Though one only needs glance in Ryan Skeen's direction or, in its day, run a finger or two over the pythoncobra-skinned bar surface at Kobe Club to feel the shitshow, other cases are a little more nuanced. The novice eye maybe reads the room at Rouge Tomate and simply notes with curiosity, "Hey, why are they using the dining room for table storage?" So, then, let's see if we can't outline some basic shitshow commonalities in the name of getting everyone on the same page. Though any one of these does not a shitshow necessarily make, they are especially damning in pairs and trios.
1. Ludicrous Concepts, Esp. With Far East Themes. It's a Ninja themed restaurant where everyone eats in their own, individually designed Ninja room. And the rooms feel like the Japanese countryside, because that's where Ninjas hide. And the servers perform Ninja tricks while they take your order. Also, there's a moat, bridge and 16 hidden walls. Also, it's a restaurant. See also, restaurants with life-sized birdcages.
2. Piss-Poor Service. Nothing, and we do mean nothing, says shitshow like an hour wait between courses. Also, confused waiters, over-grown doormen, and bussers who cannot grasp the idea, for example, that some glasses hold water and others hold things like wine, which are not to be mixed with water or cleared when half-full. While any of these other shitshow traits require another to form a proper Shitshow, poor service can turn any restaurant into a shitshow in about the time it takes to completely botch a steak frites.
3. Baffling Value Propositions. Here we have our "fiery pepper hunt chicken." It's six nuggets of deep fried chicken and 75 peppers that are actually inedible and only for show. That'll be $600, sir.
4. Epic Chef Mismatches. Though Sweetiepie earned its shitshow stripes long before he arrived, as long as Shitshow All-Star Skeen is involved, there is no danger whatsoever of it losing them. Sweetiepie: shakes, West Coast salads, fried chicken, kiddie comfort food. Skeen: pig pies and nose to tail feasting. Shit. Show.
6. Stupid Desserts. "The squeeze bottle on the left is cherry sauce and the one on the right is caramel. The chef recommends you inject a little bit of sauce into the middle of each donut!" See also, certain iterations of the Baked Alaska.
7. The presence of Sparklers. Core level fail.
8. Irrational Door Policies. Thank you for your email inquiry to our private, unlisted reservations line. We can accommodate your party of two at 4:30 or 11:30 PM.
9. Schizophrenia. You want to turn your Italian restaurant into a French one six months after opening? Okay, sure, let's go. Spanish tapas three months after that? Not okay.
10. Absentee Celebrity Chef "Partners". This is Marcus Samuelsson's brand new African restaurant. He's really passionate about this food. It has 6,000 seats. Marcus? Oh, he's in Sweden. He was here between 7 and 7:30 last Tuesday.