Simplicity and immediacy at the base of the choices “pursued” by celebrity chefs. But are customers always
able to extricate themselves between the different offer formulas?
Bistro. Lately I found myself reflecting on what exactly the bistro is today. Because? Very often the great chefs decide to open an easier version of their restaurant using the bistro formula. From here we could already make a proposal to define today’s bistro. Simplicity and immediacy. Simplicity in the menu proposal, immediacy in using a table. But behind this choice, what is there really? Perhaps the intent is to open a wider range within its customers? Perhaps, remaining on a more philosophical aura, is there the will of the great ones to feel closer to us mere mortals? Perhaps, simply, there is the will to give more variants of one’s offer to sell more, because this is also what we are talking about. It is not, mine, a negative criticism, on the contrary! Chapeau to the great entrepreneurial minds who are demonstrating how much Italy is getting back on top thanks to their commitment.
That a starry dinner costs an arm and a leg is a fact and is one of the few right things on this earth! A starred dish has its cost because to arrive in front of us it must follow a path full of details that cannot be avoided by its final execution (refined raw materials, tablecloths, fresh flowers, local of a certain level and so on and so forth. metta). This is why often, the alternative to these details (not at all) is the bistro formula where chefs can devote themselves to research but without excessive costs. I want to give an example: Giancarlo Perbellini has recently opened a (another) low cost restaurant, Osteria Mondo d’oro. The offer of the multi-starred chef proposes an expense ranging from 30 to 50 euros in a combination of two dishes plus dessert. If Casa Perbellini remains the undisputed temple of flavors and the hands of the chef (but who cooks in the bistros?) We can also opt for a starred pizza always signed by Perbellini: at Du de Cope you can enjoy a creative pizza with selected and refined elements at very sustainable costs. and beware, all this in Verona, not in Naples, that my dear Neapolitan friends do not want it.
Perbellini does not stop at these two low cost proposals but has several. Bottura and his Gucci Osteria also come to mind. Inside the Gucci Garden, the bistro offers a menu based on Bottura’s travels. On the menu we find black truffle, lobster and also the large tortellini in parmesan cream in a price that varies from 30 to 50 euros per dish. Too much for a bistro? But the signature is by Bottura, let’s not forget that! Or again, I think of the new proposal by Giuseppe Molaro, the chef we told about in So Wine So Food. With In Tasca, Molaro elevates the typical Neapolitan street food (aridaje!) To the stars. An example? The Bianco Manzo fried pizza is a triumph of the creativity of this young and great chef: Caserta provola with buffalo milk, ricotta mousse, Caserta sausage, beef jus. All for only 8.50 euros. In short, the proposals are many and many will come. I think it is nice to sit at these tables because behind it remains first of all the recognizability of the great chef who in the dish means excellence and research. Secondly, in a certain sense it is an opportunity to save, but with grace and elegance.
Yet an image remains in me. That of the old Parisian bistros whose tables have accommodated great ideas, great artists, great politicians. Those who made humanity today possible. Where bistro was first of all a word that the Cossacks exclaimed in their haste to eat a quick dish given the upcoming conquests to be made and in unison they shouted: “bistro”, “quick!”. From this word we then moved on to designating a real lifestyle, the Parisian one, in fact. And soon, bistro has gone to mean an expensive, family place, where you can sit and be like that, just yourself, with no frills. To conclude, I join Marc Augé who in his book An ethnologist at the Bistrot states: “the bistro is there, as a sign of recognition”.