Opinionated Abut Dining Survey

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November 30, 2007



I'm from germany, so please excuse my englisch. I just read my way through this website for the first time. Some of the writing is really helpful, but nevertheless I would like to add some short comments: numerous times the writer of this site calls himself a "critic". Iam sorry, but someone who hangs out with chefs (like S. Hermann) or wants to "speak to the chef" before (!!) dinner has started (oh my god...) etc is anything but a serious restaurant critic. A critic keeps himself in the backgrond, comes in, eats/drinks and goes. But you rather seem to *want* to be recognized at any cost. A little less self importance would do the writing real good. Don't get me wrong - I mean this just as a friendly advice. Best, Peter.

Steve Plotnicki

Thanks for your comment. What you are describing is the traditional definition of a food critic which is great for a newspaper, but doesn't work for true dining afficianados. I expect those who read this site to be interested in having the best dining experience possible, not the average experience which is what the traditional meda usually offers. And the way to do that is to be known to the house. In food criticism, anonymity breeds anonymous meals.


With all due respect - but most of the people who read this site won't have the same dining experience as you, anyway - because they don't know the chef/are not known to the house. So basically what you describe to them is sort of a "VIP"-dining-experience. So in this regard your "reviews" may be fun to read - but they are useless as a guideline since your meals are not represantative (at least in certain cases - maybe you should clearly mark the articles where you or some person in your party was "known to the house". Thanks!). Greetings from germany!

Steve Plotnicki

You don't have to know the chef to get what you call a "VIP meal." You just need to know how to communicate that you are an experienced diner. And it's very easy. All you have to do is to tell the Captain that you would like the kitchen to cook for you, and specify particular dishes to be included from the carte if you are aware of any. I assure you that in most instances the Captain will immediately go back to the kitchen and make them aware that you are a different type of diner than the average diner. And by putting yourself in the chef's hands,he (or she) will likely pay you a visit at the end of the meal to see how you enjoyed it, which affords you the opportunity to make chitchat about other chefs and restaurants. That's how you build relationships in restaurants.


I see. I'll try that on my next trip to the U.S. next year - but I can assure you that in germany it is extremely uncommon and regarded as rather impolite to tell the captain (or the chef) to "cook for you" - "go for the tasting menu" is what they will tell you, basically. And I think that is quite a good thing to do. Anyway: I was very surprised about your negative review of "Alinea" - have you been there again since then? (We planned to fly from L.A. to Chicago mainly to have dinner there...not a good idea? And did you try the "new Bastide" yet?). Thank you! Best, peter

Steve Plotnicki

I've been to Alinea a second time with only slightly better results than the first. I would like to go again but I am going to wait a bit. But I think you should give it a try. If you're into experimental cuisine, you should consider Moto while in Chicago as well.


You write very well.


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