To spice up the dog days of summer, Eater asked some of New York's best food writers to anonymously share their gripes and frustrations about the restaurant scene these days. What follows is a list of complaints, with no names or affiliations attached.
Let the grieving begin:
1) It could just be that I'm on the claustrophobic side, but have restaurants started jamming even MORE tables in? Especially along the walls? It feels like every time I go out to eat these days, my server has to pull the table out, let me in and shove it back in place like I'm being bolted into a roller coaster car. Plus, the proximity of tables ensures that someone is going to be eye-level with their neighbor's crotch/hindquarters at some point in the meal. Perhaps some people like an amuse butt. I am not one of them.
2) I am sick of food writers using gendered terms to describe food or cooking. Food isn't "masculine" nor is it "slutty." Find words that actually describe what things taste like!
3) I'm frequently annoyed by the fact that food writers go to the same damn restaurants all the time, and frequently form the same opinions as their cronies. This city has literally thousands of dining establishments both new and old to explore. It would be great to see more diversity in terms of what everyone's covering.
4) SHUT UP TORRISI BOYS SHUT UP TORRISI BOYS SHUT UP TORRISI BOYS SHUT UP TORRISI BOYS SHUT UP TORRISI BOYS SHUT UP TORRISI BOYS AND GO AWAY FOR A WHILE MAYBE TO LAS VEGAS OK THANKS.
5) Super that you've divided your menu in some incomprehensible way where the first eighth is single bites, second quadrant is $65+ dishes for two, one fifth are "accompaniments" and the vast majority is "small plates meant to be shared." What if I kinda hate the tastes of half my party and don't want to have to divide the dishes I DO want down to the atomic level? What if my partner really just likes eating the app and entree he ordered? What if I know that my friend's boyfriend is going to be a total pig and I'll be left scrounging for scraps when the trotter terrine finally makes it over to me? Level with us: Did the dishwasher drop all the big plates and you just didn't feel like reordering?
6) Any restaurant with a wine list of $50+ bottles that doesn’t accept credit cards. Yes, I’m fully aware that Visa and AmEx charge you card fees, but you’re upselling me wine at a 300% markup.
7) It kills me that Santina has no menu descriptions. Look around at the other tables and you'll see a bunch of customers who don't want to hear their server recite what every single damn thing is.
8) It's 2015. There's no excuse for an upscale restaurant to not have good and varied non-alcoholic beverage options. Do not forsake me to sparkling water and Diet Coke just because I'm laying off alcohol.
9) Los Angeles dining is great. San Francisco dining is great. Chicago dining is great. Charleston dining is great. New Orleans dining is great. New York dining is still better. Sorry not sorry.
10) Why do restaurants still give their news to Florence Fabricant? I feel bad for chefs who do this on the advice of publicists, only to find their item buried as the fourth paragraph in an article nobody will read all the way through.
11) If you accept reservations really do it. That means not just offering reservations before 6 and after 9:30.
12) Let's talk about Uma Temakeria. Not about the fact that it's not that great — it's not but if I lived nearby, sure I'd go for lunch. Let's talk about the fact that real live food writers are calling them sushi burritos, just because the restaurant is. It's an over-stuffed hand-roll. Hand-rolls are actually a real-life thing that existed before a white fine dining chef turned them into a fast-casual gimmick. It's not a burrito. The end.
13) The neo health food restaurants are obnoxious. Have we lost our soul NYC? Have we lost our edge? The food at these places might be good but the hippy dippy Laurel Canyon meets Chloe Sevigny fantasy these places peddle is ripe for parody.
14) Single-stall bathrooms that still have male/female signs on them. Is there a point? Related, bathrooms that have the sink inside the single-stall, thus doubling the amount of time it takes people to finish using it before the next person in line can go.
15) The consistent rise in price for an aperol spritz.
16) The anti-brunch rhetoric and the anti-anti-brunch rhetoric. Can we just stop arguing about the meal and eat some effing eggs? Or not. I don’t care. Just stop talking about it.
17) Sushi of Gari is not that good. There are so many other sushi destinations more worthy of that Michelin star.
18) The service at Marta. Love a Danny Meyer restaurant and while the food is pretty good, the service is pretty atrocious. Often the servers are aloof or look like they are bored, or more than once have talked about who they slept with the night before in ear shot of my table.
19) Why are we still into acai?
20) Can we be done with tipping yet?
21) When is NYC gonna have good Indian food?
22) Enough with chefs Instagram-ing album covers. We get it. You're totally one of the cool kids now.
23) Joe Dobias needs to get off of Twitter.
24) Places that automatically make their vegetarian options (especially veggie burgers) vegan. There's a reason that vegetarians aren't vegan and that's because they like cheese, eggs, and mayo not made from cashews.
25) Super tiny water glasses. What's the point? I don't want to refill my glass 87 times in one meal.
26) I don't like how there is a cat cafe but no dog cafe; because everyone knows that cats are sinister and up to no good and mostly hate people (and that's not even the feral ones), and that dogs are our friends and mostly want to please us and enjoy the good times together.