This morning I woke up feeling fat, and it took a little while to realize why: I must have gained weight reading and re-reading Rick Nelson's review in the Thursday Star Tribune of "Tilia," a new restaurant in southwest Minneapolis.
"The scallop was evaporating inside my mouth, collapsing on itself in a cloud of ethereal juiciness," he begins. "It was one of those dining-out moments where my body's involuntary response was to slump into my chair, block out everything else around me and wallow in the bliss that was enveloping my taste buds."
You wouldn't think Rick could maintain that level of swoon for long, but he does: He goes on that way for an eye-popping 1,120 words. (For comparison, the play story in this morning's Strib, about the severance packages a state shutdown might trigger, brings home the goods in just 731 words.) Here's more:
"The top of the heap is what's easily the City of Lakes' most awesome way to greet the weekend: delicate cornmeal waffles topped with perfectly poached eggs, chunks of sweet poached lobster and so much supple hollandaise that it should be served with a cardiac defibrillator. It's a dish I could happily consume every Saturday. And Sunday. Forever."
And this -- as my colleague Molly Bloom pointed out - was for a restaurant that Rick only gives three and a half stars. What would a four-star review look like?
Say what you will about the generous helping of steaming adjectives. What I admire about Rick's writing is that he clearly loves good food and enjoys sharing what he knows about it. I just wish he wouldn't tell the whole world. Until yesterday, I'd never heard of Tilia. Now I'll never get a table.
Hey man, I couldn't get a table two months ago!
Wow. That is some line.
oooh, I LOVE Tilia. I hope this swooning review doesn't bring in so many folks that they swamp the restaurant and Steven Brown burns out.
The challenge of writing about any sensory experience is to use clear, vivid prose to help the. reader understand the experience as precisely as possible. Dance, food, sports: good writing conveys the excitement of those "wow" moments. Sounds as if Tilia will be busy ;)
I wonder if there is incentive pay for generously applying the most mouth watering adjectives a fella can stomach.
Too bad there isn't a " It was A Dark and Stormy Night" type award for food critics. Gaaag.