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Ambria - going out with a bang

Ambria - going out with a bang
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  • Ambria - going out with a bang

    Post #1 - June 19th, 2007, 9:52 am
    Post #1 - June 19th, 2007, 9:52 am Post #1 - June 19th, 2007, 9:52 am
    Is it my fault that Ambria is closing? Maybe it's your fault. Or, maybe it really is just time. However, after dining there recently, I have to wonder why it's closing at all. The food was magnificent and the service impeccable. Have the diners stopped coming? Is it just about buzz . . . or the lack thereof?

    At our 'goodbye to Ambria' meal, we dined with friends who used to be regulars. It had been 8 years since their last visit. Yet, they couldn't put a finger on exactly why it was they stopped coming. Sure, they'd moved to the suburbs, but these are friends with whom we dine in the city frequently. We've hit dozens of Chicago's finest restaurants together but never Ambria. Now, we'd waited so long, the occasion was the meal itself.

    The last time I'd been to Ambria? I don't exactly remember, but it was 19 eighty-something at a family dinner with my parents, who paid. I couldn't tell you what I ordered or how it was. The memory -- which may indicate something about Ambria's impending fate, if it is typical in any way -- is of a formal meal at "some restaurant my parents like in Lincoln Park."

    So, here I was again, but this time with the benefit of more than a little perspective. Until now, I'd never seen this gorgeous room as a grown-up. I'd never appreciated its warmth nor its unique vibe. As it turns out, my fuzzy memory of Ambria really had nothing to do with Ambria. As I immediately became comfortable in the cozy surroundings, I felt a bit of panic when I remembered that this place, which I had clearly misjudged, was about to go away. Well, at least we were here now -- before it was to disappear for good -- and that was going to have to suffice. But it was a bittersweet experience, for sure.


    Image
    Amuse of cold Strawberry-Beet Soup. I was surprised by how well these flavors went together but what really impressed me was how you could distinctly taste the individual, bold flavors of beet and strawberry coming through, right next to each other, at the same time. The presence of these clean and distinctive flavors set the tone for our meal and pretty much everything that followed it reflected the same adept hand.


    Image
    Grilled Manchego cheese and Jamon Serrano mini-sandwich. This was an intense little bite that lived up to its ingredients, 100%.


    Image
    Charcuterie Plate, which included house-made Rabbit Terrine with Brandied Apricots (left) and Duck Pate with Pistachio (center). Even though I love it in almost every form, my policy with charcuterie is to only order it where it is made in-house. Here, the 2 house-made terrines were both fantastic. The presence of boudin blanc, Spanish chorizo and Jamon Serrano highlighted the distinctive fusion of French and Spanish-influenced cuisines, which Ambria's current menu delivers in delectable droves.


    Image
    Panfried Maryland Softshell Crab with rioja potatoes, spring peas and green garlic-aioli. This may be my favorite soft shell crab dish of the season. The potatoes had a smokey note which combined very well with the crispy crab.


    Image
    Tasmanian Red Sweet Crab Salad with meyer lemon curd, white gazpacho emulsion, szechuan pepper and saffron rice crisp.


    Image
    Crispy Veal Sweetbreads with ragout of morels, green garlic, wild ramps and Jamon Serrano. I really loved these sweetbreads which were crispy and tender. They were served with an insane portion of morels, along with some wonderful spring peas. If not my favorite rendition ever, pretty high up there.


    Image
    Trio of Baby Beets with tat soi, marcona almonds, villa manadori balsamic vinegar, fresh Capriole Farms goat cheese.


    Image
    Seared Scallop with spring peas.


    Image
    Legendary Sommelier Bob Bansberg decants our red wine for us.


    Image
    Maitre d'Hotel Manuel Vila prepares the 30 oz, bone-in ribeye for service, tableside.


    Image
    In a flash, Manuel plates it up.


    Image
    One gorgeous serving of the bone-in ribeye.


    Image
    Pommes Souffle. What can you say about these awesome little units? Pretty much potato crack.


    Image
    Ambria Farm Plate, which consisted of roasted duck (left), guinea hen (center) Jen Ehr Farms spinach, lentils du pays, morel mushrooms, hakuri turnips, green cabbage and natural jus. When this dish was placed on the table the server described the item in the top, right corner of the plate as "I won't tell if you don't tell." Of course, it was a succulent plank of foie gras, seared to perfection on the outside and perfectly creamy within. This nearly brought a tear to my eye.


    Image
    Roasted, milk-fed, center-cut, Veal chop with spring onion, green garlic marmalade, baby spinach, boudin blanc, morel mushroom cream, madiera sauce. This was a gloriously tender and flavorful chop and the accompanying elements supported it so well. This was as good a veal chop as I've ever eaten.


    Desserts for us were mostly souffles, which are ordered before the meal because of their required preparation time. On this night we tried 3, Grand Marnier, Lemon and Almond (Amaretto). In my opinion, the Almond was the best of the lot and since it was the one I'd ordered, this made me especially happy. For purposes of the camera, they all looked about the same . . .

    Image
    Lemon Souffle getting hit with a warm stream of creme anglaise.


    One of our friends ordered a non-souffle dessert that was also fantastic . . .

    Image
    Soft pecan caramel with almond brittle, vanilla ice cream and salty caramel sauce. This was described by someone as a 'deconstructed snickers bar.' That label was fairly accurate and lacked only the words 'superior quality.'


    Image
    Mignardise. Ok, I got to try a piece of the cannelle and it was excellent. But someone at our table ate the rest of the little treats, so I have no idea how they were. But, I could fashion a guess if I had to :wink:

    It was interesting talking to the various Ambria FOH'ers over the course of the evening and learning their plans for the future. There are some very exciting prospects on the horizon for a few staffers and I certainly hope they work out. Still, I kept asking myself "why . . . why was Ambria closing?" This food was as good as any I've been served in a long time and found myself a bit disappointed that the plug was being pulled. Still, considering this was my first visit in over 20 years, who was I to complain? It's hard to believe that a restaurant operating at this level could get caught in a corporate numbers game, but that's exactly what appears to have happened.

    In any case, I wonder where Ambria's insanely talented executive chef, Christian Eckmann, will wind up. The man's cooking at a level that should be drawing constant accolades yet he works in relative obscurity. For 5 years he's run Ambria and soon he'll be swept away to make room for reconcepting and Laurent Gras. LEYE has a genuine star in their midst whom they seem to have decided to ignore. I truly hope that chef Eckmann remains in Chicago. If not, I fear his departure will be a bigger loss for this town than most of us realize. As it stands, the loss of Ambria itself is reason enough to be sad.

    =R=

    Ambria
    2300 N Lincoln Park W
    Chicago, IL 60614
    773 472-5959
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #2 - June 19th, 2007, 10:28 am
    Post #2 - June 19th, 2007, 10:28 am Post #2 - June 19th, 2007, 10:28 am
    What great pictures! When is it slated to close?
  • Post #3 - June 19th, 2007, 10:49 am
    Post #3 - June 19th, 2007, 10:49 am Post #3 - June 19th, 2007, 10:49 am
    It closes the end of June - check out www.ambriamemories.com for more info and more pics...

    I too will miss Ambria greatly - being one of our favorite restaurants in Chicago.

    Hopefully, Rich Melman will turn it into something even greater than Amria was.
  • Post #4 - June 19th, 2007, 11:10 am
    Post #4 - June 19th, 2007, 11:10 am Post #4 - June 19th, 2007, 11:10 am
    I loved Ambria, and I tried to get down at least once a year. It was always busy when I went, so I don't think the closing is for lack of customers.

    Ambria was the place we chose to have our blowout before the foie gras ban went into affect, because Ambria had just about the best seared foie gras in the city.

    I love the decor -- all that wonderful, curvy, dark wood, art deco gloriousness.

    I will miss the sommelier terribly -- the first sommelier to talk me into a less expensive wine simply because it tasted better. Bob was phenomenally knowledgeable but not snooty in the least.

    The food was always spectacular. Seeing that soft pecan caramel saddens me because that was the last dessert I had there, and now it is going a way.

    This closing actually saddens me more than the recent closing of Le Francais -- because Le Francais stopped being a big part of my life when Jean Banchet left, but Ambria has remained a favored destination. (And I live five minutes from Le Francais and almost an hour from Ambria.)

    I don't suppose there will be lines outside, as with the Berghoff, but I can't imagine a reservation will be available for th restaurant's last weeks -- but if you haven't been before and you can get in, do try to visit before it's gone.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #5 - June 20th, 2007, 9:56 am
    Post #5 - June 20th, 2007, 9:56 am Post #5 - June 20th, 2007, 9:56 am
    Is anyone else going to the Ambria closing dinner? We are coming in almost purely for this. OK, fine I've got a job interview the previous day.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #6 - June 20th, 2007, 10:05 am
    Post #6 - June 20th, 2007, 10:05 am Post #6 - June 20th, 2007, 10:05 am
    I was last at Ambria a little under a year ago. The night I went, they were hitting on all cylinders. While at one time I was a frequent customer (mostly due to the fact that I live only a couple of blocks up the street), my visits have become much less frequent. For me, I don't think the reason has anything to do with the quality of the food or the service slipping, it's mostly due to the fact that I no longer live all that close and there are so many other dining choices these days. I'm really going to miss Ambria, although I'm sure I will get over it eventually just like got over the fact that Al Farber's Other Side closed back in 1980 to make way for Ambria.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #7 - June 20th, 2007, 10:21 am
    Post #7 - June 20th, 2007, 10:21 am Post #7 - June 20th, 2007, 10:21 am
    Ambria was our engagement dinner (didn't propose their though), and subsequent anniversary dinner location. We've always been fans of the place, so we'll have to try and sneak one more visit in before they close.
    Not sure if we can schedule the closing dinner or not... sad to see it go.
  • Post #8 - June 20th, 2007, 1:15 pm
    Post #8 - June 20th, 2007, 1:15 pm Post #8 - June 20th, 2007, 1:15 pm
    Pomme souffles! Wowsers. They awesome.
  • Post #9 - June 20th, 2007, 3:37 pm
    Post #9 - June 20th, 2007, 3:37 pm Post #9 - June 20th, 2007, 3:37 pm
    Mrs.Monkey just made reservations for us on the 30th, apparently it'll be a prix fixe 6-couse celeb. favorite dishes from last 30 yrs. looking very forward, I haven't been in like 6 yrs. :D
    Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously. Moses, he knowses his toeses aren't roses, as Moses supposes his toeses to be.
  • Post #10 - June 21st, 2007, 7:38 am
    Post #10 - June 21st, 2007, 7:38 am Post #10 - June 21st, 2007, 7:38 am
    Kitchen Monkey wrote:Mrs.Monkey just made reservations for us on the 30th, apparently it'll be a prix fixe 6-couse celeb. favorite dishes from last 30 yrs. looking very forward, I haven't been in like 6 yrs. :D
    We'd love to be able to meet you while you are there- this is really our first big trip to Chicago as we will be signing our lease then- we always love to meet other people who love food!

    Edit to add- my best friend and my girlfriend and myself will all be there at 9:15.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #11 - June 22nd, 2007, 10:59 am
    Post #11 - June 22nd, 2007, 10:59 am Post #11 - June 22nd, 2007, 10:59 am
    I'll be there with Phyllis and some friends on June 30th for the farewell dinner.
    Lacking fins or tail
    The Gefilte fish
    swims with great difficulty.

    Jewish haiku.
  • Post #12 - June 22nd, 2007, 12:01 pm
    Post #12 - June 22nd, 2007, 12:01 pm Post #12 - June 22nd, 2007, 12:01 pm
    Am I the only guy who didn't like the wine guy? A remember a prior post where a lot of us felt that way. It might be an age thing -- we were about 35 when we went there and he might not have approved of people so young choosing wine. What an idiot.

    Count me as one of the people who won't miss the place at all. We may have gone when it was past its prime, but there was literal memorable about the meal (other than the annoying wine guy).
  • Post #13 - June 22nd, 2007, 12:38 pm
    Post #13 - June 22nd, 2007, 12:38 pm Post #13 - June 22nd, 2007, 12:38 pm
    DML wrote:Am I the only guy who didn't like the wine guy? A remember a prior post where a lot of us felt that way. It might be an age thing -- we were about 35 when we went there and he might not have approved of people so young choosing wine. What an idiot.

    Count me as one of the people who won't miss the place at all. We may have gone when it was past its prime, but there was literal memorable about the meal (other than the annoying wine guy).
    I don't know, the first time I met him I was like 23 or so and he and I got along pretty darn well. Hell he and some staff even met us out at a bar afterwards at which point we had a very drunken conversation about the merits of california cabernet as well as sancerre (and why there's no quality domestic sancerre). Like I said, we were drunk.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #14 - June 22nd, 2007, 2:14 pm
    Post #14 - June 22nd, 2007, 2:14 pm Post #14 - June 22nd, 2007, 2:14 pm
    For us, going into the City just became a pain. After 25+ years we called it quits on our Lyric Opera season tickets and we had switched from Saturday evening to the Sunday Matinee about 8 years ago. Dinner on a Saturday night is just too much traffic and trouble.
    I also think that 20+ years ago, this type of cuisine was not as accessable as it is now. More of us can do a lot more at our own kitchens then we could back then, but things change.
    The lack of a name Chef may be a contribitary cause.
    In any event, i will miss places such as Ambria and Le Francaise but I would not go out of my way to support them anymore.
    Or maybe, it's because of all the electronic flashes as individuals document thier dining experience?-Dick
  • Post #15 - June 22nd, 2007, 2:51 pm
    Post #15 - June 22nd, 2007, 2:51 pm Post #15 - June 22nd, 2007, 2:51 pm
    budrichard wrote:Or maybe, it's because of all the electronic flashes as individuals document thier dining experience?-Dick

    If this comment is directed at me, fwiw, the above pictures (and all my restaurant pictures) were taken without a flash.

    However, there were a few flashes in the dining room on the night we were there, as some parties were asking the FOH staff to take their pictures. I thought it was wonderful to see that, even though the notion of photographing people seems downright silly to me.

    To each his own, I suppose.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #16 - June 22nd, 2007, 3:09 pm
    Post #16 - June 22nd, 2007, 3:09 pm Post #16 - June 22nd, 2007, 3:09 pm
    I find it really, really difficult to go back to an expensive restaurant, even one which I absolutely loved the first time, just because there are so many others I haven't been to that I want to try. I really hate this! But the fact is, there are only a few occasions when I'm going to want to spend a lot of money and (depending on the place) get dressed up, and when I do, I tend to use them on places I've never been.

    I went to Ambria the first time 15-20 years ago and it was very good indeed. I went back two years ago and it was as good as ever.

    However, there are other places I liked even more than Ambria, that I've taken even longer to return to. I absolutely loved Tallgrass, in Lockport, when I went there around 18 years ago; I thought it was one of the very best places I have eaten in the Chicago area. I finally got back to Tallgrass last month, and I fell in love with it all over again. I now have no intention of waiting years and years before returning... but I probably said that the first time I went there, too.

    The only time I made a conscientious exception with repeat visits was with Le Francais when Banchet was running it, because it was so far above and beyond everyplace else, and because I figured it wouldn't be there forever, so I returned numerous times over that period. And I'm now glad I did.
  • Post #17 - June 22nd, 2007, 4:02 pm
    Post #17 - June 22nd, 2007, 4:02 pm Post #17 - June 22nd, 2007, 4:02 pm
    jpschust wrote:....(and why there's no quality domestic sancerre).


    Sancerre is a grape?
    Is it as good as domestic chablis?
    :D

    TFPIC
  • Post #18 - June 22nd, 2007, 6:54 pm
    Post #18 - June 22nd, 2007, 6:54 pm Post #18 - June 22nd, 2007, 6:54 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:The only time I made a conscientious exception with repeat visits was with Le Francais when Banchet was running it, because it was so far above and beyond everyplace else, and because I figured it wouldn't be there forever, so I returned numerous times over that period. And I'm now glad I did.


    Good choice.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #19 - June 22nd, 2007, 8:41 pm
    Post #19 - June 22nd, 2007, 8:41 pm Post #19 - June 22nd, 2007, 8:41 pm
    I wish I could be there the last night but we will be in vegas - whoever goes please take pictures and also inquire when the auction will be for the memorablilia...

    Thanks!
  • Post #20 - June 25th, 2007, 7:15 am
    Post #20 - June 25th, 2007, 7:15 am Post #20 - June 25th, 2007, 7:15 am
    mhill95149 wrote:
    jpschust wrote:....(and why there's no quality domestic sancerre).


    Sancerre is a grape?
    Is it as good as domestic chablis?
    :D

    TFPIC
    :) (I'm glad someone caught that...like I said, it was a VERY drunken conversation :P)
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #21 - June 25th, 2007, 11:49 am
    Post #21 - June 25th, 2007, 11:49 am Post #21 - June 25th, 2007, 11:49 am
    I believe our reservations are for 9:30 and we'd love to meet others too!
    Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously. Moses, he knowses his toeses aren't roses, as Moses supposes his toeses to be.
  • Post #22 - June 27th, 2007, 3:41 pm
    Post #22 - June 27th, 2007, 3:41 pm Post #22 - June 27th, 2007, 3:41 pm
    As a staff Photographer for the Wisconsin State Journal while in Graduate School, I learned very quickly that there is a right time to photograph and a wrong time. Even Spot News which is legally allowed in Public Places can be intrusive. I once refused to bring back photographs from an apartment fire on Xmas eve of the displaced people. It was just too heart breaking. The City Desk was furious and sent me back the next day for some sort of heart wrenching photo. I managed to line up a water soaked Raggedy Andy doll with the Fire Inspectors in the background. While photgraphing in a restaurant is admitally not the same as photographing people in distress, the same elements are involved in that one should always ask, am I disturbing others. Amatuers are either afraid to ask or have no clue, believing that they have the right to do whatever they want. Professional are not afraid to ask and in fact most of the time so called candids are in fact posed with the subject(s) consent.
    I go to a restaurant for good food, conversation with friends and good wine, not always in that order. Sitting through a meal while someone documents thier meal is a detrement to my enjoyment of what i came for. My perception is that a lot of this documentation is just to be able to show others, I was there.
    If I percieve that this type of documentation is detremental to my enjoyment, I approach management and give management the option of either asking the party to stop or losing me as a customer right then and there.
    So to answer the question if my comment was directed towards the initial Post, the answer is yes. The fact that flash was not used may or may not have a bearing. If I was at the next table and had to be in the vacinity of photographing an entire meal, I may in fact feel that i was disturbed, flash or not. If in another part of the restaurant, I would probably have no problem if not intrusive to me.
    My point is, that in a Public place, one has to consider the effect of ones actions on others.-Dick
  • Post #23 - June 27th, 2007, 3:47 pm
    Post #23 - June 27th, 2007, 3:47 pm Post #23 - June 27th, 2007, 3:47 pm
    I have never once either taken a photo of food in a restaurant or been disturbed by somebody else doing so. In Paris, I did have the waiter take a picture of my wife and I (it was our anniversary), and now I hope nobody was too upset.

    It seems like a matter of priorities. The photos only bother you if you pay attention to them. In contrast, I spend most of my meal paying attention to my wife or the food, or often both at once.
    Last edited by DML on June 27th, 2007, 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #24 - June 27th, 2007, 4:01 pm
    Post #24 - June 27th, 2007, 4:01 pm Post #24 - June 27th, 2007, 4:01 pm
    budrichard wrote:If I percieve that this type of documentation is detremental to my enjoyment, I approach management and give management the option of either asking the party to stop or losing me as a customer right then and there.

    ...

    My point is, that in a Public place, one has to consider the effect of ones actions on others.-Dick


    Exactly. One has to consider what effect the snit they go into over someone holding a non-flashing and silent camera over their plate at the table next to you will have on others. Like, for instance, making them lose whatever respect they had for you.

    Next time someone speaks at a restaurant, I think I should approach management and give them the option of asking the party to stop speaking or lose me as a customer right then and there.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #25 - June 27th, 2007, 4:14 pm
    Post #25 - June 27th, 2007, 4:14 pm Post #25 - June 27th, 2007, 4:14 pm
    budrichard wrote:As a staff Photographer for the Wisconsin State Journal while in Graduate School, I learned very quickly that there is a right time to photograph and a wrong time. Even Spot News which is legally allowed in Public Places can be intrusive. I once refused to bring back photographs from an apartment fire on Xmas eve of the displaced people. It was just too heart breaking. The City Desk was furious and sent me back the next day for some sort of heart wrenching photo. I managed to line up a water soaked Raggedy Andy doll with the Fire Inspectors in the background. While photgraphing in a restaurant is admitally not the same as photographing people in distress, the same elements are involved in that one should always ask, am I disturbing others. Amatuers are either afraid to ask or have no clue, believing that they have the right to do whatever they want. Professional are not afraid to ask and in fact most of the time so called candids are in fact posed with the subject(s) consent.
    I go to a restaurant for good food, conversation with friends and good wine, not always in that order. Sitting through a meal while someone documents thier meal is a detrement to my enjoyment of what i came for. My perception is that a lot of this documentation is just to be able to show others, I was there.
    If I percieve that this type of documentation is detremental to my enjoyment, I approach management and give management the option of either asking the party to stop or losing me as a customer right then and there.
    So to answer the question if my comment was directed towards the initial Post, the answer is yes. The fact that flash was not used may or may not have a bearing. If I was at the next table and had to be in the vacinity of photographing an entire meal, I may in fact feel that i was disturbed, flash or not. If in another part of the restaurant, I would probably have no problem if not intrusive to me.
    My point is, that in a Public place, one has to consider the effect of ones actions on others.-Dick

    The irony is, if I were picking my nose or repeatedly passing gas at my table, your discomfort would be far less irrational and there wouldn't be a whole lot you could do about it.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #26 - June 27th, 2007, 4:19 pm
    Post #26 - June 27th, 2007, 4:19 pm Post #26 - June 27th, 2007, 4:19 pm
    The irony is, if I were picking my nose or repeatedly passing gas at my table, your discomfort would be far less irrational and there wouldn't be a whole lot you could do about it.


    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    that is all
  • Post #27 - June 27th, 2007, 5:13 pm
    Post #27 - June 27th, 2007, 5:13 pm Post #27 - June 27th, 2007, 5:13 pm
    budrichard wrote:Sitting through a meal while someone documents thier meal is a detrement to my enjoyment of what i came for.


    Do you really think that you will persuade any of us who take pictures to stop? You better get ready for a world of disappointment, as taking pictures of food is something that is becoming more and more commonplace.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #28 - June 27th, 2007, 7:13 pm
    Post #28 - June 27th, 2007, 7:13 pm Post #28 - June 27th, 2007, 7:13 pm
    Unless it violates the chef's Intellectual property.... :D
  • Post #29 - June 27th, 2007, 7:44 pm
    Post #29 - June 27th, 2007, 7:44 pm Post #29 - June 27th, 2007, 7:44 pm
    Ironic that we're getting persnickety about picture-taking at Ambria when my last meal there, 10 years or so ago, was the occasion of one of the more awkward moments I've experienced in a nice restaurant-- at one table, my wife and I and her midwestern parents; at the next table, an older guy and his blatantly obvious escort in a skimpy, electric green satin dress.

    Come to think of it, that would have been a meal to have a camera at.
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  • Post #30 - June 28th, 2007, 9:44 pm
    Post #30 - June 28th, 2007, 9:44 pm Post #30 - June 28th, 2007, 9:44 pm
    budrichard wrote:As a staff Photographer for the Wisconsin State Journal while in Graduate School, I learned very quickly that there is a right time to photograph and a wrong time. Even Spot News which is legally allowed in Public Places can be intrusive. I once refused to bring back photographs from an apartment fire on Xmas eve of the displaced people. It was just too heart breaking. The City Desk was furious and sent me back the next day for some sort of heart wrenching photo. I managed to line up a water soaked Raggedy Andy doll with the Fire Inspectors in the background. While photgraphing in a restaurant is admitally not the same as photographing people in distress, the same elements are involved in that one should always ask, am I disturbing others. Amatuers are either afraid to ask or have no clue, believing that they have the right to do whatever they want. Professional are not afraid to ask and in fact most of the time so called candids are in fact posed with the subject(s) consent.
    I go to a restaurant for good food, conversation with friends and good wine, not always in that order. Sitting through a meal while someone documents thier meal is a detrement to my enjoyment of what i came for. My perception is that a lot of this documentation is just to be able to show others, I was there.
    If I percieve that this type of documentation is detremental to my enjoyment, I approach management and give management the option of either asking the party to stop or losing me as a customer right then and there.
    So to answer the question if my comment was directed towards the initial Post, the answer is yes. The fact that flash was not used may or may not have a bearing. If I was at the next table and had to be in the vacinity of photographing an entire meal, I may in fact feel that i was disturbed, flash or not. If in another part of the restaurant, I would probably have no problem if not intrusive to me.
    My point is, that in a Public place, one has to consider the effect of ones actions on others.-Dick


    I never thought to compare photos taken of a meal to photos taken of the victims of an apartment fire :roll: . How often do you run into photos being taken of the food at a restaurant, in my experience that does not happen even 1 in 10. Unless you are famous and the paparazzi follows you out when you dine. When I am dining at a restaurant such as Ambria or even Kuma's Corner, my focus is on the food not if someone is snapping shots of their frisee salad. As to you informing the restaurant that if they do not stop photos being taken or they will lose you as a customer...do you think they would rather have you or Ronnie Suburban (or the like) taking quality photos that help their restaurant?

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