There is a word out there being thrown around to describe what is known as the "gastro pub."
Like many words, most who use this word in this fashion, don't truly comprehend the meaning of the word. Instead, they use it to describe something that they don't fully grasp or appreciate.
In a sense, this is the same concept as "anti-intellectualism". They don't understand it, therefore, find it offensive, untrustworthy, or impractical.
The cries of "Pretentiousness" come in all sorts of grumbles and barf . Here are the most common.
This is generally the "poor mans" excuse (no pun intended) to wage war on the gastro pub. Hey we get it, you're on a budget. There is nothing wrong with trying to spend your money wisely. I too am often on a budget. This, however does not warrant such a misguided name calling.
Many gastro pubs make their products from scratch. So, unlike the friendly casual neighborhood diner (you know, the one you find in almost every city and town), these places don't get their sauces in plastic bags, they may fabricate their own meat, juice and puree their own fruits, bake their own bread, etc. What goes into this product, again, unlike the neighborhood "Bees", is quality, passion, and know-how. It takes time to do most of these things which means, SOMEONE HAS GOTS TO GETS PAID. Also, quality ingredients cost more. Imagine that. You pay for quality, a concept I can respect. Not every restaurant is joining the ever so trendy race to the bottom. It's totally okay to say "this place is out of my current price range", but to call it pretentious because they don't offer two for ones and half priced appetizers? That's just ignorant.
Menu and Lingo
Do you know what "gastronomy" means? Do you gag at the idea of fresh egg white in your cocktail? Does an "urban snack cake" sound familiar to you? Do these sound "pretentious"? Or do you just not understand what the hype is all about? Don't confuse your taste and preference for being a victim of bloated culinary pompousness.
When these folks use terms like this, they're not trying to be assholes, they simply have some pride in what they do. If anything, they know no other way to talk about these menu items other than in their own nerdy ways. Listen, embrace it, or go to Olive Garden or something.
The Peer Pressure Syndrome
As in...your inner circle perceive these gastro pubs as "pretentious" so you avoid falling into the hype and fandom of these places to avoid being perceived by your friends as a "pretentious" hipster.
When you think about it, this is really, really, super, DUMB! Would you stop wiping your bum if your friends said it was "pretentious"? I sure as hell hope not.
These guys and gals are putting the "art" back in "culinary arts". They're doing so with imagination, a skosh of science, and a monastic drive for excellence and glory. They really are just a bunch of culinary geeks who have this insanely admirable passion for their craft. So, forgive them if they come off a bit "pretentious" when they're describing a certain dish or cocktail. Watch an interview with the most creative people within the industry you love. Can you see it in their eyes? The romance they have with what they do. Don't let someone elses glowing excitement offend you. Art is art and it is subjective. Remember when you were five and you couldn't stop blabbering about EVERYTHING you found amusing? That's what we call "wonder". These men and women, they're just trying to share their creations, passions, and obsessions. We could all use a bit of this sort of "pretentiousness" in our lives. Most of these people really aren't trying to be assholes, they just can't contain their enthusiasm... except that douche bartender wearing a vintage Radiohead shirt and pastel khaki shorts... that guy is a pretentious prick.