Anthony Bourdain; Dinner Rush; Food Network |


Food fiends who witnessed Emeril Legasse’s soggy NBC sitcom getting sent back to the kitchen should consider a new dish: pie à la modem. The Internet offers enough treats to satisfy most every palate. We sampled online fare and—true to foodie form—couldn’t resist offering our own piquant opinions. Here’s what was on our menu:

ANTHONY BOURDAIN ( The roguishly witty Bourdain recently followed up his best-selling 2000 restaurant memoir Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (a film version of which will star Brad Pitt) with a new tome, A Cook’s Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal. In it, he recounts such culinary adventures as tooling around Saigon in pursuit of a live cobra heart. If only his official site were so exciting. In fact, the only evidence of this still-working chef’s quirks and caustic charm is in a rundown of his 20 all-time favorite reads. (His tastes run from Lolita to Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk.) Elsewhere, you can watch and hear him reading from Confidential, buy his early works (culinary mysteries), and read what he did before he got his gastronomical start (dropped out of college). But all this is merely garnish: Even without the stale and shameless Confidential promotion, the site is about as appealing as wilted watercress. C+

DINNER RUSH ( Unlike the indie sleeper hit that chronicles the behind-the-booths bustle at a TriBeca restaurant, the Dinner Rush website eschews frenetic energy in favor of calm elegance. (Not that actually visiting the site is calm or elegant: Due to technical glitches, you practically need a reservation to enter.) Inside, all looks pleasant and inviting—but after some nibbling, it’s clear what’s lacking is real meat. You’ll find all the basic info—the standard cast bios (Danny Aiello, as the restaurant’s owner, leads the ensemble), extensive production notes, and streaming film clips—but not much in the way of truly creative content. We recommend heading straight for the recipes section (which features rustic faves like manicoretti with mushrooms and cream) and then the movie itself. B

FOOD NETWORK ( A virtual greenmarket of gustatory delights, the Food Network’s online hub offers an elephantine recipe archive, streaming videos that demonstrate techniques from simple braising to collaring soufflés, and basic info on their myriad shows (each one has its own minisite). The Chef’s Life section lets foodies get valuable menu-navigating advice from working pastry chefs and sauciers, and even includes how-I-started-out stories from kitchen gods like Bobby Flay. If you’re feeling extra creative, enter one of the site’s online cook-offs, in which participants vie to concoct everything from Thanksgiving stuffing to chili. And while there are plenty of flagrantly camera-ready celebrity chefs (even Survivor 2’s resident rice-wrecker Keith Famie has his own show), the site also plays host to such Wusthof-wielding hotties as Jamie ”Naked Chef” Oliver. Rather thoughtfully, in his section, a dictionary of the Brit’s slang is provided to get you through his half hour. As a matter of fact, we think this site is ”lovely jubbly.” A-