Chatter: Plate Crimes
What you said about what we said last week
Restaurant Week is bigger than ever—and more past participants are opting out. For last week’s Young & Hungry column, Jessica Sidman broke down how the twice-annual promotion, in which establishments offer special prix fixe menus, actually works, and why some restaurateurs have concluded it’s not worth the hassle. In the comments, though, Restaurant Week found a few defenders. “Been going for three years, and I have a lot of respect for places such as Vidalia and Rasika that don't compromise quality or options,” wrote SW. “I happen to think I'm pretty good at picking winners, too, since I book well in advance and always check the menus first. This year I had wonderful lunches at Osteria Morini, Bastille, and Rasika West End. My biggest piece of advice: only go for lunch. Dinner at $35 per person isn't much of a deal, unless the menu looks exceptional, such as Rural Society's tasting menu.”
And reader Buckers: “I had two fabulous lunches and one fabulous dinner at places I also patronize whenever I can afford it. And I conspicuously avoid places that offer only two choices per course. Why bother? I really look forward to RW twice a year and hope it continues. I could never afford to eat that well in a single week at regular prices. Then again, why I come up with at home for myself is as good or better than what you can find in certain restaurants.”
However the current flap over the management of the Park Southern public housing complex shakes out, it probably won’t be good news for Muriel Bowser. The Ward 4 councilmember’s mayoral campaign includes one supporter now at the center of a controversy over poor conditions and missing money at Park Southern. One reader wasn’t impressed with Park Southern’s new role as a campaign flashpoint. “The whole Park Southern thing needs independant investigation,” wrote Mark. “By the IG, the AG, the USAO, whoever. What isn't needed is mayoral candidate David Catania's obvious attempts to politicize the matter by calling on Muriel Bowser to hold a hearing. Whatever the material facts—and there are no charges by anyone independant—it is abundantly clear that in this election year candidate Catania is doing everything possible to accuse Bowser of (among other things) pay-to-play corruption. He's running for mayor, so this type of mudslinging is to be expected. What amazes me is his sheer stupidity in calling on her to hold oversight hearings in her committee on a matter he has political motivation to implicate her in. Let's pretend just for a second that she did hold these hearings. Would he be satisfied? Would he use them as anything other than a forum for him to further attack? He's already calling her corrupt. If he truly believes that, why would he want her to hold a hearing into...herself?”
If you measure the health of D.C.’s contemporary art scene by the number of brick-and-mortar galleries, then oof: For an arts feature last week, Kriston Capps charted the latest series of gallery closings in D.C., and pondered whether four walls and a lease still matter in a scene powered by art fairs, pop-ups, and unconventional spaces. Reader Christopher had some thoughts about the economics of regional art markets: “One thing missing in this discussion is the market, not the cost of the space, but who is buying and at what price point? When I went to art school in SF and Oakland in the early ‘00s, we discussed with gallerists the problem that the art marketing in the Bay Area was so poor. Once you start selling pieces at LA or NY prices, you can no longer sell them in SF. And that means you won't show then in SF either. The gallerists couldn't make the money needed to sustain their businesses. Sure, having affordable rents works well when nobody is paying anything for the art anyway, but once the rents go up, the prices need to follow. D.C. just doesn't seem ready for it.
Department of Corrections
Due to an editing error, a photo of Bob and Ellie Tupper in last week’s Beer Issue package was incorrectly credited to Tom Cizauskas; it is courtesy the Tuppers. And due to a reporting error, last week’s One Track Mind column incorrectly identified Miguel Lacsamana as the head of DRKArts. In fact, Erik Anderson is the label's head and founder.