After a day wine-tasting, we wound up in a little historic downtown for dinner. And the restaurant was really cute—trying to give a sense of what it was like to eat out around 1890, 1900, I think. Mismatched old china and silverware (I think real silver), re-using wine bottles for water carafes on the table, real cute. Vintage pots and pans hanging on the wall. They had an associated bar where the theme was even stronger—I should have taken a picture of the bar. (We shared a green gazpacho to start, which was cool-and-spicy awesomeness; the broth on my friend’s rabbit stew was superb; my fish wasn’t anything special. Prices far higher than in 1900, naturally. In fact, I bet the 1900-class-equivalent wouldn’t have looked like that, and would have had matching china, but that doesn’t bother me.)
But you know where I draw the line?
First, the menu is only on a chalkboard, because, “it changes every day.” Yeah, lots of restaurants change the menu every day, and they print out menus. That’s what a personal computer and a $100 laser printer is for. Also, I once read an O. Henry story where a woman typing the daily menus for the restaurant downstairs was a critical plot point, so I’m not buying the chalkboard on grounds of authenticity either.
I might have let it go if you could see the chalkboard from all the tables, but the restaurant was three small rooms connected, so if we hadn’t picked a table right near it, I would have spent 15 minutes standing at the door, staring.
Second, the extensive wine list and cocktail menu were on paper, but although clearly produced on a computer (see? I know y’all have one), were pretending to have been typed on an actual typewriter, in some sort of “Authentic Old Underwood Typewriter” font with things like a wonky serif on the “a”, etc, and the lines deliberately mis-aligned in the left margin, and just….come on. Really?