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Robert Brown

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Everything posted by Robert Brown

  1. Excuse the double post. I tried to edit it a posteriori to isolate Meyer's quote.
  2. Sneakeater, whether it's an explicit or tacit admission (and having just re-read Meyer's e-mail that our pal Peter sent me, it does address the matter of various types of his employees that don't share in tips), I don't see in it where he says exactly how he plans to do this in light of his also saying that the increase in one's bill won't be significant. Once these changes are implemented, the total cost you pay to dine with us won’t differ much from what you pay now. But for our teams, the change will be significant. We will now have the ability to compensate all of our employees equitabl
  3. I don't think "tossing money around" is a generality, and it is not an act that deserves to be described in a disdainful way. Some people do it for the reason Adrian says, but I hope that there are others who want to reward people who are somehow special. I rarely make this gesture, but I think I can recognize a "gifted" restaurant employee when I see one. It's not like this kind of work is as much as a trained profession as it has been in Europe. I have my criteria, and if someone meets them, I tend to want to show my happiness in the most tangible way there is. I just think that there a
  4. Wilfrid, you are right in that it doesn't relate to having 20% automatically added to the bill. 20% is the most I would tip anywhere, although I did push the 25% button in a cab the other day because the driver helped me load and then unload some materials between an art storage warehouse and my place of business. Rather my story is about a form of charitable-type gesture that I would miss if the restaurant world in general did away with tipping. I, and lots of other people, like and want to show some tangible appreciation for anyone in a restaurant who rises appreciably above the norm, as inf
  5. I decided to give my wife a night off in the food-preparation area. I went to the UES 2nd Ave. Deli and got a piece of gefilte fish, a matzoh ball soup, chicken in the pot and a piece of chocolate babka. I liked my young order-preparer a lot, besides which when I said to "make it nice" when it came to the chocolate babka, he gave me a really big slice. When I took the shopping bag, I slipped him a couple of bucks and asked him his name for future reference. It's not that the 2nd Ave. Deli is anything like Unbridled or the Modern, but I felt that the chap at the deli deserved being made nice i
  6. What about food service problems? So far as I can tell, this new scheme is close to what exists in Europe, but without stating the service percentage; i.e. "service compris 15%" What I like about that is that you know what you are paying for service, besides which you can add a small percentage on top based on your opinion of your service. If I got bad service, and in much of Europe these days, especially in France where service can be slow particularly in these "one waiter/waitress serves all" restaurants. However, I'll go up to an additional 5% for waiters making me happy. Of course the
  7. To me it seems that Danny Meyer has a chance to make it stick and succeed because of the insidious nature of the restaurant business, which is to say that a restaurant owner has so many buttons to push to screw us all over. So If he ends up making his employees happier and more loyal, he'll do it with the skin off our backs.
  8. I'm also worried about what this could do to the joke about the biggest tip in the jungle.
  9. I don't know how prevalent up-selling is. I accuse people of it from time to time, but not in restaurants. The most obvious area would be in wine service. However, I can't recall the last time a sommelier recommending to me one of the more expensive bottles, It always seems to be medium or low-to medium range unless I specify a type of wine or to ask an opinion or recommendation between more than one expensive wine. Once in a while a sommelier will charge me a higher price if the wine I want is no longer available and the alternative is more. More times than not, though, he or she will let me
  10. I am waiting clarification from Meyer's lemons. If I were a waiter, I would think that I am really good at the job and deserve to be better paid in this new regime. But what if I weren't well-payed? What about if I thought a fellow-waiter was not as good as I was and he was getting more money than me? If I understand this correctly. there are sure to be a lot of malcontents and generally poor morale.
  11. For what it's worth, here's what I wrote to those people who sous-vide chicken: (I admit that I don't have the patience to read all that stuff on Eater. In paragraph 5, line 3 what do you mean by "competitively"? Is that within the organization or compared to restaurants in general or that comprise your competition? Also this: "And by eliminating tipping, our employees who want to grow financially and professionally will be able to earn those opportunities based on the merit of their work."
  12. Here's an e-mail he sent: Dear Friends, I am writing to share some important news about Union Square Hospitality Group that we want you to understand before your next visit to one of our restaurants. Recently, our entire company has been engaged in a robust conversation about how we can provide even more meaningful career opportunities and advancemen
  13. This thread raises the concern of when one will have to enter a credit or debit card code for every transaction as is done in Europe. You would think the card issuers would want this, but they seem to be going in the opposite direction. Just look at this crazy manifestation of signing with your finger or scribbling your name at the supermarket check-out with the signature of a three-year-old and always have it approved. When I had my card wallet picked on a bus six months ago, the thief went to four stores before I could phone in the loss to American Express and the various banks.
  14. Why is Daniel probably a one and Soto a solid two?
  15. Orik, I have to say you're like a vacuum cleaner when it comes to dining. And a profoundly knowledgeable one at that. (Diner, not vacuum cleaner). I have to admit that I rarely eat steak in a restaurant for the simple reason that I can't order the thickness the way I want it, which is 2" or 5cm. Given this limitation, so far about the best I had was a wet-aged Chianina bone-in rib steak from a butcher in in Italy just over the French-Italian Riviera border. Of course I have had steak in various European countries, but for some reason this one from Bordighera sticks i my mind. As for Charolais,
  16. By the time he gets the place open, it will all be sous-vide. Sneak, I'm starting to think you're right. I think I'm two for five.
  17. Can you believe this? I submitted a comment on the Times article and they denied it. All it said was "The Fitzcarraldo of the food world."
  18. Why are so many restaurants in France importing Angus beef from the States?
  19. Not every dish is better in a large portion. It's that making portions small has created an overall approach to making recipes that has lead to the manifestations I mentioned at the top. I like going to tapas bars as an accompaniment to a glass of beer or wine and as a prelude to sitting down at a dining table and ordering a regular meal. I love kai-seki meals in Japan as they have centuries-old traditions and precepts (not to mention the quality that the chefs start out with), and I've greatly enjoyed half the meals I had from Adria and my one meal at Alinea (okay, so one of my all-time worst
  20. Age and experience has a lot to do with a person’s preference for dining formats. It never happened to me, but I am sure that if I engaged some codgers when I was running around from one “Nouvelle Cuisine” to another, at least one of them would have said, “ Too bad you never ate at Restaurant de La Pyramide when Fernand Point was alive, or La Cote d’Or when Alexandre Dumaine owned it. Maybe that’s why veteran diners like Sneakeater and I are on the same wave length and, bringing up the rear, Wilfrid. But to answer Wilfrid regrading formats, of course there were prix fixe menus you saw a l
  21. Below is an essay I wrote over a year ago. I sent it on a lark to the New York Times Op-Ed page and to Edward Behr at the Art of Eating. It remains unpublished, but I believe I make an interesting and even controversial argument, which is that tasting menus have played a major part in the debasement of dining in better restaurants. I derive it from being a veteran eater, cutting my gastronomic teeth most notably in highly-rated and otherwise interesting restaurants in provincial France in the last 30% of the 20th century, and as a former student of change in mass or popular culture. As a resu
  22. Try to find cooked salmon mixed with smoked fish/salmon dishes at Russian Daughters Cafe or Blarney Greenstone. In any event. it's not so much the specifics but that there is sous-vide apparatus to begin with. It begs the question of what else does Melissa use it for?
  23. After seeing the photo of the Tower on Grubstreet, my desire to go has been diminished. The dish is crapped up with a lot of cheap ingredients, but the worst is adding sous-vide salmon along with smoked salmon. The caption doesn't come right out and say so. Instead it says vacuum sealed and cook slowly. I take it as a warning until empiricism proves to me otherwise. And why would anyone combine salmon like that regardless of how it's cooked? No great-deli owner that I know of.
  24. What were you doing there? Foraging? From my point of view, the most significant line in the story, (since I have been maintaining it for years) is Redzepi's "We've allowed the format of a tasting menu to dictate what we cook." As I stated on the Stone Barns thread that I would post something (which I wrote 18 months ago, but never posted or published), I'll do it in the next day or two.
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