Kill Gill: Taking on A.A. Gill for His Farcical Review of New York Restaurants

Gourmet Traveler
I read A.A. Gill's purported analysis of the New York restaurant scene in the London Times last Sunday, and it pissed me off. This guy's a dimwit (he gleefully shot a baboon), a standup comedian given to improvisational riffing on restaurants he's barely visited--only three of them, in fact. He sweeps into Manhattan, grazes in DBGB, eats brunch at the Breslin, and has a few dumplings and some crack pie at Momofuku Milk Bar. That's it. And then he slams our restaurant scene based on this slender evidence. Plowing through his prose is like swimming in treacle.

Of David Chang, he writes: "Momofuku is a small chain of related restaurants run by a Korean chef. Korean is this year's must-have oriental." This is blatant racism. The Brits still don't get the melting pot thing. David Chang was born and raised in Virginia, and he's as American as any one here.

His savaging of Daniel Boulud, one of our ablest chefs, quite simply reflects the age-old hatred of the English for the French--even though a large proportion of useful ideas, methods, and words in English cooking happen to have been filched from the French.

In the case of both Chang and Boulud, Gill's chosen one of the subsidiary productions of each as a target more worthy of his venom than their full-blown restaurants. Or perhaps it was a matter of simple economics, of having to do his "review" of New York restaurants on the cheap.

Indeed, a meal with a table of diners at Daniel would cost far more than did the meager number of dishes he sampled at DBGB. Of course, he never explains to us under what auspices he conducted his underhanded reviews. Did he pay for the food? Did he dine alone? Did he bluster in there flashing his puss and hoping for the royal treatment? New York has always been wary of such international scoundrels.

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