Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler defines the crucial transition from girl to woman, from living in a place that feels like nowhere to living in a place that feels like the center of the universe. (cover blurb)
Our heroine, Tess, is a flawed slightly naïve young lady who gets a job at a known Manhattan restaurant. There she learns the art of eating – a celebration of palate, sweet, bitter, salt and the textures involved in food. Simone the all-knowing connoisseur senior server teaches Tess about the fine art of service. Jake, the elusive bartender, is a mystery and teaches her heartbreak.
Champagne, oysters, cocaine, lust, love, and dive bars - Tess runs in a nonstop world. The book covers a year and the pace is fast and tantalizing. Danler’s writing is wry, descriptive, and rich. She immerses you in the restaurant world. I wanted to visit her fictionalized places – eat, drink wine, and enjoy New York nightlife or lowlife.
p.6 Salt: your mouth waters itself. Flakes from Brittany, liquescent on contact. Blocks of pink salt from the Himalayas, matte gray clumps from Japan. An endless stream of kosher salt, falling from Chef’s hand. Salting, the most nuanced of enterprises, the food always requesting more, but the tipping point fatal. Now if I eat something that’s too salty I think about that fatal terminology. Danler captures food, the process, and the insanity of the restaurant world.
Sweetbitter is ultimately about the power of what remains after disillusionment, and the transformation and wisdom that come from our experiences, sweet and bitter. (cover blurb)