The Restaurant Reviewer
The Restaurant Reviewer, a love story Originally published on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, The Restaurant Reviewer, a novel, tells a story of lovers, loss, grieving, and healing, and is dedicated to the People of New York City. Set in lower Manhattan in the wake of 9/11, The Restaurant Reviewer focuses on an old family-owned restaurant, Booths, whose devoted chef and proprietor, Matthias Constantine, has collapsed from a stroke. The novel addresses the question facing his family and friends of whether, and how, his restaurant can survive. The answers explore connections to place, memory, and the passage of time. The story is narrated by Shaylie Drinan, a restaurant reviewer for a major newspaper, who finds herself drawn inexorably into the conflict at Booths through her lover, Damian Constantine, Matthias's son. The resolution she brings to the story affirms the goodness of food, the meaning of love. Matthias Constantine has spent his life preparing and refining the fare at his restaurant, a steakhouse on the Bowery that was founded by his immigrant grandfather and is now a clubhouse for City Hall politicians. His only help in the kitchen, and his avid protege, is Armand Fenner, who was abandoned to the streets as a child and rescued by Matthias. Years before Matthias collapsed his wife died in a car crash in front of the restaurant. His son, Damian, witnessed the scene of his mother's death and took off for the West Coast as soon as he could to get away from the memory. He returned a dozen years later to try to leverage the restaurant's real estate into lucrative investments for himself. In this plan he enlisted Tally Lee, a powerful politician who first came to Booths as a teenager to work as a waitress, befriended a City Council candidate and bore his daughter, and subsequently rose in Manhattan politics to become a Party boss. The effects of the stroke leave Matthias Constantine weakened but create the conditions for his restaurant's renewal. The catalyst for its future is the manager Damian hires to assist his father, a disillusioned doctor who wants to switch careers and hopes to take over Booths one day. The doctor, trying to enhance the restaurant's image and increase its business, unwittingly turns it into the venue that fosters romance between Matthias's protege, Fenner, and Tally Lee's beloved daughter, Benita, a talented singer. By creating beautiful dishes to please Benita, Fenner brings the restaurant to new heights-and threatens those who would destroy and forget it. The Restaurant Reviewer weaves the fears, conflicts, hopes and ambitions of its characters into an exploration of what endures in the wake of loss."
- Paperback | 362 pages
- 133.35 x 203.2 x 20.83mm | 485.34g
- 05 Jun 2015
- Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
- United States
- black & white illustrations
About Nao Hauser
Nao Hauser is a food/culture/travel journalist who has written about restaurants in New York City and all over the world for Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, and many other magazines and newspapers. Her other novels include "Bronoff's Rules" and "An Imperfect Candidate." She lives in Manhattan, where the devastation she witnessed on 9/11 inspired her to express in The Restaurant Reviewer her appreciation of the enduring beauty of New York City, its history, and its depth of humanity."