Restaurant serves dirtiest meal ever

In the last few months, you have probably eaten spittle, hair, flies, mucus, paper and cotton fluff.

Some of these — if not all — may have been served in very fine restaurants. That’s just what happens, for one reason or another.

So I struggled in understanding what the excitement is about a Japanese restaurant that is serving dirt.

I am sure I’ve been to several burger joints and cafes that sprinkled a little in.

And then I noticed that in this latest dirt meal, the dirt is like the Secret Ingredient on “Iron Chef.”

It’s the thing that’s supposed to be featured in every dish.

This I thought peculiar.

It surely must be more peculiar for an unsuspecting customer who scans the menu abstractedly and read: “Potato Starch and Dirt Soup.”

And yet, as Fox News reports it, a restaurant in Tokyo is slathering dirt all over its dishes.

The black stuff, not the green.

The black stuff, not the green.

You will, perhaps, imagine that this must be some sort of weird Japanese restaurant, taking its emotive tone from the average Japanese game show.

It’s actually a French restaurant called “Ne Quittez Pas.” Which, quite naturally, means “Don’t Leave.”

Yes, the chef is Japanese, Toshio Tanabe and he’s actually very au fait with getting his hands dirty. He once won a cooking competition with a dirt sauce.

So here he offers such joys as “an aspic made with oriental clams and the top layer of sediment, and a dirt risotto with sauteed sea bass and burdock root.”

Dirt risotto? Perfect with a dirty martini.

And let’s not forget the dirt dressing, dirt ice cream and even dirt mint tea.

I know that such a menu might not be everyone’s cup of grime. But in those humid, hot places where some people unaccountably choose to live, dirt is apparently very good for a stomach ache.

Between 30 and 60 percent of Tanzanian women eat dirt when they’re pregnant. Voluntarily. Enthusiastically, in many cases.

As with all produce, it matters what kind of dirt you’re using. You can’t just use any old dirt and expect diners to pay $110 for the privilege.

“Ne Quittez Pas” insists that its dirt is gourmet dirt. It comes from the very finest lands of Kanuma in the Tochigi Prefecture, where the dirt is so pure that you’d be privileged to bathe in it.

It has even been examined by health inspectors to ensure that it doesn’t poison anyone. Although why they should worry about that, I don’t really know.

Aren’t these the same health inspectors who cheerily allow Japanese people to eat fugu, the fish of which Wikipedia offers: “Domestic preparation occasionally leads to accidental death.”

The most interesting aspect of this dirty tale is, of course, what it says about humanity.

If your local coffee shop suddenly put its own potato starch and dirt soup on the menu for, say, $3 no one would buy it.

“Dirt? Dirt?” the customers would say. “Why kind of crap is that?”

And yet when an enterprising haute-cuisine chef decides to inject a little soil into his soup, there will be those who are willing to pay though the nose for something that might once have been there in the first place.



Image: GetDirty2009/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk