Vancouver’s Divino Is Divine; Go Fish Ocean Club Is a Catch; and Other Reviews

Restaurants scoring positive reviews…

* Balsan‘s steadfastly seasonal Chicago cuisine wins praise from Elaine Glusac. [The New York Times]

* Daniel Boulud proves nothing succeeds like success, with a stellar review from Richard Vines for his London outpost of Bar Boulud. [Bloomberg]

* Phil Vettel thinks that former underground restaurant Bonsoirée is too legit to quit. [Chicago Tribune]

* Mia Stainsby finds Vancouver’s Divino quite divine. [Vancouver Sun]

* S. Irene Virbila takes a first look at First & Hope and likes its Southern food and supper-club vibe as does LA Weekly‘s Jonathan Gold. [Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly]

* Steve Cuozzo thinks Todd English’s new Food Hall at the Plaza is sweet. [NY Post]

* AA Gill awards London’s The French Table three shiny stars. [Times Online]

* The executive chef at Dallas’ Go Fish Ocean Club is a contender on the upcoming season of Top Chef, and with good reason, according to Leslie Brenner. [Dallas Morning News]

* Amy Kuperinsky takes a gander at new New Jersey steakhouse Hamilton & Ward, which features a dish called the Flintsone. [NorthJersey.com]

* In Boston, Jerry Remy Sports Bar and Grill is getting it right. [Boston Herald]

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Chefs Pick Their Fave Apps; Bourdain Takes Aim; Jeremy Fox Picks Plum

In recent chef-related news…

* The James Beard Foundation announces its list of chefs’ favorite iPhone apps — and guess what makes the cut? [LA Weekly]

* Lost track of your fave NYC Top Chef contestants? Eater has put together a nifty map to help you track ‘em down. [Eater NY]

* Chefs, particularly those in San Francisco, like tattoos. [SF Weekly via Grub Street SF]

* Chicago chef Rick Bayless (Topolobampo) aced his White House dinner. Shocker! [Grub Street Chicago]

* Anthony Bourdain (Les Halles) takes aim, not once but twice, and let’s just say that you probably don’t want to find yourself in his crosshairs. [Eater National]

* Joey Campanaro (Kenmare) is going to set up camp in the City of Brotherly Love. [Philly.com]

* Having conquered the Hudson waterfront, Tom Colicchio (Colicchio & Sons) sets his sights on Manhattan’s East River. [Eater NY]

* Windy City chef Graham Elliot does not negotiate with social-media terrorists. [Eater National]

* Todd English takes over an old laundry room at the Plaza and turns into the fun Food Hall. [Slashfood]

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Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week 2010: Hot Deals in the Desert

Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week 2010: Hot Deals in the DesertThere are many reasons to visit Palm Springs — but this has got to be the tastiest one! Beginning today and running through June 13, Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week is bringing you 10 days of delicious dining — $24 or $36 menus. Organized by the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Association, this restaurant week is a culinary celebration featuring restaurants from the entire Valley from Palm Springs to Indio.

Participating restaurants include Bellatrix, Cuistot, Purple Palm Restaurant, and Tuscany, as well as many others. Whether you’re a local, a vacationer, or a day-tripping Angeleno looking for fine food at even finer prices, Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week has something for you.

View the full list of participating restaurants, and book your tables today!

San Francisco Dine About Town Starts Today

SF Dine About Town Summer 2010 San Francisco Dine About Town Starts TodayThe Bay Area’s favorite two weeks return, thanks to San Francisco Dine About Town 2010. Running through June 15, San Francisco Dine About Town allows you to enjoy two-course lunches for $17.95 and three-course dinners for just $34.95. A great opportunity to sample the fare at some of San Francisco’s finest restaurants, participants include Anchor and Hope, Fish & Farm, Luna Park, Roots, and Spruce, among many others.

Reserve early and often so you don’t miss out on delicious dining at a discount all around San Francisco.

Best Late Night Dining: OpenTable 2010 Diners’ Choice Winners

Best Late Night Dining Best Late Night Dining: OpenTable 2010 Diners’ Choice WinnersThe days are getting longer and nights out are getting later — which is why OpenTable is very pleased to announce the 50 restaurant winners of OpenTable’s 2010 Diners’ Choice Awards for Best Late Night Find Restaurants. Derived from 5 million+ reviews submitted by OpenTable diners of more than 11,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, this list fetes the restaurants that serve up great food and fun well into the night.

Perfect for diners who hit the town when others are winding down, the list of winners is a great guide for the night-owl crowd. Honorees hail from cities all around the nation, such as Bluefin in Memphis, DISH in Dallas, Rumba in Chicago, Solas in Raleigh, Strip in Atlanta, and The Black Pearl in Ann Arbor. If you’re seeking supper after a late movie or a long evening at the office, these and other restaurants waiting to satisfy your appetite.

Find out which other restaurants made the list, and tell us what your late-night faves are on Facebook or in the comments.

‘Sex and the City 2′ Twitter Trivia Dinner Giveaway: Follow @OpenTable Today

SATC 2 Sex and the City 2 Twitter Trivia Dinner Giveaway: Follow @OpenTable Today
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

There’s no free lunch, but thanks to our ‘Sex and the City 2′ Twitter trivia giveaway, there is such a thing as free dinner. Today between 1PM-2PM PST (4PM-5PM EST), we’ll be giving away dinner for four at the restaurant of your choice in honor of the return of Carrie and Co. to the big screen. All it takes to win is a tweet!

To enter to win, follow @OpenTable on Twitter and watch out for our giveaway tweet of the day. Tweet back the correct answer to our “Sex and the City” trivia question and stay tuned. Dinner for four will be awarded to the first entrant who provides the correct answer. The winner will be announced on Twitter.

Read the official rules and regulations below, and, just like that, you could win dinner for your own fab four!

follow bird us c Sex and the City 2 Twitter Trivia Dinner Giveaway: Follow @OpenTable Today

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‘Sex and the City’ Restaurants: Where the Fab Four Dined in New York

Sex and the City 2 Sex and the City Restaurants: Where the Fab Four Dined in New York
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Brothers

Not every restaurant featured in the “Sex and the City” franchise is real. Raw, where Smith first waited on Samantha in episode 76, doesn’t exist. Nor does La Doleur Exquise, the, ahem, S&M-themed restaurant in episode 24. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to retrace Carrie’s Manolo Blahnik-ed footsteps around the island of Manhattan — especially at its restaurants. In honor of the release of Sex and the City 2 tomorrow, here are some of the real-life restaurants featured on the series and in the films, at which you can raise a Cosmo to Ms. Bradshaw and her besties.

21 Club
Carrie bursts into tears while tearing into a steak at this clubby Manhattan classic as she learns Big has returned to town from Napa to have “a little heart thing” done (aka angioplasty).

ABC Kitchen
Before there was a Jean-Georges restaurant in this Manhattan home-décor mecca, Charlotte butts heads here with Bunny, the mother of all mother-in-laws, over a new bed for her and Trey.

Blue Water Grill
A Union Square favorite, Charlotte brunches at Blue Water Grill with Arthur, a Harvard grad, whose behavior is more perilous than chivalrous.

Brasserie 8 1/2
This midtown stand-by marks the spot where Carrie is discovered and recruited as a “real” model for Dolce & Gabbana, only to wind up as fashion roadkill.

Buddakan
Carrie and John’s rehearsal dinner for their temporarily doomed wedding is held at perennial Chelsea hotspot Buddakan in the first big-screen adaptation of the series.

Casa Mono
It was Irving at Irving when the show filmed, but now it’s the stylish Casa Mono, outside which Carrie and Charlotte spend time deciding how many of the male passers-by they would, um, well, you know.

Centrico
Before it was Mexican fave Centrico, it was Layla, at which Mr. Big (who was Mr. Ex) attends Carrie’s birthday party. There are both belly dancers and awkwardness as the single scribe celebrates another year.

Commerce
Commerce’s predecessor, Grange Hall (also this blogger’s favorite extinct restaurant), served as the Paris restaurant where Carrie’s French fans fete her (albeit without her) in the final episode of the series.

Da Marino
The second time’s the charm (at least for a time) for Big and Carrie as he serenades her over Italian food at Da Marino, where Chris Noth is a real-life regular.

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How to Become a Regular at a Restaurant

The restaurant world is abuzz about regulars this week. The New York Times recently talked to William Herz, a regular at NYC Theatre District stand-by Sardi’s for almost 80 (!) years (Forget a favorite table; Mr. Herz even has his own cup.). And, the folks behind legendary Manhattan media magnet Michael’s have started tweeting about the movers and shakers who regularly power-lunch there each day.

While diners love being regulars, restaurants love regulars because they, like every business, depend on repeat business. I spoke with New York restaurateur Dean Philippis, owner of  Mill Pond House and Piccolo Restaurant, whose restaurants are regularly filled with — you guessed it — regulars. He says, “Every time that door opens up and it’s a regular, well, it’s the most flattering compliment a diner can give you.” Such flattery is always recognized by Philippis and his staff. “We make sure we remember their names. We know what tables they like to sit at. We have their drinks on the table before they have to order them. We never take them for granted.” From bringing restless children ice cream while a frazzled parent enjoys an entree or dashing out for slice of pizza for a picky young diner, he says, “It’s about the consistent level of care a guest receives.”

Obviously, it’s not difficult to become a regular at a restaurant. If you’re looking to speed up the process, it helps to book on OpenTable as it’s easy for the staff to tell that you’ve dined with them previously. Philippis also recommends that aspiring regulars frequent a restaurant on a weeknight. “During the week, there are more opportunities for my staff and me to engage with guests and really get to know them,” he shares. While the Bay Area Food Blog has just posted some fun tips for being a “good” regular, Philippis notes, “Diners shouldn’t have to do anything more than continue to show up to be embraced as a regular.”

Are you or have you been a regular at a restaurant and for how long? What are the perks of being a regular? Tell us your story here or join the conversation on Facebook.

What Waiters Hate: Restaurant Pros Turn the Tables on Diners

What Waiters Hate What Waiters Hate: Restaurant Pros Turn the Tables on DinersBecause this is a diner-centric blog, we usually talk about the experience of going to restaurants from a patron’s perspective. Lately, though, some folks have been wondering what waiters think about the diners they serve. Over in the UK, Simon Usborne of The Independent gets a top waiter to spill the details on “waiter speak” and how you may be being unwittingly manipulated — or insulted — by your server. And, InsideScoopSF scribe Michael Bauer asks his readers who have been on the other side of the table to tell him what waiters hate when it comes to tough tables.

As a former wait staffer, what I disliked most were diners who were perpetually looking for something for nothing. The folks who asked for extra this or that and then balked when I told them there would be a charge for it. Servers don’t set policy; management does — yet that never stopped the most parsimonious patrons from trying to (figuratively) kill this messenger.

Are you or have you ever been a wait professional? What do diners do that makes your job more difficult than it should be? Share you story here or over on Facebook.

Bloggers Want More Light; Dining in the Dark; Tableside Food Prep; and More

This week in dining trends…

* Do younger foodies have reservations against making reservations? Michael Bauer investigates and his readers join the debate. [InsideScoopSF]

* Eating salty things with sweet things tastes good. Of course, this is not news to anyone who has ever had PMS. [Chicago Tribune]

* The new food pornographers want more than good food; they want good lighting. [Eater]

* Dining in the dark is a delicacy for London foodies (presumably those that don’t have a predilection for photographing their food, anyway). [Chicago Sun-Times]

* The folks over at Serious Eats NY debate what a reasonable automatic gratuity is. The consensus is, well, there is no consensus. [Serious Eats NY]

* Speaking of gratuities, have you ever wondered “What Would Jesus Tip?” Wonder no more. [Everyday Christian]

* There’s a new herb in the kitchen, and it’s not oregano. [The New York Times]

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