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Readers Discuss Decoys, VIPs, and How to Serve Critics

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Eater readers have a lot of opinions about Pete Wells's three-star review of Daniel. Although many people think that his use of a "decoy" diner is brilliant, one anonymous commenter offers a different perspective:

Look, being someone who has been reviewed by the NYT and has worked at some of the world's best restos, I can tell you that Wells did the wrong thing here. If he wanted to get a snapshot of what the "everyman" gets, he should have sent his decoy in on the night before or after he dined.

I have been in MANY kitchens when the NYT reviewer was eating in the dining room. I can tell you that, only on that night (when the critic is dining), that the entire staff could give a fuck about anyone else but the critic. This creates a skewed vision of what every other diner experiences.

If he wanted to get a real take of what everyone else eats, he should have sent the decoy in any other night. Just not the night that Wells was in the house.

Another anonymous commenter suggests that the Daniel team shouldn't have given Wells special treatment because he was a critic:

An anonymous commenter writes:

The fact of the matter is, there will always be VIPs who get special treatment. But, at a restaurant of this caliber, all guests should feel special. The fact that Wells got special treatment is actually an amateur move. Treat a critic the same way you treat everyone else, just personally cook for him to ensure his/her food is perfect. In many cases, the cook who prepares the food daily is often times better in touch with the food than the chef. This review is a painful one, but a lesson for all chefs, no one is beyond reproach.
Another anonymous commenter offers this take:
There is more to the review than just the differing treatment; but to take that first, it IS inexcusable. Sure they need to kill it at the known critic's table. But they also need to be able to serve more than one table at a time. That staff is big; not all of them were fawning over the NYT table... someone ELSE was just not caring about the "decoy."
For more reactions from diners and people in the industry, do take a minute to read the rest of the comments on yesterday's post about the fallout from the review.
· All Coverage of Daniel [~ENY~]
[Daniel by Krieger]


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