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Snoozer Restaurants

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A Diner's Journal reader complains that too many upscale restaurants these days (EMP, Momo Ko) have become cathedrals to food, where the clientele is silent and reverent, rendering the overall experience dull and boring. Sifton asks, are certain restaurants becoming "intellectually stimulating while being emotionally distant"? Is the dining room vibe and its characters just as important as the food? [DJ]