What is Rick Moonen’s take on the evolution of fine dining?
It’s certainly being redefined. That’s really what I’m trying to do in the upstairs space at rm seafood, reconceptualize a fine-dining restaurant that’s kind like “eh.” People don’t want to sit down and have three hours of structured meals. It’s too ceremonious. I think some of the ceremony is coming out of fine dining. It’s becoming more relaxed. It’s still delivering surprises in textures and flavors of perceptional high-end ingredients, so I think that’s where fine dining is evolving. There’s still all of the steps of service, feeling catered to and pampered so that your needs are being attended to, but it’s not in the same pretentious environment that it has been in the past. Those restaurants are around and always will be. If you’re going to go to an upscale restaurant, you’re going to expect a specific experience, but that’s not something you do on a regular basis. Fine dining is still more of a “get dressed up, go out, get treated well,” but less formality.