Jerritt Clark via Getty Images

The bae-cklash has begun

Tim Nelson
January 25, 2018

How many high-profile restaurants can you name that are based on a meme? No, Guy Fieri’s dearly departed Times Square restaurant doesn’t count. Well, it would seem that the lukewarmcriticalreaction to the new Manhattan restaurant of Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe—better known to the internet as “Salt Bae”—is exactly why we aren’t all getting our morning coffee from a Grumpy Cat cafe. Even worse, Salt Bae’s latest social media post threatens to completely undermine public trust in one of 2017’s most enduring human memes. 

In an Instagram video that’s garnered 3.8 million in a little over a day, Salt Bae committed a potentially unforgivable culinary crime. Things look normal enough as he slaps a fine hunk of meat on the grill and butterflies it with his trademark panache. But soon enough, he’s slapping what appear to be Kraft singles of American Cheese on top. To make matters worse, he then adds a layer of not-ready-for-primetime asparagus and more mediocre cheese. 

You’re in luck if you ever wanted to order meat that has a hashtagged flag sticking out of it. But given that a cheeseburger sets Nusr-Et diners back a reported $30, one can only shudder to think at what this abomination must cost. Naturally, Twitter’s brigade of food critics (led by @thekitchenista) soon made it clear that Salt Bae’s spoiling of perfectly good meat simply would not stand. 

Chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern chimed in to let his followers know that this was one meal that not even the host of Bizarre Foods could love. 

Given that Nusret got famous for the manner in which he physically applied salt to his food, it shouldn’t come as a great shock that his actual food offerings seem to be all sizzle and no steak. But until we reach a point where we can somehow taste food through Instagram, expect diners with a greater interest in social media clout than choice cuts of meat to keep showing up. 

That probably sums it up. 

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