food in the arts


Dir: Bob Giraldi/ Scr: Brian Kalata, Rick Shaughnessy/ Cast: Danny Aletto, Edoardo Ballerini, Kirk Acevedo, Vivian Wu/ USA/ 2001/ 98 mins

Beginning with a Broadway Danny Rose roundtable chin session and climaxing with a seizure of unlikely but cathartic wise-guy retribution, Bob Giraldi's DINNER RUSH stakes out its downtown territory with surgical precision. Set almost entirely inside a busy, upscale Tribeca eatery, the movie is an impressively deft re-creation of a familiar space, complete with industrial decor, hectic kitchen chaos, track-lighting faux pas, and a population of self-obsessed, hyper-sophisticated bullshit artists. Visual naturalism is Amerindie's largest oversight, but Giraldi and cinematographer Tim Ives achieve a budget-defying degree of Altman-style weave-and-smush.

As the film's evening presses on, tension mounts, merely by virtue of the restaurant's everyday attempts to avoid collapsing into mayhem while concocting white-truffle this and lemongrass that. But Giraldi (a 25-year vet of commercials and music videos) and his scriptwriters work in a few strands of melodrama for good measure. The old-school owner, Louis (Danny Aiello)—who cannot tolerate the insubstantial pretensions his ambitious superstar-chef son, Udo (Edoardo Ballerini), puts on the menu—is trying to quit a bookmaking side-business that got his partner killed. The piddling Queens mobsters responsible for the hit (Mike McGlone and Alex Corrado) station themselves at a balcony table, waiting until the lovable sous chef Duncan (Kirk Acevedo) pays off his huge gambling debt or Louis makes them co-owners. Giraldi folds in at least 10 other characters, from a trivia-spouting Brit barkeep to Sandra Bernhard's gargoyle food critic, all so confidently sketched they seem to be in constant motion doing their jobs even when offscreen.

Michael Atkinson


art and food 

literature and food

music and food

photography and food
Dinner Rush [DVD] [2002]

Dinner Rush (

north american food