The Bold Italic has become the leader in brutally honest restaurant reviews from those with the least refined palates in the world: four-year-olds. Whereas an adult, professional food critic may offer a balanced critique on the specific shortcomings of a dish, a kid will just take the chewed up bits out of their mouth and wipe their tongue off with their tiny hand, and I appreciate the gestural simplicity in that.
For this edition, we take four-year-old Jacob Wang (who, fascinatingly, did not get a haircut, his hair was just born like that) to AQ; the incredibly intricate and season-worshipping restaurant in SOMA.
The dishes at AQ are the kind that you pause to admire when they’re set in front of you, examining the strikingly different “interpretations” of one single vegetable, and the presentation that could only be accomplished with tweezers.
Jacob, however, destroyed each plate almost immediately, pausing only out of confusion, and turning each delicate work of food-art into finger paint. Surprising, as you’d think someone whose favorite food is “dino nuggets” would appreciate the art of making food look cool.
Persimmon, black tea foam, duck prosciutto, and cracked wheat salad
To his credit, we were all wondering the same thing. Though upon further investigation he declared:
"SOAP! It is soap."
(I tasted it too, it’s not soap.)
"It doesn't taste good. None of the parts of it."
But perhaps he spoke too soon…
He did like it, and he ate all of it. Turning the dish into essentially a $16 piece of cheese.
Kohlrabi white anchovies, and charred lettuces
"It's sour but I think I like it. Yeah, I think it's food."
"Someone burned this lettuce!"
"This fish tastes like fish."
"Is the next thing a cheeseburger and fries?"
(I told him maybe, but I was lying.)
Quince, walnuts, maitake mushrooms, stuffing condiments
Jacob was so convinced that this dish was candy, his tiny conscience took over.
"I should stop eating this, it's going to make my teeth go away."
A very mature concern, although he didn’t stop eating it.
Sunchokes, huckleberry, crispy pork belly, and cabbage
I was curious about the pork belly review, as it’s the one food has consistently made our other kid food reviewers start sobbing. To be fair, he really thought this was beef. Like, don’t try to convince this guy that pork belly is not beef. Just don’t.
Beef two ways
Prunes, caramelized endive, and savory peanut granola
There were some chewing issues with both beef-ways here.
Warm date cake
With muscovado, walnuts, and orange
See, now that’s the kind of bold, simple statement that adults are too afraid to make.