People are dogpiling on a new fine-dining restaurant for dogs, as San Francisco once again out-San Franciscos itself with a stunning new breed of income inequality.
You have perhaps seen that bizarre gourmet dog food delivery TV commercial with some bro seemingly straight from the cast of HBO's Silicon Valley who delights that his dog has “high quality poops.” So high-end dog food for the vested-tech-shares crowd is already a thing, and hey, I don’t begrudge any business that finds new ways to separate suckers from their money. And some Bay Area restaurants already cater to this sector of wealthy people who like to bring their dogs to dinner — Angler, the Cavalier, and the chain Lazy Dog (which has locations in Concord and San Mateo) already offer separate menus for dogs.
But the fur started flying on Monday when the Chronicle reported that a fine dining restaurant exclusively for dogs has opened on Valencia Street, with the new place called Dogue offering a “$75 tasting menu” every Sunday, for dogs. The feature included a photo of two dog friends, one wearing a bowtie, sitting on a banquette in front of two dishes of fancy food, including some very human-worthy steak tartare.
By Wednesday, the Chron reported on a social media backlash against the dog restaurant, with complaints like “This signals the collapse,” and “As if the rest of the country didn’t hate us enough already.”
Rome, 400 AD: dog restaurant with $75 tasting menu offers dishes like "chicken-skin waffle perched on a globe-shaped coconut charcoal custard," "pastured egg yolk nestled in a stunningly green spirulina meringue 'cloud,' decorated with wild flower petals." https://t.co/HxAMHJiHRq— Ajit Pai (@AjitPai) October 6, 2022
Yes, that is Trump’s former FCC Commissioner and anti-Net Neutrality asshole Ajit Pai chiming in above in what (I think?) is supposed to be an unflattering historical comparison. We will pepper this post with more of the Twitter blowback against the $75 prix fixe doggie diner. (The fall-of-Rome analogy was also popular this week with VC king Marc Andreessen.)
When the revolution comes, everyone bringing dogs to this restaurant better run. https://t.co/Bnzp2FZ7a0— Sarah Nadav (@sarahnadav) October 6, 2022
So what in the late-stage-capitalism hell is served at a high-end dog restaurant? Per the Chronicle, menu items include a soup with “slices of braised chicken breast and infused with chaga mushrooms,” and a “chicken-skin waffle perched on a globe-shaped coconut charcoal custard served on a striking charcoal plate," and "a pastured egg yolk nestled in a stunningly green spirulina meringue ‘cloud,’ decorated with wild flower petals."
The $75 tasting menu is apparently only served on Sundays. The normal everyday offerings include “elegant pastries, like a rose-shaped cake filled with wild venison heart and a doggy petit gâteau modeled after the creations of acclaimed French pastry chef Cédric Grolet,” according to the Chronicle’s report.
“My approach is to treat this as if it was a human restaurant,” Dogue owner Rahmi Massarweh, a former chef at human-food restaurants, told the Chronicle. “For me and my wife, there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for our family, for our dogs. They give us so much. The most [sic?] I can do is make them a meal that looks good.”
Who needs public safety and affordable housing when you can have… a fine dining restaurant for dogs! https://t.co/eY99rx0Bv7— Axel Cureno-Basurto (@axelcureno) October 4, 2022
The Chron’s report describes the dogs taken there as shibu inus and a Yorkshire terrier. So obviously, these are not rescue pups. And come on, $75 for food served to animals who would otherwise eat their own vomit? Yes, it’s a niche appeal, but remember that these incredibly pricey dog indulgence businesses are a highly unregulated industry, and have not been immune from accusations of abuse and mistreatment.
A $75 dog meal is certainly an “only in San Francisco” phenomenon. Let's just hope this isn't followed by an even more “only in San Francisco” crime moment — like a high-end dog restaurant being hit with a dog-napping of some multiple-thousand-dollar dog guests.
Image: Amy C. via Yelp