Choice cuts of food prose from that New Yorker profile of Pete Wells, the NYTimes restaurant critic.

  1. “It always sounds as if somebody were telling a woman at the far end of the table that he had just found $1,000 under the menu, and the woman were shouting back that Ryan Gosling had just texted and he’s coming to the restaurant in, like, five minutes!”
  2. “The chard was cooked with garlic and lemon and bread crumbs. The crab tasted of mayonnaise and Tabasco and had been browned in a heavy foil dish in the shape of a crab shell. I spread it on saltines from a crinkly cellophane wrapper and ate it with the sensation of having found something I’d lost such a long time ago that I’d forgotten about it."
  3. "Other steakhouses can drive themselves crazy over internal temperatures. At Sammy’s, the meat will be cooked. If you have something more specific in mind, if you want it medium or black and blue, then write your request on a sheet of paper, tear it into small pieces and throw them into the air when the piano player sings ‘Happy Birthday.’ ”
  4. "By the end of the four hours, I felt as if I’d gone to a Seder hosted by Presbyterians."
  5. "The place was grand, hermetic, self-regarding, ungenerous—a no-fun house."
  6. "A server in a light-up Santa cap stood on our table and sang, along with his colleagues, ‘Froggy, froggy birthday. Na-na-na-na-na. This is how we do it. Na-na-na-na-na.’... Is it possible to say with a straight face that Señor Frog’s is a better restaurant than Per Se? Can you get those words out without collapsing under your own idiocy?"
  7. "A few chefs and restaurateurs still understand that people go out to have a good time. wrote. But too many restaurants have become church without the singing and costumes.”
  8. “Searching for money, for love and for food, we strike bargains. We may be content with one for years until we begin to be shadowed by the suspicion that the terms aren’t working out in our favor anymore."