Here in New York City, the Health Department has their restaurant reports online. Blue Hill, where the Obamas ate on their date night, scored a 24 (the lower, the better. The average score in NYC is 16.) The violations as of the last inspection:
1.) Toilet facility not maintained and provided with toilet paper, waste receptacle and self-closing door.
2.) Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.
3.) Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.
4.) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations.
Blue Hill isn’t a bust-loose restaurant. Its splendor is the quietest of splendors; its pleasures are meted out in a studied, measured fashion. It’s a restaurant for the brain and the soul, not for the heart, not for the viscera.
The Obamas’ choice of it does, though, show taste. And it affirms their interest in participating in the current conversation and in the cultural moment — on the subject of food as on so much else.
Who knew having a bathroom with toilet paper was a pleasure to be meted out in a studied, measured fashion?