In my second life I write about music like Cage’s (much like Johnathan Gold). I’m a rather voracious fan and would be squarely in the market for what you describe, but I think that would be an invalid interpretation of 4:33 as a meal or dish. The entire point of 4:33 is that it still contains music; it advances an argument based upon Cage’s experience in an anechoic chamber, and his conclusions that silence does not exist. The specific bracketing are technically elements of music, simply not ones often highlighted, whereas 1) the dishware itself is not actually food, and 2) to the extent to which the dishware is part of a plate of food/dish, one must admit that they are already quite distinctly highlighted by the overabundance of Instagram photos (though, one might suspect that what might be called “the Michelin aesthetic” sometimes pushes chefs to highlight the plating of a dish over its gustatory elements already, meaning that rather meager versions of Cage’s aesthetic are already employed frequently in the dining world). I think what you describe would be utterly boorish, but on the other hand, if a dish were constructed out of, say, the vapors of ingredients, presented with comestible that was technically inedible (perhaps a gum of some sort), yet delivered the flavors and taste sensations of a full dish, one might argue a successful working of such a dish would be quite fascinating, at least insofar as it was worked into a more complete menu of actual comestibles. An entire evening of repeat performances of such a dish is intriguing, but strikes me as too malevolent to attain more than an opening-night audience.
But I am sure you were making a kind of jocular point, and I am being overly pedantic for most purposes, I just couldn’t help weighing in with a perspective from someone who would enjoy the exercise. In general, I agree that masterful food, even as art, ought to sate the gustatory senses. Indeed, I would even perhaps advocate a view of the aesthetic of food wherein that is considered an essential component of food qua Art because, for me, the achievement of an ineffable contact with the Sublime has always come from an experience of overwhelming pleasure produced from exemplary and precise balance fused into dishes that produce something one can crudely describe as “deliciousness”.
Now, as for the pragmatics of Vespertine? I loved most of Red Medicine, but debuting at $250 is fairly outrageous. This means that for $25 less one could have Providence’s priciest menu, or a 20+ course meal at Orsa and Winston (never mind the high-precision food of N/Naka). Even in SF a $250 debut would be incredible. That price places it higher than virtually every restaurant in the rather high-priced North other than Saison. Does Kahn expect to execute with the perfection of a 3-michelin star kitchen from day one? It strikes me as completely absurd. The more traditional model in SF of beginning around $50-$60, and gradually scaling up with traction as the kitchen proves its precision makes more sense to me, but perhaps he sees Destroyer as having established that already?
I will admit that people enjoy Destroyer (and it is fairly enjoyable; and rather ambitious for a lunch spot), and there are some dishes there that mark a significant improvement in the finesse of his cooking, conceptualization, and ingredient sourcing compared to his Red Medicine days. And I often thought many of the “style over substance” type dishes at Red Medicine would have worked in the context of an extended tasting menu (a $28 pork cheek and radicchio dish leaps to mind, rather exquisite, but 2 bites of food that was entirely out of context).
I can imagine this spot becoming quite hot within the LA Art and Design crowd, and the notion intrigues me, but I am also not sure I will be amongst the first diners to show up (but maybe I will, who knows).
Insofar as this represents a push to gain a wider understanding of high-end dining in LA, I am in support of it. If it turns out being far more art than food, it would seem to be a failure, though. The food at Noma or Alinea is stilll quite delicious as I understand it, and if someone could manage to create something on that level with a unique LA spin, I would be quite enthused.