The famed Phantom Diner of WITF and Central PA magazine has filed Her/His answers to our 10 carefully constructed dining questions. The crucial Last Meal question is, of course, last.
1. How many of you are there?
One and only one.
2. Are there any cuisines or styles of cooking you seriously don’t like?
Not especially fond of Sub-Saharan African cuisine, especially sadza.
3. How do you review a cuisine you are not particularly fond of ?
Try to stay away from Sub-Saharan African restaurants, especially those serving sadza.
4. How long do you wait after a restaurant opens to review it?
Varies, but always try to give a new place a few months to get their legs under them.
5. How many dishes do you sample?
Also varies, sometimes go in group and sample several; sometimes do multiple visits.
6. Do you go to a restaurant more than once for a single review?
Sometimes, but I’d note new patrons to any restaurant are going once and basing their opinions on that visit, so I think it’s fair to review a restaurant based on one visit.
7. How important are service and ambience to your dining critique?
Critical, and I’ve often made that known.
8. Does price affect your palate?
Normally not. Willing to pay lots for great food. But if paying lots, expect the food to be great.
9. Do the opinions of your table companions influence you?
Yes, because I choose dining companions with taste and discretion.
10. If you were going to be executed at dawn tomorrow, what would you want for your Last Meal tonight?
A mixed dozen of fresh raw oysters served on the half-shell with an ice cold vodka martini;
Some fritto misto and a small plate of angel hair pasta with pesto sauce served with a cold pinot grigio;
My own version of surf and turf — a fresh and lightly grilled Dover sole and a rare, rich and fatty Delmonico steak served with lattice fried potatoes and a glass of pinot noir;
A classic Caesar salad with extra anchovies;
A pot of French press coffee and housemade malted-milk-ball gelato, served with a split of very dry French champagne.
Bonus Questions: Who would you want to cook your Last Meal?
Wolfgang Puck or Georges Perrier
Who would you want to share it with?
With my children.