Menace to Propriety
The worst restaurant meal I've eaten in a long time
Doug Psaltis has always been a P.T. Barnum-esque prevaricator, a trader in truthiness. For a while, those talents covered up his skill for swindlery. But after visiting his newest restaurant concepts Andros Taverna and Asador Bastian in the last thirteen months, even that façade has crumbled. I estimate Psaltis has bilked me of $900.
While it wasn’t outright theft, Psaltis’s restaurants delivered an extremely poor return of value. To be completely fair, that number is actually more like $850, since his octopus at Andros, $46, it’s smoky charred polyps protruding from confit-delicate sun-drenched and olive oil-glistening tentacles, is one of the very best things I ate last year.
Make no mistake, Psaltis, an alum of the French Laundry and the exclusive fold of Alain Ducasse, can cook. He might be one of the best chefs in America, when he decides to show up. I have no doubt that the stellar reviews he got for Andros and Asador from a variety of sources reflect the pristine circumstances when those critics visited. But my experience has been that once Psaltis gets the great reviews, he lets his restaurants fall apart.
He’s been taking his eye off the ball like this his entire life. According to this New York Times article from 2003, “He [Psaltis] played football and lacrosse at Ohio State University, had zero interest in academics and quit after three semesters.”
I heard Psaltis on a recent Joiners podcast, in addition to telling what sound like fabulist stories about being helicoptered around Monaco as a young cook (possible, after all he was working for Ducasse), mention that he played lacrosse and also “practiced” with the football team.
It didn’t sound right. OSU is one of the greatest football programs in the country. They don’t just let the random lacrosse players hang out with Kirk Herbstreit (then the QB and now a famous TV analyst) for fun.
In 1992-1993 when Psaltis would have attended OSU, a multi-sport varsity athlete at the height of Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders-mania, this should have registered some kind of story.
I did find this page on the web from Psaltis’s high school suggesting he actually matriculated to Ohio Wesleyan to play lacrosse.
Ohio Wesleyan is generally to OSU for athletics what the corner bodega is to Whole foods for groceries. Although the Battling Bishops have been dominant in the Division III North Coast Athletic Conference, winning the men’s lacrosse championship in 1992 when Psaltis would have been a student.
Psaltis does not show up on the 1992 varsity roster here.
This would make sense if Psaltis in the last minute zagged to the Buckeyes to play football and lacrosse, but after contacting the OSU registrar and athletic department, I have not been able to confirm any evidence.
I contacted Psaltis’ PR reps at Wagstaff Marketing about this. They returned the following comment from Psaltis. He wrote, “I went to OSU. For a very short time in ’92. I was on the varsity lacrosse team.”
Psaltis was not a lacrosse letter winner in 1992 according to this OSU list.
Because Psaltis’ OSU football career went from player to practicer over the years to now non-existent, I asked if he could produce any actual evidence, a coaches name and number or an official letter from OSU to verify his lacrosse career.