APPETITES by Tom Murphy


Email this review


Le Palais-Royal is New York's finest French restaurant, home of fresh fish and fatuous conversation. But as this absurd (but attractively silly) potboiler begins, the joint is in hot water. Pierre Villeromain, Le Palais' guiding light and owner, has just died, and his snooty little 24-year-old daughter Elise is trying to fill his togue blanche. But she's got a lot of problems. Her stepmother, Kate, owns half the restaurant and wants to sell it to David Hollander, a tycoon who has made his fortune in fast food (his Billy Burger stands dot the countryside). And Elise's own maitre d', the fabled Armand, is secretly scheming to take over. Not only that, but her hunky husband Jared can't handle all the attention she's getting and splits, leaving Elise up to her not unattractive eyeballs in egg whites with the simply fabulous young pastry chef, Claude Montgeron. Just as it would seem Claude and Elise have the place well in hand, a disgruntled former employee sets fire to Le Palais and everything burns but the kitchen--this just days before the most important banquet of the year is to be given for a group of highly influential wine-tasters. Despite more perils than Pauline ever saw, Elise pulls it off--thanks in part to a superb 1900 Margaux. Murphy (Sky High, Ballet!, The Panther Throne) writes enthusiastically but not well--though there's enough engaging folderol here (not to mention a few halfway-decent recipes) to warrant stopping in for a quick snack.

Pub Date: Aug. 17th, 1987
Publisher: St. Martin's