From Publishers Weekly
As much a love letter to the Big Easy as it is to the demanding (and sometimes debauched) lifestyle of a chef, horror maven Brite's (Lost Souls) first foray into the trendy genre of foodie lit is a winsome entree. New Orleans natives and lovers John Rickey and Gary "G-man" Stubbs, affable characters from Brite's recent coming-of-age/coming-out tale The Value of X, decide to capitalize on Rickey's brainchild of opening a restaurant with a "whole menu based on liquor." Word passes through the gossipy Nola restaurant scene that two up-and-comers have a hot concept but no money, and soon enough, Rickey and G-man find themselves backed by celebrity chef Lenny Duveteaux, known as "the Nixon of the New Orleans restaurant world" for his habit of taping his phone conversations. At first doubtful of Lenny's motives, the two come to regard him as a mentor even as they question some of his choices. In one of the many conflicts that Brite embroils her main characters (all of which are fun but not too convincing), the yats (colloquial for natives) have to fend off increasingly threatening actions from Rickey's former boss, cokehead Mike Mouton, while experimenting with dishes like white rumlaced fettuccine Alfredo and veal kidneys à la liégeoise. Although Brite rolls her eyes aplenty at the silly dramas and pretensions inherent in any urban restaurant scene, her affection for it is heartfelt. The plot is pretty boilerplate, but Brite's characters are as refreshingly unpretentious as a healthy helping of comfort food.
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Cult horror novelist Brite's new book offers quite a change of pace: a fictional foray into the wild and highly competitive foodie scene in New Orleans. The plot centers on two brilliant but underappreciated line chefs who come up with a new concept--a first-class dining establishment where the entire menu comprises dishes prepared with alcohol in one form or another, from whiskey to exotic liqueurs. This is a high-energy tale of restaurant intrigue, but there are also plenty of straightforward, realistic scenes depicting the lives of the small army of people who manage to create exotic meals that seem to materialize effortlessly at one's table. Brite serves up course after course of culinary passion and politics, sauteed in humor and garnished with the history of the Big Easy. Like Timothy Taylor's Stanley Park
(2002), it will be an eye-opener for anyone who has never seen what really goes on behind the scenes in a fine-dining kitchen. So kick back, put on a zydeco CD, and dig in. Elliott SwansonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved