The FoodboombloggerWest has some reservations about getting reservations.
Upscale places in LA, New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami and anywhere there is an urban crush make it tough to spend money in their restaurants. Some places pride themselves on making a reservation difficult to maintain exclusivity. Others are so in demand that one must go through raw masochistic punishment to snag a table. The means of this punishment can be a confusing lottery system, endless attempts at dialing in by phone,and paying for a ticket for a table in advance, or buying such a ticket marked up again by a reseller-formerly known as a gouger.
It’s 12:01 am and after demon dialing the French Laundry for hours I finally get to snag a table 60 days out. It’s one of the finest restaurants in the history of eating and everyone from serious culinary connoisseurs (including me) to Trust Fund kids as well as all the posing, name dropping, star fucking restaurant baggers in between want to go there at least once before that final dry heave- and they all have to dial in. In its own way their system has the trappings of a democratic system for booking a table although I suspect Thomas Keller keeps a two top or two in his hip pocket for that special patron.
Alinea, a heroically pricy cutting edge dining destination for the privileged and enlightened requires a pre-payment through the Tock website. I almost get that too. It separates the players from those just playing around.
Trois Mec in LA does the same. At both places your ticket can be auctioned off to a higher bidder and there’s a resale market for the table on the restaurant’s facebook pages as well.
Restaurants have a slim profit margin and no shows truly hurt, especially where Chef Achatz special ordered a pulsating wad of briny Uni just for your Sea Urchin Cotton Candy.
There is a shocking number of reservations that “no show” which has caused the industry to create all these new annoying obstacles that make securing a reservation at select places more of a maddening Herculean quest than something to look forward to. So, for those who don’t call to cancel and don’t show after booking a table…acid reflux on you. You’ve ruined it for the rest of us proper citizens. And while I’m spewing complaint’s in every direction, if you book a table, be on time. It’s a matter of respect and insures that your favorite hip spot stays open.
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