By Ezra Klein
Bobby Flay stole my jacket. And that’s actually not even the worst of it: He charged me $26 for a fish taco. And that was the lunch price.
Bar Americain is an “American brasserie” that “celebrates the foods of America with a healthy dose of the bold flavors Bobby Flay is most known for.” Or so his flash-based web site — and seriously, what is it with restaurants and Macromedia? –tells us. You know what else it celebrates? Mark ups. Specifically, on the honored fish taco.
Now, not to go all reverse Ben Adler on you, but I’m a Californian. I know fish tacos. What they cost. How they taste. In my world, fish tacos are plentiful, much like sunshine and tan women and budget deficits. They do not cost $26. Indeed, they so do not cost $26 that I would forgive you for thinking me a liar. Some sort of maniacal Flay-hater out to sully his good name. So here’s the relevant section of the menu:
I. Fucking. Know! As for the fish taco, it was a serviceable piece of snapper next to an unremarkable mound of cole slaw flanked by three stacked tortillas featuring grill marks that promised a crunch they didn’t deliver. There were no sides. And that’s not all: Bar Americain also insisted I never checked my jacket with them. I left my card. This morning, they called over: I had, in fact, left my jacket with them. Their mistake. Would I like to come by restaurant and retrieve it sometime that afternoon? I only mention the jacket experience because it engendered a truly great twitter from ThingsBreak. “Let it go,” he said. “If you get it back, it will probably have corn in the pockets & be inartfully altered to pay homage to breakfast.”
Coincidentally, I flew from New York to Los Angeles on Saturday. Still smarting from my $26 fish taco, I had dinner at Rubio’s. Three fish tacos, all of them better than Flay’s. Plenty of beans and chips and salsa. $9. Cali represent!