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Grievances: Ansel, Sweetgreen, Small Plates, and More

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Dominique Ansel photo: Hillary Dixler; Tapas and plate photos by Paul Crispin Quitoriano; Sweetgreen by Bess Adler

2014_shitshow_week1.222jpgAs a Shitshow Week special, Eater asked some of New York's best food writers to anonymously share their gripes and frustrations about the restaurant world. Yesterday we heard 10 gripes, and now it's time for 10 more. What follows is a list of complaints, with no names or affiliations attached:

11) Dominique Ansel (and the breathless copy-and-pasting of press releases about his new desserts) needs to be stopped. Everything in his standard pastry case is extraordinary; why obscure them with a goddamn sundae in a can?

12) Rustic stoneware plates that make a horrible nails-on-a-blackboard sound when your fork scrapes across them, aaaahhhh.

13) The conversation about women and food needs to go co-ed pronto. Women talking to other women exclusively isn't big enough to effect change in this industry. Time to Sadie Hawkins this shit: Invite the dudes to the dance floor and get everyone on board with gender diversity.

14) My latest peeve is when a server decides to tell you what the most "popular" dishes on the menu are. I don't give a shit what the most popular dishes are. I want to know what the BEST dishes are. And don't take away my dish before I'm done eating it. I'll tell you when I'm finished.

15) Going to a small plates restaurant and only ordering two or three plates of food for the table because I actually can't afford to pay for anything else, then getting a sneer from the server. You know your customers are getting pizza after dinner anyway. I'm just saving some coin along the way.

16) I hate when restaurants are over-eager in their social media. Constant favoriting, retweeting of compliments, and replying to people clogs feeds and makes me not want to ever go to your restaurant. And Speaking of social media, I hate constant tweets about special events and other ticketed things. Especially special events that are sold out. Looking at you, Momofuku.

17) Sweetgreen Mania. The salads don't taste any different from the stuff you get at Chop't, Fresh & Co., etc. I think people just like it because of the hipster packaging.

18) When are people going to start making a stink about the fact that, at many of our lauded high-end, and even high-minded (offering some brand of sustainable-sourcing philosophy) restaurants, captains can earn close to six-figure salaries, while the kitchen depends on free externs and wildly underpaid and overworked cooks? Sure, good service is one thing, and it takes an investment to learn your wine or whatever, but why in all hell are we okay with waiters making as much money as they do at the higher end of the spectrum, relative to the rest of the restaurant's staff?

19) Outside of cute Andrew — who has a bit of taste and talent — the writing on Immaculate Infatuation is beyond amateurish. It's destructive, casting sub-Yelp, shoot-from-the-hip, bro-squared reviews on brand new restaurants that could use all the help they can get. I say destructive because people are reading it, which I guess means cute Andrew is doing his job! Trust me, this is not coming from a burned chef, but a writer-type how wants "disruptive" food media to thrive. But when you copy/paste a list of menu items and basically drunk dial your way through a review telling me something is "so good" or "lacks an ability to deliver on the meat front" you just look stupid. And what's up with the Twitter hashtag? Weird.

20) Wobbly tables for the love of sweet jesus why on earth are there EVER wobbly tables, we live in the goddamn future, take one second and a folded napkin and level your stupid tables.

Stay tuned for more grievances throughout the week.

· All Coverage of Shitshow Week [~ENY~]