Fancy San Francisco restaurant serving food on iPads

Commentary: The very chichi Quince offers a dish that is, well, expensively plated.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Looks lovely, doesn't it?

Richie Nakano/Twitter screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When you're a fancy restaurant, it's not enough to be just posh these days.

You have to claim a certain level of creativity.

Who cannot be bewitched, therefore, by a dish being served at very upscale San Francisco restaurant Quince?

It's called "A Dog In Search Of Gold" and I fear the less polite might wonder what the person who invented this delicacy was in search of at the time.

My own guess is either art or publicity. Or, perhaps, both.

For this dish involves white truffle croquettes with a slight twist. They're reportedly being served on iPads that feature a video of water dogs on the hunt for truffles.

How very imaginative, you might think. Or how very San Francisco. Or even how very, thoroughly nauseating.

An image of the dish was tweeted by local chef Richie Nakano on Tuesday. Although I'm sure it tastes delicious -- Quince has three Michelin stars -- some might think it has all the visual edification of expectorating in church.

It's tempting to see serving such a thing as an example of precisely the excess for which San Francisco is currently renowned -- excess of hubris, excess of sanctimoniousness and excess of tastelessness.

Michael Tusk, chef and owner of Quince, told me he never set out to capture a younger audience, but "really to work on fun collaborations and have a humorous or whimsical start to the meal."

But what about the hygienic aspect? Tusk told me: "The iPad slips in and out of the box and we designed a sheath that is cleaned after each order. The food does not directly sit on top of the iPad at all."

"The iPads are removable and sit on top of cleanable screen that is sanitized after every order," he added.

Tusk said he first experimented with the idea two years ago. He wasn't alone.

Last year, the Daily Mail reported that British chefs were suffering a burst of creative plating, that included serving food on garbage-can lids and, yes, iPads.

It may be that, in person, these truffles offer a divinity of taste coupled with a sublime sense of place, as we consider precisely how the truffles were found and by whom. After all, it's part of a $220 tasting menu, so it should have a good story attached.

Tusk's story? "Living in San Francisco for over 20 years I have witnessed the tech boom and I wanted to combine a little bit of gastronomy with technology and a little bit of education," he told me.

I fear, though, that it will only inspire other elevated chefs to start putting caviar on Amazon Echos, delicate amuse-bouches on iPhones and Belgian cheese plates on the new MacBook Pros.

Although, in the last case, I know that some think that's as good a use for the new MacBooks Pro as you can find.

Updated: 2:15 p.m. PT: adds comment from Quince Chef Michael Tusk.

Tusk's own image of the dish.

Michael Tusk


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