Saturday, November 24, 2012

Conceptual narcolepsy.

It never fails. I read these two seemingly harmless words, and there follows an immediate hair trigger inclination toward propulsive nausea.

Restaurant concept.

But didn't the very notion of "restaurant concept" put the soulless in exurbia? Tiki bars. Honky tonks. Olive Garden. Identical “neighborhood” bistros in 4,234 strip malls nationwide. Texas Roadhouse. Piano bars. The list goes on and on, past Papa John’s assembly line plasticized pizzas and over the horizon to the next PF Chang’s.

Somewhere amid Dante’s infernal rings, restaurant concept mongers occupy torture chambers lined with molten inauthentic intent, right alongside contract brewed Americana beer labels like Pabst.

Isn’t it time for a genuine Portuguese fado "restaurant concept" with port-infused Red Bull cocktails and 34 different bottomless tripe stew recipes? And imported Super Bock (it is neither, though passable ice cold) on tap? There might be deep-fried barnacles; you know, just throw the shells on the floor, and the minimum wage workers will sweep up.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that my Lisbon "restaurant concept" would work in America, unless we might wangle Jimmy Buffett to sing the haunting Fado in mock calypso, but – damn it all – he’s already licensed for the Cheesburger in Paradise concept and the Landshark Lager megabrewed contract pet shampoo.

Rant over. I'd say it's time for a bleedin' nightcap, but the concept of a nightcap is so very limited … except at our new "concept bar”: Nightcaps – Open all the time because you can’t drink all day and have a nightcap afterward unless you start drinking in the morning … aw, never mind.

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