Category Archives: Commentary

Robin Garr’s musings about food and restaurant matters that don’t fit neatly into the “review” category.

Order Like a Pro

I know – you’re wondering if I’m really getting ready to school you on how to order food at a restaurant. This is a task nearly everyone does dozens (if not hundreds) of times a year. There’s no one special trick that will vault you over other diners to an extra level of respect from a restaurant’s staff, but I can offer a few pointers that might get you a higher standard of service when you’re dining out. Continue reading Order Like a Pro

Talk Like a Line Cook Day

September 19 was “Talk Like a Pirate Day” – one of those internet-created faux holidays everyone loves to talk about on social media and at the water cooler. (Do people in offices really gather around a water cooler anymore? I picture them alone at their desks hunched over their $5 pumpkin-spiced Life Water, scrolling through Instagram on their phones.)

Having worked in restaurants for many years, I can usually spot a line cook in the wild at 40 paces or less, even if they’ve eschewed their every day uniform for civvies. Continue reading Talk Like a Line Cook Day

Good beer, good food boost Pints & Union’s cozy pub vibe

Every now and then a new local place to eat and drink makes me exceptionally happy. Sure, I’m always glad to see any new eatery come to town. But now and then a fresh arrival delivers such pleasure in its food, drink, and mood that it makes me jump up and down in delight.

Consider, if you will, Pints & Union in downtown New Albany, the utterly lovable restaurant … er, no, beer bar? … um, no, not that, nor a brewpub either. It’s a public house, a European-style pub, then, built into the beautifully renovated shell of an 1880s-era general store that later served as a neighborhood saloon. Continue reading Good beer, good food boost Pints & Union’s cozy pub vibe

Brasserie Provence takes us to France, très bon!

Say what you will about the French, they are a carnivorous people. French cuisine is full of beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fish, toutes les viandes! All the meats!

But I’m pretty sure Julia Child’s recipe box never contained a recipe for tofu. When I walk into a French restaurant, I expect a bill of fare centered on meat, poultry, and fish, because that’s how the French roll. Or cook. Continue reading Brasserie Provence takes us to France, très bon!

Is it Safe?

I am, in modern parlance, “an old,” so I remember the unsettling scene from 1976’s “The Marathon Man” in which a Nazi war criminal, played by Laurence Olivier, repeatedly asks Dustin Hoffman “Is it safe?” while laying out dental instruments with which to torture him with. Hoffman – terrified, sweating, strapped to a chair – replies “Yes, it’s safe, it’s very safe, it’s so safe you wouldn’t believe it.”  Whenever I see the blue polo shirt of a Metro Health Department inspector slip into my place of employment, my brain coughs up this scene.   Continue reading Is it Safe?