There’s nothing new about writing your way through a tasting menu at one of the world’s most lauded restaurants. There is something new, though, about doing so while also being honest with your preconceptions about the restaurant and its clientele; to do so is to risk coming off like a jackass in the process. Armed with a keen descriptive voice and a dash of self-deprecation, Jason Stewart manages to steer his way through.

Like with any exclusive club, the general rule is that the crowd worsens as the years tick by, and it’s no surprise that René is shutting down next year; I’d pull the rip cord too, mate.

I imagine the edimental salad days, back when gourmand freaks with open minds and food writers craving the next big thing lined the reservation book. I got a feel for the evening’s clientele with a welcoming cider: crypto bros, ponytailed tech virgins with bottles of añejo for the chef, and their TikToking wives along for the clout-chasing ride. I’m sure these folks like eating food, but do they really deserve to eat here, the Vatican for the global food bro?

Exclusivity isn’t always bad, so long as you can exclude the right people.