Andre Surmain, Who Fed the Elite in Luxe Style at Lutèce, Dies at 97

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Andre Surmain, who transformed his cooking school’s Manhattan townhouse into Lutèce, an epicurean mecca defined by haute cuisine, even higher prices and a high-and-mighty clientele, died on Wednesday at his home in St. Paul en Foret, in the South of France. He was 97.

His death was confirmed by his nephew Peter Hurwitz.

A month after Lutèce opened in 1961, Craig Claiborne, the restaurant critic for The New York Times, described it as “impressively elegant and conspicuously expensive.” (His dinner for two was $52.30, or about $435 in today’s money.) The food, however, “could not be called great cuisine,” he wrote.

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The Lunch Rush of the Future

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Customers hesitate when passing through the turnstiles at Seattle’s new Amazon Go store, as if they’re about to be transported into another dimension. They hesitate even more when leaving.

One can hardly blame them. In what’s being billed as a fully automated, cashier-free shop, Amazon hopes to create the most convenient of convenience stores, a place for anyone who wants to feel like they’re shoplifting, but without all that law-breaking nonsense. The concept seems inherently designed for lunch-goers looking for something with a little more variety and cultural cache than the office cafeteria, minus the minutiae of debit transactions and customization. Those are precious seconds that could be spent taking a selfie at Amazon Go.

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