The Nine Circles of South Florida Restaurant Hell
In the early 14th Century, the Italian writer Dante Alighieri penned an epic poem called The Divine Comedy. In it, he imagined himself on a journey through Hell, Purgatory and finally into Paradise (aka, heaven). Hell, he found, was composed of nine concentric circles, each representing a sin more grievous than the last.
Never having dined in South Florida restaurants, Dante's understanding of Hell was somewhat limited. But if he had been able to take a meal at any number of our stellar dining establishments, he may have written something like this. . .
Circle 1: Limbo. Also known as "the bar," Limbo is where those who have sinned by not being important enough to have their reservations honored are condemned to languish for eternity. Or at least until all the important people have been seated.
Circle 2: Lust. This is South Florida--looks are everything. So the hot hostess with the skirt up to her crotch is a graduate of the Paris Hilton School for the Dim, and the waiter who looks like George Clooney has more muscles between his ears than in his gym-toned abdomen.
Circle 3: Gluttony. "Gluttony" is another word for "steakhouse,"
one of which is required by state law to be located on every block from
Key West to West Palm Beach. After all, you haven't really dined until
you've eaten your own weight in dead cow.
Circle 4: Avarice.
Don't call it "greed," call it "upselling." Would you like fries with
that, sir? How about truffle fries? With fresh white truffles? What, a
problem with your bill? Yes, sir, the burger was $10. And the fries were
$175. Did I forget to mention the price?
Circle 5: Wrath and
Sullenness. This circle of Hell is filled almost exclusively with
South Florida servers, who are righteously pissed they had to take time
out from trying to land their own reality show on Bravo to serve your
Circle 6: Heresy. Chefs are the main
offenders here, having blasphemed the gospel of Saint Alice of Waters:
"Thou shalt not serve any vegetable out of season, nor meat that is
unnatural, nor any food with preservatives, nor take the name of our
Lord, Michael Pollan, in vain."
Circle 7: Violence.
"Fresh burrata cheese stuffed with fresh strawberries cooked in amaretto
and vanilla bean, then sprinkled with crispy pancetta and extra virgin
olive oil served on a bed of arugula." That's an actual restaurant dish;
it should be felony assault.
Circle 8: Fraud. Guess
what? Your credit card was just used to buy $1,000 worth of sex toys in
Times Square. The nice waiter who served you last night must have swiped
it through a card skimmer. Good luck explaining that charge to hubby.
9: Betrayal. "Yes, sir, all our fish is fresh." (From the
freezer.) "Of course that's genuine Kobe beef." (From Fred Kobe, who
raises cattle in Nebraska.) "Absolutely, ma'am, your coffee is decaf."
(You'll be getting to sleep around 6 a.m.) Sucker.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to South Florida dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.