I went to French Laundry for my 50th birthday, and it was a four-hour ordeal and a day of recovery. I don’t know, it felt like work. But that’s not what food is for me, that idea of food as theater or entertainment. I just think keeping the conversation in the foreground and letting the food and drink serve that, rather than the other way around, is the way to go.
Locally, Justus Drugstore's Jonathan Justus freely admits that his approach to a meal, where dinner can regularly take between two and three hours, isn't what every customer is looking for when they go out to eat. I suspect French Laundry chef Thomas Keller feels the same way. Does slow food dining — the deliberate presentation of courses — feel like work to you?