change your life.
5. Watch out for chefs who are like someone who’s stretching too far, pushing the envelope til it breaks, going one bridge too far – choose your simile.
6. Don’t trust fusion cuisine in all its forms, Peruvian-Japanese can work, Indian and French may not work.
7. Don’t trust what you read.
8. Don’t trust lists.
9. Don’t trust me.
These thoughts were prompted by you know where and I’ll certainly not give you its coordinates.