“If you are what you eat, I only want to eat the good stuff.” – Remy, Ratatouille
Last Sunday I took the bus up to New York City to meet two very close friends, Vik and Christina, for dinner at Scott Conant’s Scarpetta. I’ve known both of them for over seven years now, and I hold our friendship very dear to my heart. Vik is one of my mentors, was the professor most directly connected to igniting my interest in sociology and criminology during college, and was the most instrumental person in encouraging me to follow a passion and go to graduate school. He and Christina, like me, are also driven by a deep desire to not just eat or make good food, but to experience food. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to see them – and going to a really nice New York City Italian restaurant for dinner with them was the icing on the cake.
What does all of this have to do with a review of a restaurant? Well, for me, it has everything to do with it. This is something you should probably know about me going forward: to me, eating is not just about the act of having and enjoying food, it’s about sharing an experience. At a restaurant, the quality of service, the ambiance of the location, and, of course, the food all combine to create an experience, but it is the people you share the meal with that cement the memories. This is not to say one cannot enjoy a meal alone, I have done so many times, but it is to say that when reviewing a restaurant or describing a meal, the company I share that meal with is often just as important, if not more important, than the meal itself. Last Sunday I spent over three hours enjoying not only one of the most wonderful meals of my life, but I spent those three hours with two of my favorite people – and, at the end of the day, that time is just as valuable to me as the memories of the food I consumed. With that said, let’s dive in and I will do my best to re-create our evening so you can share our experience too.