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Bush Press Conference, a restaurant review

April 29, 2005

Last night at the 1600 Pennsylvania Cafe, Chef Bush served a lightly sauteed goulash of nice words based on a bed of rehashed lies, with a garnish of word games and a lovely side of breaded bullcrap. While similar to fare offered by this establishment in the past, the presentation was somewhat less inept than this reviewer has experienced on previous occasions.

In this reviewer's opinion, the least appealing aspect of the evening's ambience was the sense that the chef was simultaneously trying too hard and phoning it in. The kitschy attempts to tie together the various courses was a continuing disappointment. The flavors evoked were acceptable if taken at face value, but when corn pone is presented as polenta, one cannot help but experience a sense of disappointment.

While many patrons seemed focused on the Social Security stew, I steered clear of  that, having sampled it in the past and found it decidedly wanting of substance. Instead, I ordered the most recent addition to the menu, the Energy Policy goulash, described in the opening graf. While quite obviously it was hurriedly put together from ingredients at hand, it was a creative pastiche of elements that one wouldn't normally think possible of creating a substantive whole. To the degree that Chef Bush was able to pull off even the appearance of cohesion (provided one doesn't examine this "gift horse" too closely) it was a testament to his ability to "sell it", as they say in show biz.

The dessert choice of Iraq souffle, which arrived already deflated and, I must say, obviously warmed over was deeply unsatisfying. I returned it to the kitchen and requested the Religious flambe instead. This choice also failed to live up to expectations. Chef Bush's supporters often tout this as his best dish, but I found tonight's attempt bland and without flavor. I suspect that the spate of bad publicity surrounding his recent addition of Judges as a primary seasoning resulted in an attempt at simply playing it safe.

The lowlight of the evening was the North Korean appertifs. I watched other patrons attempt to choke down these concoctions, but for a restaurant with a reputation (dare one say fool-hardy reputation?) for the unprecedented, it appeared to this reviewer those who did imbibe found it strangely weak and striking a decidely false note.

Overall, one would expect this establishment to have gone out of business months ago, but I'm told it still remains popular among a relatively small (and shrinking) subset of the dining public. One would hope that further exposure to this restaurant's fare would eventually discourage even the die-hard aficianados, and a dignified end could be put to the whole shoddy establishment. Furthermore, I can only pray that the Chef's brother find another line of work, saving the public from another round of substandard dining. This is a culinary dynasty that has survived long past it's prime.

Dr. Laniac, 
Senior Food Critic
Dr. Laniac's Laboratory