The prix-fixe tasting menu at chef Jose Garces's Philadelphia restaurant Volvér provides quite a spectacle (read Ryan Sutton's review here), but a recent review by the Philadelphia Inquirer's Craig LaBan reveals an additional, jarring element — the presentation of a cell phone charger, mid-meal. In LaBan's review, the critic notes that "between the sardine course and the live scallop, our waiter brought a silver platter bearing a phone charger: 'Is your battery running low? A lot of people like to Instagram while they're here, and we wouldn't want you to run out of power.'"
According to LaBan, the urge to encourage social media during the experience probably stems from the restaurant's high price tag ($500 for two), giving access to those "who would never dream of spending this kind of money" on a meal. But while many of the plates were "camera-ready gorgeous," LaBan laments that many performative elements were "superficial and excessive," representing a "gastrono-me!-me!-me!" approach. Two bells out of four.
· Garces' Volvér Overdoes the Culinary Performance Art [Philly.com]
· All Volver Coverage on Eater [-E-]