Ed Levine at Serious Eats spends more time on diners than anyone rightly should.
Diners, or proto-diner establishments, have been a part of American life for more than 140 years now […] They have played a significant role in art high and low, from Edward Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks’ painting to Barry Levinson’s Diner movie. You’d be hard pressed to find a year in American television and film that doesn’t have at least one scene set in a diner. I’d even go so far as to call it the quintessentially American restaurant.
He even goes on to recommend some NYC diners and which dish to get at them, which, to me, defeats the purpose of the diner…they are not destination establishments, but purely about convenience.
Brian Palmer at Slate makes a fairly convincing argument to abolish tipping in America.
Tipping does not incentivize hard work. The factors that correlate most strongly to tip size have virtually nothing to do with the quality of service. Credit card tips are larger than cash tips. Large parties with sizable bills leave disproportionately small tips. We tip servers more if they tell us their names, touch us on the arm, or draw smiley faces on our checks. Quality of service has a laughably small impact on tip size. According to a 2000 study, a customer’s assessment of the server’s work only accounts for between 1 and 5 percent of the variation in tips at a restaurant.
He makes several good points, however, most foreigners I’ve spoken with absolutely love the service they get while in American restaurants, and they believe that tipping is a huge part of that.
The Times’ Pete Wells reviews Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square:
GUY FIERI, have you eaten at your new restaurant in Times Square? Have you pulled up one of the 500 seats at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar and ordered a meal? Did you eat the food? Did it live up to your expectations?
When you hung that sign by the entrance that says, WELCOME TO FLAVOR TOWN!, were you just messing with our heads?
EVERYTHING about this review is just so so awesome.
Eater has posted the harshest lines of the review with pictures of cats.
UPDATE: The Times Public Editor weighed in on whether such overwhelmingly negative reviews should be written, saying:
Is it ever really acceptable for criticism to be so over the top, considering that there are human beings behind every venture? I think it is. That kind of brutal honesty is sometimes necessary. If it is entertaining, all the better. The exuberant pan should be an arrow in the critic’s quiver, but reached for only rarely.
6. Frat boys, drunk chicks, bachelorettes, and hammered CEO’s: please stop doing cocaine and throwing up in our bathrooms. Go to a house party or your hotel room if you need to get wasted.
9. Drinking melted ice and calling it a cocktail. I’m sorry, you already drank your cocktail. Now you’re just drinking a memory.
I’m glad I’m not guilty of any of them (so far).
I thought a lot of them were just common sense, but I’m starting to learn that common sense isn’t that common.
5. Tables should be level without anyone asking. Fix it before guests are seated.
58. Do not bring judgment with the ketchup. Or mustard. Or hot sauce. Or whatever condiment is requested.
A Chicago newspaper performed DNA tests on sushi to see if what was being advertised was actually being sold. They tested “red snapper” from 14 different restaurants. Not a single one was red snapper.
When I’m sick, there’s nothing I like more than wonton soup from my favorite Chinese restaurant.
The best Chinese restaurant near me has a computerized order tracking system with Caller ID so when I call and ask for delivery, they ask if I want the “usual”, I say, “yes”, they say, “20 minutes”, and we both hang up. In 20 minutes, my food arrives.
So one week, a long time ago, I was deathly ill (small cold) and I called just to order some wonton soup. After picking up the phone they asked if I wanted the “usual”, I told them that I just wanted a large wonton soup. 20 minutes later, wonton soup showed up.
I did the same thing the following day.
On the third day, when I called and declined the usual and ordered wonton soup, the woman on the phone asked, “Why you only order wonton soup? You sick?”
“Yes,” I responded.
“Feel better. I give you extra fortune cookie.” Then she hung up.
I eventually pulled out of danger and went on with my life (two days later). About a day after that, I got a card in the mail. The front of the card had the name of the Chinese restaurant I order from, and the inside had the following handwriting, “Mr. Joshua, sorry to hear you are feeling ill. Hope hour(sic) soup helped make you feel better. Please visit us when you are well. Your friends at xxxxx xxx (name withheld to protect the restaurant)” It was signed by a few signatures, all in Chinese, so I couldn’t read any of them.
I did appreciate the sentiment.