Texture, temperature and taste – the three preeminent characteristics that help to assess the quality of a food. To fail in any of these areas is to fail completely. Fried calamari served cold is a failure. Pasta served overcooked is a failure. Even when the veal has the most enchanting flavor, when its breadcrumbs are soggy and temperature lukewarm, it is a shameful failure.
As with most things over the past year, it’s really COVID’s fault. The pandemic has forced many people into seclusion, fueling a demand for delivery. We know that; this is old news. Yet this “new normal” persists. Menus previously unavailable for delivery can be accessed with a few clicks.
Truth be told, we should have known better. Italian-American cuisine is perhaps our eternal favorite, with almost everything breaded and fried, but the menu itself. So good. But with all this breading and frying, there’s an inherent expiration time, a countdown, signaling the overwhelming death of the dish.
Admit it: saggy fillets of fried fish are… not… good… eaten.
Overall, we are strong supporters of Paravicini. We are fans of classic Italian bistros (esque) with their vintage aperitif advertisements, tablecloths and low lighting. Everyone looks good sipping Chianti at a Paravicini stand. But with the new normal of ubiquitous transportation and delivery, a type of Pandora’s Box has presented itself.
It is a question of responsibility and knowledge. Two options are readily available: either the food supplier – who has the greatest knowledge of his own menu – should be responsible for the quality experience of the end user; or the end user (you and me) – who is ultimately responsible for our own experiences – should seek the best understanding of all the variables that would impact the quality of a dining experience.
In a rough approximation, the dichotomy presented vaguely mirrors that of the free market versus regulation debate. Fortunately, we continue to live in a (mostly) free market system – so a restaurant reviewer has a voice. If a restaurant is shortsighted in offering food delivery unsuitable for the rigors of time and travel, ideally, then comments from disappointed customers would calm bad business practices and a new standard would be reached. Therefore, we suggest that Paravicini offer a clean delivery menu that only offers sustainably mobile dishes, and / or innovate its delivery method.
To be clear, this maximum is not exclusive to Paravicini’s, but applies to all restaurants participating in this new normal.
Of our three starters, two starters and two desserts, only the tiramisu and cannoli resisted the trip to arrive in a state close to that of the restaurant’s dining room. Overall it was a culinary parody.
Should we be ultimately responsible? We chose the breaded and fried dishes, then we ordered delivery to 6.7 km. Or should Paravicini be responsible? They created the delivery menu; they offered online delivery for just $ 3.95.
Recently we had the privilege of speaking with the Executive Chef at Broadmoor. During a long tour of the resort’s multiple restaurants and kitchens, he mentioned a practice they use when developing the menu. Once a dish is prepared, chefs will document its quality in five minute increments noting any concerns as the dish “ages.” Has the sauce been separated by 5 minutes? Are carrots cold in 10 min? Such a scientific study of every dish on a menu is not surprising for an establishment of the Broadmoor caliber; Yet its underlying philosophy is also not out of reach for the average restaurant.
Good food is an art. Art has a creator. He is an irresponsible creator who creates without diligent consideration of every probable art experience – in our particular case: texture, temperature and taste.
We congratulate Paravicini’s with a caveat, that a reservation is made for the dining room.