Bauer’s Star Strategy, Sifton’s Music, and the Arguments For and Against Critics

* New York Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton makes a lot of musical references. [Eater]

* Also, he doesn’t mean to be a (unprintable word). [Grub Street NY]

* Frank Bruni discusses his life as a regular citizen. [Food and Wine, Part I and Part II]

* In case you were wondering what critic Gael Greene loves and where she eats (and you know you were JUST wondering those very things), wonder no more. [Insatiable Critic]

* Speaking of critics, what are they good for? [The Atlantic]

* Something? [SF Weekly]

* Nothing? [Dallas News]

* Meanwhile, Chronicle critic Michael Bauer explains how he awards stars. [InsideScoopSF]

* …but, apparently, no one really cares. [Modern Luxury]

Status Salads; Meaningless Restaurant Concepts; and Other Trends in Dining

* Some upscale Manhattan restaurants, including 21 Club, The Four Seasons, Fred’s at Barney’s, and Michael’s, serve upscale “status” salads at upscale prices. [NY Post]

* Eater is calling for an end to certain restaurant concept trends, decrying them as meaningless. [Eater]

* San Francisco Chronicle scribe Michael Bauer ponders whether non-restaurants are justified in charging restaurant prices (They’re not). [InsideScoopSF]

* Bacon camp is the new rock star camp. [Washington Post]

* This is what summer looks like, to some of the UK’s best chefs. [London Times, registration required]

* Frank Bruni wasn’t fond of sidewalk seating, but some serious eaters are. [Serious Eats]

* It’s tough to wait for brunch — so don’t. [SF Weekly]

* Emily Stokes of the Financial Times wonders about “one-dish wonders.” [Financial Times]

* Bachelor parties have gone from tasteless to tasting menus. [The New York Times]

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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. []

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

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What Waiters Hate: Restaurant Pros Turn the Tables on Diners

What-Waiters-HateBecause 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.