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January 21, 2010

Richard reviews Hunan Taste



Today Other Reviewer Richard reviewed Hunan Taste in Catonsville, which fans of Chinese food are comparing in authenticity to the beloved Grace Garden in Odenton. Others, not so much.

Let the wrangling begin.

While I'm at it, I'm going to link to my review of Ullswater in south Baltimore because I was feeling too sickly on Monday to do it. ...

Of course, reviews tend to generate e-mails like this one:

"May I begin by telling you that I am not now a Baltimore resident. However, I was born and raised in Towson during the '40s-50s. I've dined in many, many off Baltimore's best restaurants and could not possibly name all of them here and would not want to bore you by listing them all.... but here are some, just between us, so you can have fun recalling them too... (not in any particular order)  Haussners, Miller Brothers, Prime Rib, Maria's 300, Phillips (everywhere), Alonso's (I was a regular), The Greenspring Inn during its peak, with my parents, of course, Danny's, Milton Inn (my all-time favorite.. I first dined there in 1969)... Attman's deli (the best... I first visited the Lombard streeet neighborhood when vendors were selling live chickens to be killed, plucked and sold to customers on a daily basis), Bernie Lee's Hotel (in Towson), Peerce's, most of the Italians in Little Italy and all of the Italian's in Towson.... actually every restaurant in Towson up to and including Paolo's as I have visited frequently, even the crab houses... spread over the city.... my nephew who now owns his own restaurant (Jack's Bistro) was executive chef at Gibby's... OHHHH!!! I really want to go on because the memories are so pleasant. But the only point I wish to make now, which is connected to the subject above, is mostly a pet peeve that I have developed recently. So here it is: why are modern chefs so committed to causing their plated presentations to look so artistic yet still more like what the plate looks like if a lizard with Diarrhea ran around the plate a few times. That's what the photo attached to your review of this restaurant llooks like. Sorry if I'm sounding gross, but I think the plate looks gross, Consider this too: even trying to catch a bit of the spread-out sauce would be difficult being so thin and spread-out thus less flavovr of the sauce transmitted to the diner. Makes no sense and in this case it's not equivalent to "less is more". I'll keep it simple and end here. I look forward to your reply?"

I've bought some time with my automatic out-of-the-office tool, but sooner or later I'll have to deal with it. Anyone want to take a whack? 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:34 PM | | Comments (8)


I'm guessing he doesn't have any Jackson Pollack prints in his home.

From an aesthetic viewpoint, I would say that the presentation of the sauces is disharmonious with the presentation of the food in the center. It's not an appealing presentation.

I think that if you are going to get all artistic then it should be good art, not just artsy.

How about upping your game and creating plates overtly artful in a particular style? Paint with flavors.

I have seen the future of cutting edge restaurants and they have an art history graduate in the kitchen.

This is not a new topic. The Kids in the Hall dealt with the topic of pretentious plating 20 years ago in the classic Dipping Areas bit.

I want to hear about a chef with the cojones to sign his plates in sauce. Game on!

I agree with the author of the e-mail you quoted. Who needs all the scribbling on the plate. None of the great restaurants mentioned needed it to make their dishes attractive. If I want art, I'll look for it on the walls. The art I'm interested in, in a restaurant is the preparation of my food, not a bunch of squiggly lines of who knows what on my plate.

Lizard with diarrhea? I'm going to have to work hard to blot out THAT image!

Richard, I ate a lot of bitter gourd in India just so I could tell you not to ever, ever try it. I love bitter. I hate bitter gourd.

I think the gentleman who has listened to too much Art Bell should ask a chef that question, not a restaurant critic. After all, you aren't the one playing with your food.

Lissa my dear, I understand not anything in your comment.

So true, Dahlink. Never again will I look at lizard poop without a shudder.

Just one more addition to an already, EXTREMELY POPULAR and EXTREMELY OVERCROWDED shopping area, where getting onto Rolling Road looks like a Shanghai round-about!

My preference by the way is the Carry-Out China Chef that is also located in the same Shopping Center!!!! (Nothing ARTSY about it - just good food!)

Dave, what's best at the carryout?

almost pushcart -ha

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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