Marketing Marc Vetri’s soon-to-be-released cookbook (due out next month), Craig LaBan wrote a flattering piece on Marc Vetri today, claiming he’s brought “real Italian” to a red-gravy town. While I love Marc Verti as much as any Italophile, I wonder, though, how true LaBan’s claim actually is.
How many red-gravy eaters have managed to get a table at Vetri? More importantly, even if they could get in, would they or could they afford the high price tag?
Vetri is a brilliant restauranteur, no doubt, carving out a niche market in the most savvy of ways. He’s also one of our country’s most talented chefs: a modern alchemist well-versed in Italian traditions he drives towards highly creative practice. His creations represent a lifetime of experience, much like Paola Navone’s Andaman bed, yet remain largely inaccessible to the average Philadelphian (whose median family income is less than $50K), and just about all “real” Italians I know living here. Pazienza!
Isn’t it high time for LaBan to storyboard some of the city’s “real Italian” chefs: Luciana Spurio of Le Virtu or Luca Garutti of L’Oca? While Vetri may very well be a Pied Piper of Philadelphia’s culinary Renaissance, tell me: how many of the city’s one and a half million has he “brought real Italian” to?