Wanna know what class is?
Steven Brown coming on Chowhounds with me this Saturday at 10 a.m. to talk about the future of fine dining in the Twin Cities.
. . . or how about Tim McKee, chef-owner of La Belle Vie, stopping in at Levain on New Year's Eve to wish everyone there his best on what was their last night open for business?
. . . or maybe Steven’s staff at Levain should get the award for best exemplifying everything that C-L-A-S-S stands for? I talked with Steven at length on Tuesday about the restaurant’s closing, and he told me that after he learned late on Thursday that Levain would serve its last meal on Sunday evening, he let his crew know that if anyone wanted to they could turn in their aprons and he wouldn’t blame them for spending the weekend, or the evening of New Year's Eve, with their friends and family, given the last minute notification, the bittersweet nature of the closing, or the holiday timing of the closure itself. Everyone showed up for each shift for the remainder of the weekend—cooks, dishwashers, everyone . . . that’s class. And a great reflection on Steven.
I think this is the first time I have teased an upcoming radio show on this blog, but given the incredible graciousness with which Steven accepted my invitation and the AMAZING interest in this story as demonstrated by the number of comments to my Tuesday blog entry, I wanted to let this community know to tune in. Let your friends know, and if you are in the biz, or just love food, give it a listen. 100.3 FM on Saturday at 10 a.m.
RIP . . . Andy’s Garage served its last burger in its University Avenue location so that ownership could focus all their attention on their new stand in the Midtown Global Market.
Rumor Mill . . . Ben Graves, the Graves 601 Hotel honcho, would neither confirm nor deny the anonymous posted comment on this blog on Tuesday stating that Stephen Trajahn (of NYC’s 21 Club, Ritz Carlton Hotels, etc.) was taking over the stove left vacant by Seth Bixby Daugherty’s exit last month. Graves promised me some news would be forthcoming next week, so stay tuned. Ben and his dad are smart, standup guys and I am crossing my fingers that the person they are bringing in will continue to grow the national-caliber reputation that Seth and the Graves family created at Cosmos.
Toque Tally . . . Woodmans, Seth, Steven, all gone from kitchens that they made relevant in a national sense during 2005 and 2006 . . . there is a new scent in the air, a vague aroma of disinterest in creative and inspired cooking. Too much competition? Too many restaurants serving food that is too ‘edgy’? Too pricey? What will it take to get Minnesotans to dine out on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening in restaurants that offer forward-thinking menus? Will we lose Alma or Auriga to this nauseous wave of disinterest once new restaurants open in the W Hotel and the Ivy? Was Larry D’Amico dead-on when he told me last fall that there were already too many fine-dining seats in this town relative to customer interest? And why my personal outrage? Because most people I meet and talk to want it both ways. They want to live in a town with great restaurants, but they can’t or won’t support them. Sad, but I am sorting it all out still and will be writing about this a lot in the upcoming weeks and months. All I know is that the new breeze that is blowing smells foul to me.