To earn three Michelin stars, a restaurant, by definition, must have “distinctive dishes … precisely executed.” But the exact meaning of that phrase is up for debate – like, for instance, what if instead of a plate, you serve a dish on an iPad showing a video. Is that “distinctive” or downright silly? Prepare to take sides.
Hot off the October announcement that it had been awarded a third Michelin star, San Francisco’s Quince Restaurant has apparently made a high tech addition to its dining experience. The second course of the acclaimed restaurant’s $220 twelve course prix fixe menu is currently “A Dog in Search of Gold.” According to SFist, local chef Richie Nakano helped spread news of this strangely named dish with a tweet earlier in the week, describing it as “white truffle croquettes on iPads playing videos of water dogs on the truffle-hunt.” Just to clarify, that means patrons are expected to eat off a screen showing a video of dogs. What’s more appetizing than that?
For those worried about grubby finger prints, Quince chef and owner Michael Tusk later confirmed to the SF Gate that the food does not sit directly on the iPad: the devices come in its specially-designed wooden box covered in a sheath that get cleaned after each use. He also explained his logic behind accompanying food with a video. “The idea was simply about taking the guest on a voyage to being out truffle hunting then having a moment when the truffle is dug from the ground,” Tusk was quoted as saying. He said many guests wonder where truffles come from and the video not only answers that question, but can also work as a conversation piece for the meal. Additionally, Tusk said using iPads adds a bit of local flavor. “Living in San Francisco for over twenty years I have witnessed the tech boom,” Tusk continued, “and I wanted to combine a little bit of gastronomy with technology and a little bit of education.”
Using iPads during a meal does seem like it could create some interesting visual opportunities. And Tusk’s response makes sense from an intellectual perspective. But on a visceral level, is it appealing or appetizing to be forced to watch a bunch of dogs running around while trying to enjoy what should be one of the best meals you’ll have in your life? I guess it’s up to you if you want to spend $220 to find out. If not, my nephew would be happy to show you some really funny dog videos he found on YouTube for free.