- By Gregoire Glachant
- | Oct 18, 2013
Industrial Decor and Eggs Benedict
Wooden tables, exposed bulbs dangling from the ceiling, Emeco Navy chairs, a bare cement floor—welcome to [insert random word here] Cafe, the new, hip restaurant that just opened on your street. Its owner studied in New York, and brought back a taste for brunch and exposed air ducts. There’s a marble bar counter sporting cheesecake covered in slimy, canned blueberry jelly under glass domes. The menu is on a clipboard, even though it hasn’t changed once since the place opened. Your waiter, who gets his hair cut at Never Say Cutz, has impeccable fashion sense—but has no clue what “sunny side up” or “over easy” mean. And most importantly, you can’t help but wonder, “What am I doing here? The food sucks. And I’ve been to a dozen such joints that look exactly the same.” Look on the bright side, though, this is a definite improvement from Victorian decor and soft-shell crab salads (the template from a couple of years ago). And the only thing that will kill this trend is another trend, which might be even lamer. Better the devil you know?
OK, we realize it’s a bit of a sweeping generalization to say that sushi bars restaurants “need to stop,” but we certainly don’t need a new one opening every other day. Seriously, raw tuna is yummy, but you reach a point where all these sushi bars, who probably use all the same importers anyway, end up tasting pretty much the same. In fact, Japanese restaurants here seem to suffer from a similar problem to Thai restaurants. If they try to do their own thing, they get accused of being fusion. If they stick to the classics, they end up being boring. Not that anyone minds: Japanese restaurants were already on our list of tired trends two years ago, and the speed at which they’re multiplying only seems to have picked up. See our review of Sousaku to find out what happens when a brave Thai guy tries to change how Bangkokians eat sushi bar—and fails.
Rustic European Cuisine
Let’s piss off three restaurants in one go: we’re finding it increasingly difficult to remember what dishes we’ve had at Opposite, which ones we’ve had at Quince and which ones were from Smith. (Well, to be fair, the dry, undercooked brussel sprouts and greasy chicken “confit” were most definitely from our last trip to Smith.) And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Smokey eggplant salads have crept into menus from Sathorn to Ladprao. Terrines on wooden chopping boards are taking over our city. Lamb shanks “for sharing” dominate our dinner tables. To be fair, Quince and Opposite are still delicious (Quince just got a new chef from New Zealand, Blair Mathieson, who we really like). We just wish more people would do their own thing, instead of following in Jess Barnes’ footsteps (from Opposite). As a friend from Shanghai recently told us after checking out these three restaurants, “What’s the point? I could be anywhere.”