New York Times food critic Frank Bruni blogged today about an interesting subject I’d never considered: the music that fancy restaurants play during mealtimes. You’ll have to dig through an informative but lengthy preamble to get to the real meat — a recent playlist used by the chef from Culver City, Calif.’s Fraîche, who shows surprisingly well-developed, indie-heavy taste. Nibbling on monkfish medallions to the sweet strains of “Top Ranking” by Blonde Redhead (pictured)? Humming along to the Pixies’ “Wave of Mutilation” whilst chewing some parchment-cooked branzino? I’d never have thought of ‘em myself, but those sound like delicious ideas! And I gotta love the sly way Fraîche slipped in a few excellent food- and drink-related tunes — Modest Mouse’s “Blame it on the Tetons” (“Blame it on the weekends/God, I need a cola now”), Elliott Smith’s “Baby Britain” (“Baby Britain feels the best/Floating over a sea of vodka”), Sinead O’Connor’s “Petit Poulet” (which I am going to go ahead and assume is a song about some sort of tasty French chicken stew). With puns like those, even the most absurdly jacked-up menu prices are bound to feel a little more worthwhile.
Then again, hazy indie-pop isn’t everyone’s cup of gourmet hand-selected tea. What kind of music would you prefer to hear at the high-end dining establishment of your choice? And have background tunes ever significantly affected a meal for you, positively or negatively?