As 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. We heard the first 30 gripes earlier this week, and now it's time for 10 more. What follows is a list of complaints, with no names or affiliations attached:
31) Don't leave me hanging. Please. Whether it's angst about when/if my party will be seated, when we'll actually get to order, my rapidly-cooling soup for which I have been given no spoon, if our empty glasses will be noted and you will deign to allow us to order another drink or if we'll make our after-dinner movie, play or flight because we can't get anyone to give us a check or take our credit card, this kind of neglect overshadows anything positive I may have felt about the food. And it happens all the damned time.
32) There are many moments in one's life where you do something and think, "Wow, shit, I am getting old." One of them is downloading an app while eating dinner to see what the decibel level in the restaurant is. So it said that we were hovering around 101 decibels, or what the app says is equivalent to a motorcycle or snowblower. Incidentally, 90 decibels is the level at which sustained exposure can cause hearing loss. That's a lot of fucking ear pain for some spaghetti. And it is TOTALLY NORMAL in NYC.
33) The magnitude of Paul Liebrandt's nastiness is news to no one. But for good measure: Don't worry he's still an unconscionable asshole in 2014.
34) I have a very special place in my heart for Great NY NoodleTown, but it's way past dead. Food isn't great, and neither are the college kids thinking they're slumming it in Chinatown.
35) The Instagram commenter I don't know telling me to say "hi" to their friend the chef or bartender or busboy at the restaurant I just dined at is some kind of sickness, right?
36) Spicy cocktails.
37) THE MJR FOOD GROUP
At the rate Mario, Jeff, and Rich (MJR, get it?) are opening restaurants, they'll be able to retire early and read this post from some distant beach while FaceTiming their corporate chefs in Hong Kong, NYC, and Dubai four times a year to perform "quality control."
As of this writing, MJR has nine restaurants when counting currently operating (like, you know, Carbone Hong Kong) and announced projects.
Torrisi Italian Specialties opened in 2010, with the bulk of that expansion coming in the past year and a half. That's a lot of restaurants in a very short amount of time.
These boys make the Altamarea Group look like a mom-and-pop operation.
No one wants to say it aloud (though plenty talk about it behind closed doors), but Team Torrisi has lost the good will of our industry in this town. They're arrogant dicks in private and, perhaps more importantly, come off as such anytime someone decides to write about them these days.
And they don't give a fuck—which is fine. But hopefully they rethink a restaurant expansion strategy that would give Jean Georges pause and get back to what made them popular in the first place: serving tasty ass food at a reasonable price in a great atmosphere.
And, really, the worst part about all this is that Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone are two of the most talented young people in New York restaurants to emerge onto the scene in the last decade. Torrisi was a gamechanger in the truest, Eater circa 2005 sense of the word. That place felt electric, like something monumental was happening.
So PLEASE Mario and Rich: Slow down, eat one of those amazing turkey sandwiches, and give this all some thought. I'd hate to see Parm Winnipeg featured as part of Eater Shitshow Week 2019.
38) I hate these young guns who get so cocky so quickly, and go off on their own and open restaurants with tasting menus. (Contra comes to mind.) Chefs like Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert cooked decades — with their heads down — before they dared strut their stuff on a tasting menu. Put a little time in the kitchen first. You gotta earn that right.
39) I'm sick of customers saying "I'll do the kale" or "I'll do the smoothie" "I'll do a half-caff skim soy latte" instead of "I'll have..." Call me old-fashioned.
40) Joe and Jill Dobias. No one is listening.
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