North of South Beach

My consort and I have cut back so radically on going out to restaurants that choosing one can take me the better part of a day, especially when we’re hooking up with other people. Paralysis of analysis would be an understatement once I abandon my little notebook and the weekly magazines and descend into the bottomless pits of Menupages and blogs, with their Chang Kool-Aid and KFC kraziness. What I want seems pretty straightforward: Food at least more interesting than I could cook at home. Entree prices that leave some money for the elixir of life. A noise level at least slightly below Bedlam. (Why go out to talk when you can’t hear?) And Jeebus, is that one unfillable prescription. But I learned something from this latest bout of angst, when I thought back on the restaurant formerly known as Montrachet, where braying Wall Street jackasses were doing everything but peeing into the eggplant terrine just before the Eighties crash: The more buzz a restaurant gets, the less appealing it now seems. Given that heat attracts assholes and inspires attitude, trendy can wait.