Kudos to Cinghiale and more on the imaginary restaurant
The September Bon Appetit is its 15th annual restaurant issue. In a story on the best Italian food in America, Baltimore's Cinghiale is featured for its wild mushroom crostini and fresh artichoke and white bean crostini (recipes included).
Of course, I would love to know how the magazine discovered Cinghiale, but I'm probably not going to find that out.
More importantly for me, I'm so used to national publications presenting Baltimore as a place to pick steamed crabs, go to Little Italy or get a meal in the Inner Harbor that I'm delighted for another side of the city's culinary scene to be recognized -- one that shows we have some variety here.
For one thing, every tourist who is coming to town picks up the phone or e-mails to ask me for one of those three things. It gets boring.
But this reminded me that I had more to say about the imaginary restaurant that won the Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator. (Not because there's any question about Cinghiale's wine list, or crostini for that matter, but just because foodies place a lot of importance on this kind of national recognition.) ...
First of all, thanks to Bucky for posting a link to the Wine Spectator's side of the story. I thought it deserved to be highlighted in a main entry, not just in a comment.
I also thought the magazine's arguments were pretty convincing, especially that no one should be expected to do much more to establish the restaurant's existence than the staff did. But the one thing that didn't get answered for me was something that writer Robin Goldstein brushed off:
Osteria L’Intrepido’s high-priced “reserve wine list” was largely chosen from among some of the lowest-scoring Italian wines in Wine Spectator over the past few decades. ...While it’s interesting that the reserve list would receive such seemingly little scrutiny, the central point is that the wine cellar doesn’t actually exist.
That isn't the central point to me, if you accept the magazine's side of the story. But I don't get what the Wine Spectator is doing for its $250 if not checking the merits of the reserve list, whether it exists or not. Unless I'm reading the rebuttal wrong, the magazine argues that only 15 wines on a list of 256 wines were subpar. But these weren't 15 wines randomly scattered in among all the rest; they were the most expensive wines in the cellar, the ones where folks might most need expert guidance.
I know, I know. The rest have you have moved on. This was yesterday's news.
Just a thought.