Chez Reason

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

From Slate’s pretty clever list of magazine-themed restaurants:

Reason Restaurant
This no-frills spot encourages diners to bring their own food or buy meals off other patrons. If you do use the menu, take care not to order the same thing as your friend—the brusque waiters may dismiss you as a “second-hander.” The kitchen’s philosophy is appealing if ultimately incoherent, relying heavily on absinthe, hemp, and foie gras. Desserts are a specialty: Order one of the famous gingerbread houses “eminent-domain style” and a waiter dressed as Uncle Sam will whisk it away just as your children start to dig in. They’ll go home crying, but they’ll have learned a valuable lesson about tyranny. Smokers welcome.

I don’t think an Agitator.com restaurant would stay in business long. Most customers would lose their appetites after reading the depressing, sometimes infuriating menu. On the other hand, we’d serve lots of bacon. And bourbon. And bacon-infused bourbon. And health codes be damned, there would be a lovable dog sleeping under every table.

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11 Responses to “Chez Reason

  1. #1 |  InMD | 

    I do like the idea of dogs sitting around with you while you eat (and drink) inside a restaurant. In Europe I saw it all the time (and have seen it a few times on the patio at Tir Na Nog in Baltimore).

  2. #2 |  Marty | 

    I love the idea of an Agitator saloon, though!

  3. #3 |  Tsu Dho Nihm | 

    I could use a good bourbon about now…

  4. #4 |  MDGuy | 

    I went to college in St. Mary’s county MD. There’s a great little bar down there called the Green Door. I haven’t been in a couple years so I don’t know if they still allow it, but everyone used to bring their dogs in. Some of the dogs were more well-known around the bar than their owners. They had a great Monday night special too – $5 for a pitcher of beer and a pizza, $6 if you wanted something better than the swill.

  5. #5 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I don’t think an Agitator.com restaurant would stay in business long. Most customers would lose their appetites after reading the depressing, sometimes infuriating menu. On the other hand, we’d serve lots of bacon. And bourbon. And bacon-infused bourbon. And health codes be damned, there would be a lovable dog sleeping under every table.

    And cops would have to check their weapons and their egos at the door.

  6. #6 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    Won’t you have enough problems get repeat business, what with the constant SWAT raids, without giving them dogs to shoot in front of the customers?

  7. #7 |  Mike T | 

    TheAgitator restaurant, a puppy with every kid’s meal

  8. #8 |  Andrew S. | 

    The dogs would have to have little doggy bulletproof vests for the inevitable SWAT raids.

    Puppies and oodles of bacon? I’d eat there on a daily basis!

  9. #9 |  David | 

    You’re putting bacon and dogs at every table and you expect the people to eat anything?

  10. #10 |  Scott Lahti | 

    Commentary

    The dour manager of 40 years recently handed the keys to his son who, though larger of girth, oddly tips the scales at less than half his dad’s weight (cf. the NRO, below, minus the Dad-and-grad turn). Signature dishes: cloudy mushroom soup, warmed-over borscht.

    The Nation

    The split among staff between vegetarians and carnivores dates back 70 years, with the latter admitting that the slaughter alike of both the world’s cattle and half the staff of the restaurant’s foreign franchises, while “regrettable” “excesses”, is the price of Progress in ensuring More Abundant Meals For All. If you make the mistake of bringing up inter-eatery espionage, be prepared to listen to protestations of martyrdom long past closing time by the sons and daughters of those so accused among the waitstaff clearing your table.

    National Review Online

    On the vestibule wall, a Latin-framed photo of the dart-tongued founder leaning at a 45-degree angle holding a clipboard with the first menu. When you ask the smirking head waiter after the availability of organic vegetables, free-range poultry or Eurobrews, he tells you how, given the penchant of early C20 Italian naturists for enjoying all of those, he persuaded the owners to stick with spare ribs, home fries with gravy and Budweiser. The maîtresse d’ never misses a chance to promote the hot-cross buns and the various “cruciferous” vegetables.

    The New Republic

    Oil portraits of Woodrow Wilson, John Dewey and two Singers, the sewing-machine pioneer and the writer Isaac Bashevis, line the vestibule. The entire staff, not excepting the hat-check girl, studied at Harvard. Your waiter may, before being fired, recommend outlandish specials that do not in fact exist, the head chef’s prior gig was in the Israeli Defense Force, and all the Kosher dessert specialties from the glum Brillo-pated pastry chef leave you feeling sadder but wiser, and self-mockingly guilty.

    Vanity Fair

    The glossy decor is betrayed by occasional reminders among the legacy wall photos that those owning the restaurant’s nameplate in the Jazz Age could tell stories to set the current team to fits of envy. Your waiter is at once unctuous and preoccupied with scanning the other tables the better not to miss all patrons more glamorous than you. Where some establishments have their “no flashbulbs” rules, this one reverses course in training waitstaff in the arts of makeup and shutter speeds. And every night you’ve been there, so has a sleepy-eyed Charlie Rose.

    The Wall Street Journal

    The middle column of the menu cover, continued on the reverse, affords an offbeat profile of the establishment’s early decades, with the daily specials in two dedicated columns left of center. Signature dishes, e.g., a crusty chicken dish nicknamed the “Vermont Rooster” by old-time patrons, are illustrated in anachronist dot-pointillism. The opinionated dessert menu on the inside-back-page spread is much in demand among Sun Belt retirees in plaid golf pants watching FNC at the bar, though thanks to shifts in the national climate, there has been trouble of late on the supply side. The bar now offers on-tap Foster’s.

  11. #11 |  Andrew Williams | 

    Bourbon and bacon. Is there anything they can’t do?

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