Coming Out of Hiding

Johannes

As his ad purports, Fruhwirt wants his restaurant to be the "common dwelling place of all the gods" in that he treats patrons as if they've just descended from Olympus. He frequently journeys from the kitchen to inquire about meals, adjust utensils, and cater to every whim. Giovanni is gracious to a fault, going so far one night as to accommodate some truly obnoxious patrons who couldn't make do with a generous European wine list, which, while not inexpensive, offers some very nice, dry Rieslings. These folks, who took it upon themselves to turn the eatery into a smoking restaurant, journeyed to a nearby liquor store for a bottle of vodka, which they purchased to accompany classically served beluga caviar (at $45 an ounce). Once settled in, however, they insisted that Giovanni mix them martinis, which he did using juice that Fruhwirt had to squeeze from blood oranges. Talk about catering to every whim.

Of course people have to pay for these kinds of privileges. Appetizers range from $9 to $19, and main courses start at $26; more expensive items like the Kobe beef filet mignon sell for $9 per ounce, and a half-kilo of caviar (18 ounces) runs the intrepid diner a mere $534. While the effort Fruhwirt extends seems sincere, these are hardly prices for the average mortal, and they're certainly not justified by dishes that, while good, are not always served at the right temperature.

The J leads the way to Johannes Fruhwirt and his calamari and wakame salad
Melissa Jones
The J leads the way to Johannes Fruhwirt and his calamari and wakame salad

The prospect of such an expensive evening is almost enough to make one forgo the dessert offerings of a cheese plate (ours was Brie; another night Stilton was the offering), homemade sorbets, or the Havana-flavored bananas, soaked in rum and baked. Difficult customer or no, everyone at Johannes pays up in the end -- though I suspect if the bill totals more than you anticipated, the short-staffed Fruhwirt could always use some help with the dishes.

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