Top Restaurant Complaints: Really?

Top Complaints Top Restaurant Complaints: Really?Detroit Free Press writer Slyvia Rector gathered a list of common complaints diners have when visiting a restaurant. Frankly, I was shocked by what I read. Not because they were controversial, but because they seemed so banal (and petty). The top complaint of all was regarding diners being addressed as “you guys.” While this probably isn’t appropriate (or heard) at a white-tablecloth restaurant, if you’re elsewhere — say at a BBQ joint — is that truly offensive?

Other trespasses include servers who ask if diners need change when they’ve paid their bill, checks that are brought too soon, and the use of “the same dirty cloth all over the dining room.” The first two offenses probably depend on the volume of diners at a restaurant and, again, whether or not it’s a fine-dining establishment. The latter, however, is a problem of perception over reality. Every restaurant I’ve worked at, high and low-end, has had a bevy of bain maries filled with water and bleach, each with towels in them. It may have looked like there was one cloth on duty on any given evening, but, rest assured, there were many and they were returned to their bleach-y water after each use.

I had expected to read more grumbling about prices, portion size, waiting too long for an order to be taken or for food to arrive, lighting — and even temperature. So let’s hear it! What are you biggest complaints when dining out? Shout ‘em out here or share your gripes with your fellow Facebookers.


‘Top Chef’ Washington, D.C.: Meet the Cast of Season 7

Top Chef 2010 Top Chef Washington, D.C.: Meet the Cast of Season 7Bravo announced the eagerly anticipated cast list for the forthcoming season of Top Chef. The show’s seventh season will include cheftestants from many restaurants on the OpenTable network.

* Amanda Baumgarten, 27, hails from Los Angeles, where she currently cooks at Ford’s Filling Station. She has a flair for butchering and loves to cook meat on the bone. Her favorite recipe is roasted baby lamb with pomme cocotte persillade.

* Tracey Bloom, 33, grew up in Shortsville, New York, and now works in Atlanta, Georgia, as executive chef at Table 1280. She attended the Culinary Institute of America, becoming an expert in the sweet and savory side of culinary arts. Her favorite recipe is English pea salad.

* Boston’s own Ed Cotton, 32, is executive chef at Manhattan’s newly opened Plein Sud in Tribeca’s stylish Smyth Hotel. His favorite recipe is fresh farm egg ravioli with a silky English pea puree, spring onion fondue and crispy pancetta, and he loves to serve rabbit.

* Raised in the nation’s capital, Timothy Dean, 39, is the chef-owner of Prime Steak House in Baltimore, Maryland. He trained at Howard University and with the late, great chef, Jean-Louis Palladin. His favorite dishes are Maine lobster with mac & cheese and shaved black truffles and pan seared Hudson Valley foie gras with rhubarb and 20-year-old Port wine sauce.

* Don’t mess with Texas chef Tiffany Derry. She started earning her toque at an IHOP before attending culinary school at The Art Institute. Executive Chef at Go Fish Ocean Club in Houston, Derry, 26, always keeps Dijon, Creole mustard, champagne vinegar, kosher salt and Creole seasoning on hand, and her favorite recipe is spring risotto.

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Britain’s Best Restaurants for Outdoor Dining

The Times Online released a round-up of the best restaurants to grab an al fresco bite in and around London this summer. Included on the list are Auberge du Lac, The Brudenell Hotel, Ferryboat Inn, The Hoste Arms, and The New Mill. Read the full round-up and compare it to the OpenTable Diners’ Choice winners for outdoor dining in London.

Noisy Restaurants Prove Unappetizing for Some Diners

Noisy restaurants Noisy Restaurants Prove Unappetizing for Some DinersSan Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer understands that not every diner can (or wishes to) tolerate noisy restaurants. In his ratings, in fact, you’ll find a special category that addresses noise levels, such as this from his recent review of Ristobar: “Noise rating: BOMB; Too noisy for normal conversation (80+ decibels).” (He very much enjoyed the food, however.) Likewise, Washington Post reviewer Tom Sietsema began rating noise levels in restaurants two years ago, writing, “More than bad food, more than tipping quandaries, more than someone wondering if a free meal should follow a rodent sighting in a dining room, the most frequent concern I get from readers involves loud restaurants.”

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Aldino’s in Chicago; Boston’s Menton; Hibiscus in Oakland; and Other New Reviews

Reviews and previews of restaurants on the OpenTable network…

* Diners will like the “mom-and-pop touches” at Aldino’s in Chicago, says Phil Vettel. [Chicago Tribune]

* Denver restaurant reviewer Tucker Shaw revisits a restaurant a second time for the first time, and he finds Black Pearl to be a true “gem.” [Denver Post]

CAV Winebar and Kitchen chef John Maher is a star, according to Michael Bauer.[SF Gate]

Elements Kitchen in Pasadena has “all the elements of success,” according to S. Irene Virbila.[Los Angeles Times]

* Carol Ness calls Oakland restaurant Hibiscus “fine dining that’s fun.” [SF Gate]

* New New York City restaurant Leona’s, located in The Helmsley, promises to offer “the best service in the city.” [The New York Times]

* Sam Sifton calls The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges “a welcome addition” to New York’s Upper East Side. [The New York Times]

* Patrick Main digs the scene and the food at Menton, Barbara Lynch’s latest Boston restaurant. [WeeklyDig.com]

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OpenTable for Nokia Is Now Available for Symbian S60 5.0 touch Devices

We are pleased to announce that OpenTable for Nokia is now available on Ovi Store by Nokia, allowing diners to reserve tables instantly and for free at thousands of restaurants in the UK, U.S., Canada and Mexico. Key features include the ability to:
* Find restaurants around your current location with availability and book on the spot
* Refine search results by cuisine, price and points
* Read fresh and relevant reviews by recent OpenTable diners
* Manage upcoming reservations
* Send SMS messages with reservation details to the rest of your dinner party
OpenTable for Nokia is available  for Symbian S60  5.0  touch device users residing in the UK, U.S., Canada and Mexico. Users of non-touch Nokia devices such as the Nokia E72 will be able to download the app in the coming weeks.
OpenTable for Nokia is the company’s latest smartphone application, following the releases of applications for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Palm.

Nokia1 OpenTable for Nokia Is Now Available for Symbian S60 5.0 touch DevicesWe are pleased to announce that OpenTable for Nokia is now available on Ovi Store by Nokia, allowing diners to reserve tables instantly and for free at thousands of restaurants in the UK, US, Canada, and Mexico. Key features include the ability to:

* Find restaurants around your current location with availability and book on the spot

* Refine search results by cuisine, price and points

* Read fresh and relevant reviews by recent OpenTable diners

* Manage upcoming reservations

* Send SMS messages with reservation details to the rest of your dinner party

OpenTable for Nokia is available for Symbian S60 5.0 touch device users residing in the UK, US, Canada and Mexico. Users of non-touch Nokia devices such as the Nokia E72 will be able to download the app in the coming weeks.

OpenTable for Nokia is the company’s latest smartphone application, following the releases of applications for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Palm.

Kelly Liken Talks ‘Iron Chef’; Marc Forgione Shows a Patron the Door; and More

Chefs in the news…

* Sacré bleu! Daniel Boulud (Bar Boulud) is planning a new NYC restaurant — and it’s not going to be French. [Eater]

* Marcus Samuelsson exits the kitchen at Aquavit. Officially. [Slashfood]

* Chefs of the future may not even have — gasp! — restaurants. I’m not sure that’s a world I’m ready for. [Eater]

* R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means to Dirt Candy chef Amanda Cohen. [Grub Street New York]

* Tom Colicchio (Craftbar), David Chang, Wylie Dufresne (wd-50), and Eric Ripert (Le Bernardin) walk into a bar…. Well, not really. They actually walked onto the set of HBO’s Big Easy-themed show Treme. [Eater New York]

* Colorado-based chef Kelly Liken, whose eponymous restaurant is highly regarded, talks about the mettle it takes to appear on “Iron Chef.” [NRN]

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‘The Restaurateur’ Danny Meyer Is Ready for His Close Up

Danny Meyer The Restaurateur Danny Meyer Is Ready for His Close Up
Photo: Ellen Silverman

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to open a restaurant in Manhattan? How about two — at once? Wonder no more. Eater reports that a new documentary about Danny Meyer, one of New York’s most esteemed and successful restaurateurs, is about to hit the big screen. Thanks to The Restaurateur, for the first time, you can see what it took to bring Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park and the stylish Tabla to life — at the very same time. The film follows Meyer, who serves on the Board of Directors for OpenTable, and the evolution Eleven Madison Park, from its brasserie origins to its current four-star status, which was a result of the arrival of chef Daniel Humm.

In addition to Meyer, whose Union Square Hospitality Group includes Blue Smoke, Gramercy Tavern, Maialino, The Modern, Union Square Cafe, and others, a pre-”Top Chef” Tom Colicchio (Craft) also appears in the film.

Have you eaten at a Union Square Hospitality Group restaurant? Which one is your favorite? Share your opinion here or over on Facebook.

Food Allergies and Preferences Put Even the Best Chefs to the Test

Food Allergies Food Allergies and Preferences Put Even the Best Chefs to the Test Lately it seems as though you can’t dine out (or in) with a group of friends without dining with someone who has food allergies — or strong food preferences. Be it an allergy to dairy, gluten, nuts, or seafood or a preference for raw foods or vegan cuisine, diners are testing the mettle of many chefs with extreme special requests. Janny Hu, of the San Francisco Chronicle, visits the issue, talking with chefs at Coi, La Mar Cebicheri­a Peruana, and Saison to find out how they handle multiple special requests — often from the same individual.

Find out if the diner is ALWAYS right, and let us know what you think about folks who make multiple special requests relating to ingredients. Should someone who is allergic to dairy and gluten expect to be accommodated at a pizza place? Should chefs be ready to prepare raw foods on a moment’s notice? Weigh in here or over on Facebook.

Michael Bauer Defines Fine Dining; Colicchio Recommends It; and More

This week in dining trends…

* A reader asks San Francisco Chronicle restaurant reviewer Michael Bauer talk about what “fine dining” means  — leading him to wonder if it means anything anymore. [SF Gate]

* Tom Colicchio (Colicchio & Sons) is (shocker!) a fan of fine dining, and he debunks some myths about the experience to CNN. [CNN]

* The stroller set has plenty of eating options in the Big Apple, as high-end restaurants embrace little foodies. [The New York Times]

* Speaking of kids, child and parenting behavior expert Priscilla J. Dunstan has her own tips for taking the little ones out to dinner. [KansasCity.com]

* The size of your server is directly related to the size of your order. [Slashfood]

* Your server’s tableside manner is directly related to your enjoyment of your order. [Seattle Times]