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Dining Out: Where would you go?


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At one restaurant, we picked the fennel flowers from the planter next to us and used them on our fried anchovies. Can't do that indoors!

A good summary from El País:   https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-10-28/a-room-a-bar-and-a-class-how-the-coronavirus-is-spread-through-the-air.html?ssm=TW_CC

I don’t want to leave because I think somewhere else would be “nice”. I want to leave because I think American Death Capitalism is malicious and evil. 

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On 11/22/2020 at 12:27 AM, Sneakeater said:

I went to Shaun Hergott's Vestry last night.

The food was, well, Shaun Hergott.  Totally out of step with the current NYC zeitgeist (where even the fucking New Yorker is declaring that fine dining is no longer cool).  Well, except maybe a touch less militantly non-local than before.  But I just like the way his stuff tastes.  And he's got to be one of the best fish chefs around.

The service didn't hang together.  I think the problem was that there was no continuity; rather, it was like every FOH person was his or her own satellite.  As an example, when I arrived, I checked in at the desk.  The person at the desk had me shown to a table.  And then, a few minutes later, an officious guy appeared at tableside and asked me if I'd talked to anyone yet (the clear implication being that I was someone who had just been walking up the block and decided to sit down).  I told him I'd checked in and had been seated -- and would appreciate someone's taking my cocktail order, as my date had given me no particular reason to expect she'd be on time.

It continued in like manner throughout the night.  You'd tell one server something, and then another server would appear who'd never heard it.

I really did like the food, though.  But then I always like Chef Hergatt's food.

Copious heat lamps.  Which is an important consideration these days.

 

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Some residents also railed against surging fees at the building’s private restaurant, overseen by the Michelin-star chef, Shaun Hergatt. When the building opened in late 2015, homeowners were required to spend $1,200 a year on the service; in 2021, that requirement jumps to $15,000, despite limited hours of operation because of the pandemic. And breakfast is no longer free.

Seems to be going well....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Go Rachel Sugar!

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Delivery is, at best, okay. It is fine. It can even be enjoyable (especially if it is pizza). But compared to food served inside a restaurant, it is a constant letdown. It is gummier, soggier, oilier, messier, uglier, the wrong texture, the wrong temperature.

I think she's wrong, though, in her (or rather the editor who wrote the headline's) assertion that "ghost kitchens are not the future of restaurants."  I think what she means is, "ghost kitchens shouldn't be the future of restaurants."  Convenience almost always trumps quality in the mass market.  Look at audio:  high-quality audio has almost been wiped out as a consumer category.  People demand Blu Tooth even though, in its most advanced current state, it sounds like shit.  People use popular ear buds even though they also sound like shit.  People accept lossy compressed sound relays even though they sound like shit.  Because people don't care that they sound like shit.  They care that they're convenient.

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The funniest one was down the block from us. It was a ghost sushi place and after they closed last year I spoke with the owner who told me they had some corporate clients but basically just one client that mattered...

 

WeWork

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lol. yeah. I suspect there are a lot of questionable business models out there who are living for now off of other questionable business models.

Reminds me of a super cringe-y playground moment from 2019 with a bunch of dads. Thankfully I kept my mouth shut.

Super nice earnest-y ex-management consultant "I left BCG/Bain/McK to go do corp dev at wework. Its just such an incredible opportunity. We're really doing something special"

Jaded Finance Guy (not me - I swear) - "But isn't that like not a real business? Like arent you just buying long and selling short" (proceeds to explain to the guy why WeWork is preposterous as a business)

The rest of us avert our eyes.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/22/2020 at 12:27 AM, Sneakeater said:

I went to Shaun Hergott's Vestry last night.

The food was, well, Shaun Hergott.  Totally out of step with the current NYC zeitgeist (where even the fucking New Yorker is declaring that fine dining is no longer cool).  Well, except maybe a touch less militantly non-local than before.  But I just like the way his stuff tastes.  And he's got to be one of the best fish chefs around.

The service didn't hang together.  I think the problem was that there was no continuity; rather, it was like every FOH person was his or her own satellite.  As an example, when I arrived, I checked in at the desk.  The person at the desk had me shown to a table.  And then, a few minutes later, an officious guy appeared at tableside and asked me if I'd talked to anyone yet (the clear implication being that I was someone who had just been walking up the block and decided to sit down).  I told him I'd checked in and had been seated -- and would appreciate someone's taking my cocktail order, as my date had given me no particular reason to expect she'd be on time.

It continued in like manner throughout the night.  You'd tell one server something, and then another server would appear who'd never heard it.

I really did like the food, though.  But then I always like Chef Hergatt's food.

Copious heat lamps.  Which is an important consideration these days.

 

They haven't fixed the service yet. We were outside, having determined that the weather finally permitted outdoor dining again (but yes, we needed the heat lamps). They had a few tables dining indoors, and the outdoor terrace was full, but service was slow. One hour fifteen minutes from being seated to getting what used to be called an appetizer, but is now a small plate. Yes, we did eat some nori chips off the "bites" menu in that time, but it's still a long time.

Servers were absent for long periods too: I had to flag down a manager to order a glass of wine. The food when it came was good; less tweezered and complicated than Juni or SHO, but a lot of pretty colors. About $100 per person all included (but one person wasn't drinking).

 

 

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It's annoying how few places will take outdoor reservations for one person.  I get the business reasons for this, and I sympathize and even support them.  But then stop trying to make me feel guilty for not "supporting" the industry by eating out enough.  The industry won't let me!

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And just to expand on this:  where has it been announced that it's a good idea to eat out with people outside your "pod"?  I mean, I still go on dates with my GFs, cuz like I gotta.  But the idea that I have to do something that all health authorities tell me is risky in order to book a table in most places just seems wrong.  Well, no.  As I said, what seems wrong is that the industry seems to be trying to guilt me for not doing it.

Where do they think we are?  Florida?

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