I just saw the film “The Menu” and found it fairly amusing. However, I’ve never been to a tasting menu, or to anyone’s private island, come to that, so I have nothing to measure it against.
Has anyone hear familiar with those experiences seen the film, and if so, could you comment?
Very accurate. All the best tasting menus end in murder/suicide.
Plus, I have always loved the palate cleanser of a sous chef topping themselves.
It’s satire. Tasting menus are just what you think they are: a multi-course prix fixe dinner, often reflecting what the chef deems their best creations (like a Western omakase).
There is a restaurant in Montreal called Européa, where you can select either a 6-course or 9-course menu (the numbers may have changed; I have not been there in a long time). You do get the number of courses noted, but interspersed you get “gifts from the chef”, which are one-bite courses, such that the 6/9 turns into 9/12. I once asked the waiter for a repeat on the “gift”; he was glad to oblige. They also have a 25-course menu which includes 1/2 bottle of Champagne for $250. I’ve not had it, unfortunately.
The food there is great. I’ve eaten there many times.
SOME tasting menus offer two or three options per course, which is a nice concession for diners with food sensitivities and/or allergies. I haven’t had a tasting menu in nearly a decade. Even then, here in Boston, typical price sans alcohol was $75-$100. Servers were well-informed, (seemingly, anyway) sincerely interested in the diner having a wonderful meal. I’ve never had a tasting menu heavy on tweezerfood and molecular gastronomy. The best one was the first, at long-gone Upstairs At The Pudding.
I streamed The Menu yesterday. I thought it would be satire, not horror. Very little of the former, way too much violence and blood for even non-squeamish me. I have never shaken Fiennes’s chilling performance in Schindler’s List, so for me, at last, he chef role was ideal casting. So was Anya Taylor Joy, because in her previous starring roles I loathed her characters, and did this time as well. Digression: I relish the time I came across an “eggcorn” in the wild. Someone posted on Facebook about being too “screamish” to eat raw animal flesh.
i enjoyed the movie. i found it mostly grounded in reality, but obviously taken to an absurd level. as i watched it, i thought of some possible influences for how they conceived of the food and service.
the Hawthorne itself made me think of Blue Hill Farm in Westchester or the Willows Inn in WA (i think this was already mentioned). The latter is another island, fine-dining destination restaurant. they are known for sourcing all their ingredients from the island and it’s waters (this claim has been refuted by some former staff).
when the guests are given the initial tour of the grounds and staff quarters, i felt the layout of the tightly packed, rigidly made beds in the sparse room evoked the Heavens Gate cult. an allusion that maybe makes more sense as the plot evolves. if they used bunk beds in the set it may have been too on the nose.
the ‘bread’ course gag reminded me of the ‘frozen air’ served at Bros in Italy as recounted in this infamous hit piece:
overall, the ornateness of some of the dishes and the high technicality of the execution reminded me of the Alchemist in Copenhagen
(this is an excellent visual account of what it’s like to eat there: https://endoedibles.com/?p=129067).
the dessert course (at least in it’s initial plating) harkened to the Desert Course at Alinea in Chicago.
Thank you for alerting me to the gore factor. I was thinking of watching this, but I kept remembering something negative I had read. Definitely not a horror fan!
I didn’t find it particularly a gory movie, but I watch a lot of horror. I thought of this as more of a dark satire. I mean, the executive chef was Voldemort! Your mileage will vary, I guess.
Was the cheeseburger that the chef cooked for Margot modeled on the Holeman and Finch one? It sure looked like it. I thought that was one of the funnier parts of the movie. He goes out of his way to try and prove that he can still cook something with his heart and he turns out one of the more famously Instagrammed burgers, tasty as it might be.
I just saw this and loved it, and sadly also recognized some of me in that. Lol.
I love horror, and thought this would actually be more gory. While there are some very dark scenes with some violence, I actually found it less horror like than I had heard. I agree that it was dark satire and more absurdist for me too. And damn if some of those dishes didn’t look good even through some of those crazy moments, which is kind of what the film satirizes.