Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mercredi, c'est ravioli. 

No criticism of Meredith, as she does her job. North Beach? Check. Fancy restaurant? Check. Caviar? Check. Then it's a serious, full review. Money talks, and Meredith listens.

Two details: first one is on the meaning of Coi, the place she reviews. I cannot fault her, as everybody says "an uncommon French word meaning tranquil" (I've seen "an archaic French word for quiet" maybe in Bauer's review). Which basically says they don't check and they don't know what Coi means. Coi means basically to shut up. The two current uses I can think of would be: J'en suis resté coi in exclamation of surprise, meaning I was speachless, and Tiens-toi coi as an exortation to an unruly child, meaning Be quiet or Shut up.

So Meredith's meaning of "tranquil" is generous to Patterson, but wrong. Silent would be a better word, but it is pretty sterile. Anyway, no one asks me my opinion, but it is an awful name: a wrong meaning (unintentionally ironic: restaurant "shut your mouth" anyone?), and an indication that those who picked it don't know what they are talking about and are just being pedantic.

Plagiarism warning: I looked at which adjective Bauer used, and please, compare Meredith: Coi (pronounced kwa, an uncommon French word meaning tranquil) and Bauer: Coi, which is an arcane French word (pronounced "kwa") meaning tranquil. There aren't too many ways to give the pronounciation and the meaning, so we'll let it slide for now.

The second detail: she writes that Patterson, Coi's chef, wrote an article that attacked a beloved gastronomic icon. Except he did not. He only wrote respectful things about Alice Waters. He did not write the cheeky "To the moon, Alice" headline, and he said several times in the article he admires her. What he criticized was not her, but those who follow her. What he criticized was chefs who imitates instead of being creative.

"We went straight for the tasting menu, because it offered more examples of Patterson's kitchen philosophies and it felt festive and indulgent."

... and because it cost $30 extra and you don't have to pay a cent of it!
Certainly one of the best reviews ever penned by Meredith, with an admirable emphasis on the food and a notable lack of navel gazing. Surprisingly this review was much better than Bauer's which I found remarkably snarky.

Has our esteemed host been to COI yet? It is an excellent restaurant.
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