Cult of Mediocrity
Why is it that so many restaurants are content to wallow in mediocrity?
Our house is undergoing some renovations, so we decided to eat out the other night. We ended up at Rapini’s in Brampton and couldn’t believe what they were passing off on their clientele. Rapini’s is supposed to be high-end, voted best Italian restaurant in Brampton. That’s sad because the menu items are Italian in name only. Fusion-something, maybe? In any case, they certainly charge for the privilege of sitting at a table. Our bill (for 2 people, 1 bottle of wine, 2 glasses of Averna Amaro Siciliana and no dessert) came to just over $200.
Warning bells started ringing when our waiter tried to sell us a popular Shiraz before we’d even decided on what to eat. Surely, the concept of pairing wine with food is not an alien one. We probably should’ve run away fast. The calamari appetizer was clumped together in a breaded mass and had a rubberlike texture. Our mains, lamb chops and veal piccata, could have easily been called soup since they were served swimming in a bowl of sauce. Look, with five very simple ingredients, there really aren’t too many ways that a piccata sauce can be messed up. A dusting of flour, a bit of butter, parsley, lemon juice and salt. That’s it.
Fast, simple, delicious. Our meals came with a side order of pasta in marinara sauce. (The marinara was also the dipping sauce for the calamari.) It’s flavour had a certain je ne sais quoi … oh yes, I know, it was that metallic taste one gets from a can. The comic relief was the three-foot tall pepper grinder and the parsley with a perm (curly parsley). Ring … ring … the ’70s called; they want their stuff back. Alright, I’ll stop. The best part of the night was the amaro that rounded off the meal.
I have to really wonder about the chefs and owners who think they can get away with charging huge amounts of money for crappy food. At the very least, don’t they want to stay in touch with what’s modern in the food world? Or how about simply striving to constantly improve their personal best?