Question Of The Week: Are All Cuisines Created Equal?
Phoenix New Times

Question Of The Week: Are All Cuisines Created Equal?

There's Tuscany and Provence. Sushi and other dishes from Japan have circled the globe. People argue the merits of Argentine beef or Scottish salmon. But who ever says "I'd love a good Russian head cheese" or "let's have some Irish food tonight"?

Unless by that they mean Jameson's.

Closer to home, could you say that Tex-Mex is the equal of country French or Szechuan? It's natural to personally like one and dislike another. And cultural differences come into play. But in terms of general quality and complexity, are some cuisines inherently better (or worse) than others?

Results from last week, in which we asked about the wisdom of small chef-driven restaurants opening branch locations...

A handful of responses, but all well considered.

Most were along the 'go for it' lines. For example, luniz wrote: "How will you ever know if you don't try? If he succeeds and the food is good, that's great. If neither can keep up the standards, then too bad...someplace else will pick up the slack."

Tijbbari added "I don't mind expansion, especially if it provides a different experience with the same level of quality. Two examples: Twisted Root on Campbell in Richardson tastes just as good, but is very 'clean' and safe to take the kids/folks. The original Deep Ellum location is just more fun, even down to the swarmy cashiers." And

Gipson explained "I'm a 'what if' kind of guy. I'd rather the chef/restaurateur try and fail than not try at all. If these guys and girls didn't push themselves, there would be no Samar, there would be no Jasper's. The potential is always worth the risk."

But Foodbevlaw (the name suggests he/she thinks about stuff like this) countered with "Don't forget, though, that with expansion comes the need to proportionately build infrastructure at the "corporate" level. From 1 to 2 isn't bad, but get to 3, 4 or more, and you can't manage your GMs, bookkeeping, etc., without adding staff that you have to train. All the while you must have presence at each unit for PR and quality-control purposes. Independents should be strategic about growing infrastructure before they get starry-eyed over expansion and start signing leases. Sorry to be preachy."

No problem, FBL--there's a reason we ask the questions, after all.

We'll allow Rev. Jack the final word: "So long as new locations maintain the soul of the concept, I think branching out is good. But as soon as the corporate mentality takes over, the magic will die."


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