Restaurant Envy (And Its Opposite)

Pete Wells’ love letter to Federal Donuts in today’s New York Times put Michael Solomonov’s fried-chicken-and-donut-robot spot on a short but enviable list: Philadelphia restaurants that NYT food writers wish they could claim as their own. Past inductees include Vetri, upon which former critic Frank Bruni heaped praise, and (if you expand the criteria to include the city’s whole eating culture) The Food Trust, which Mark Bittman lauded last April.

We welcome the attention, and freely admit that there are plenty of restaurants in New York that we’d be happy to see in the sixth borough.

But it’s more fun to play a different game: calling out restaurants that make us even prouder of our hometown, for the simple fact that they do not—and indeed could never—exist here.

So it is in that spirit, and the hope of further nominations in the Comments section, that we bring your attention to Modern Toilet, a chain (!) in Taipei.

To eat, or to pee—that is the question.  At least it’s the question on Modern Toilet’s website, and the implication is that you may attempt both things without the intolerable hassle of moving your rear end.  “In the beginning, we mainly sold ice cream—a big pile of chocolate ice cream sold in containers shaped like a squat toilet,” Modern Toilet’s visionary founders recall.  But why stop there, when you can seat your customers on actual commodes and serve them kimchi hot pots in miniature Western-style flushers that would stun Thomas Crapper to awestruck silence.

Question: Does Assam milk tea taste as sweet when served from a scale model of a portable urinal?