Huge food news: Eva Longoria has announced she is opening a "modern boutique steak house"! In Las Vegas! For women. According to a local website Vegas Seven, the space will be called ‘She’, is due to open this New Year, and ‘is pitching itself as a dining destination to see and be seen at.’
First some background on Eva Longoria and her food credentials. The former Desperate Housewife is a renowned entrepreneur in the US. She currently owns a restaurant (Beso) and Nightclub (Eve) in Las Vegas. Restaurant highlights include a baby grand piano and ‘Eva’s Tortilla Soup’, a snip at $10. And, as anyone who has seen Eva recently will testify, who wouldn’t want to eat one of her recipes?
But I digress. Because the real point here is exactly what qualifies as a women’s restaurant? And why does she think we need one? According to Eva, a women’s restaurant needs a catwalk, 3D projection mapping, tiered seating around a central dance floor, cryogenic fog and rain curtains. Me? I’m not so sure. Because not only does fog wreak havoc with my weak-as lungs, it’s thought the theme of the restaurant will be 1920s, complete with sexy female dancers performing as you eat. What’s more, the menu will predominantly consist of small bites ‘to appeal to the ladies’.
Obviously, the whole notion of a women’s restaurant is heinous. I mean how on earth can we tackle the monstrous inequality of men’s clubs if we build our own. With fog? The necessity of legislation gunning for equal rights aside, there will always be places where men go to escape from women and vice versa. Historically, men like sheds and women like spas. In 2012 these rules are blurred somewhat (not least because who among you first time buyers has a garden let alone a shed?) but a restaurant certainly isn’t gender dependent. I go to them with friends, family and boyfriends. It’s probably the only place you can go to with your father where people won’t assume he’s a sugar daddy. So the thought of one which bans men? No thanks.
With that in mind, here are my alternatives for Eva’s restaurant:
The small plates
This might sound a bit out there, but when I go to restaurants I like to eat food. Small plates are fine done properly – cicchetti and tapas, for one – but I like a choice. Sometimes I’ll eat a whole chicken (at Tramshed), or a 1kg steak (at Banca). Other times I’ll just take some meatballs (at Ombra). But a choice, Eva, and certainly not something which is for women. No food is primarily for women.
To me, a women’s restaurant wouldn’t have a catwalk. When eating I try not to think of clothes, models and walking. I try to think of food and, at a push, remembering to close my mouth. So in its place, I suggest nothing. No catwalk. No models. Just a slightly larger bathroom with nice lighting, plants and some stuff from Cowshed.
I’m not sure what 2D projection mapping is but I’d hazard it would be side-lined by the dancefloor. Wooo – a dancefloor.
Again, dancers aren’t something I want to think about when eating. Why would a woman want to watch another woman dance while she’s eating Eva’s soup? And no I wouldn’t prefer male dancers. How about no dancers and instead proper waiters with room to move and who don’t ask how your meal is every 14 seconds.
The cryogenic fog and rain curtains
Again, man-made fog and rain don’t really rank as a necessity of the dining experience.