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  • Post #481 - September 6th, 2009, 12:00 am
    Post #481 - September 6th, 2009, 12:00 am Post #481 - September 6th, 2009, 12:00 am
    gleam wrote:
    Steve Plotnicki wrote:D’Uh.


    I just have to interject with something completely off-topic: D'Uh is not related to D'oh, and so that spelling makes no sense. The correct spelling is "duh".

    That had been bothering me for a while.


    In NYC we say po-tah-to. 8)
  • Post #482 - September 6th, 2009, 12:04 am
    Post #482 - September 6th, 2009, 12:04 am Post #482 - September 6th, 2009, 12:04 am
    Steve Plotnicki wrote:
    gleam wrote:
    Steve Plotnicki wrote:D’Uh.


    I just have to interject with something completely off-topic: D'Uh is not related to D'oh, and so that spelling makes no sense. The correct spelling is "duh".

    That had been bothering me for a while.


    In NYC we say po-tah-to. 8)


    In the OED we say "duh" :)
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #483 - September 6th, 2009, 12:35 am
    Post #483 - September 6th, 2009, 12:35 am Post #483 - September 6th, 2009, 12:35 am
    In each instance the point isn't to create leverage, it's to facilitate communicating that if I am treated in a certain manner, I am in a position to appreciate it. Nothing about any of those announcements requires the restaurant to do anything special, and there is no implication that anyone will be upset if they don't,


    ok, first of all.... bull.

    second, even if that's true IN YOUR INDIVIDUAL CASE, you must realize that there are people who do claim to be writers, bloggers, friends of investors, etc, who DO try to create leverage in order to get special treatment, comps, etc. right? you realize that?

    so, if you do, you MUST realize that by copping the attitude that you do (and yes, it comes through loud and clear from your posts here and entries on your blog) that you run the risk of having the chef misinterpret your intentions. mustn't you?
    http://edzos.com/
    Edzo's Evanston on Facebook or Twitter.

    Edzo's Lincoln Park on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Post #484 - September 6th, 2009, 12:56 am
    Post #484 - September 6th, 2009, 12:56 am Post #484 - September 6th, 2009, 12:56 am
    I just have to say this has been the funniest, weirdest and in some ways most revealing thread I've ever seen at LTH. Severely entertaining.
    trpt2345
  • Post #485 - September 6th, 2009, 7:45 am
    Post #485 - September 6th, 2009, 7:45 am Post #485 - September 6th, 2009, 7:45 am
    elakin wrote: ok, first of all.... bull.

    second, even if that's true IN YOUR INDIVIDUAL CASE, you must realize that there are people who do claim to be writers, bloggers, friends of investors, etc, who DO try to create leverage in order to get special treatment, comps, etc. right? you realize that?


    First of all you have created a strawman that has nothing to do with this conversation. But more importantly, why would you or anyone else here care what people say or do to get the treatment they are looking for? I mean if you know how to walk into a restaurant and say alakazam and get a better meal than I can as a result, why on earth would I care about that? More power to you.

    The issue here isn't what people say to get a better meal, the real issue is if people wrongly punish the restaurant for not giving it to them if they ask for it. In my instance. all we asked the restaurant to do is to send out their best possible meal. That isn't an unreasonable request. And when they failed at that task, Dutchmuse punished them for that. That he announced who I was in advance didn't create the punishment, it was their failure at completing a reasonable task that caused it. Had he never sent an email in advance and the same mishap occured, he would have punished them the same way. That's why this whole blowhard thing is a strawman. Restaurants are a service business and they are supposed to serve their customers properly, even if they happen to be blowhards. There is no such thing as the blowhard excuse.

    so, if you do, you MUST realize that by copping the attitude that you do (and yes, it comes through loud and clear from your posts here and entries on your blog) that you run the risk of having the chef misinterpret your intentions. mustn't you


    First of all it’s not an attitude. What is wrong in asking a kitchen to serve you their best possible meal? 90% of the top chefs in the world get it right. In fact the point of Dutchmuse’s post was to say that if L2O wants to be considered a top tier dining experience, they need to fix this problem.

    Let me ask you a question, don’t you think I would rather be talking about the food than this bullsh*t? The reason we are talking about something other than the food is that the restaurant screwed up. But because you guys are trying to protect the restaurant you are trying to blame their screwup on us. Well it doesn’t compute. Restaurants have a job to do and if they screw up they should be criticized for it.
  • Post #486 - September 6th, 2009, 8:59 am
    Post #486 - September 6th, 2009, 8:59 am Post #486 - September 6th, 2009, 8:59 am
    Steve Plotnicki wrote:What is wrong in asking a kitchen to serve you their best possible meal? 90% of the top chefs in the world get it right. In fact the point of Dutchmuse’s post was to say that if L2O wants to be considered a top tier dining experience, they need to fix this problem.

    I find it amusing (and disturbing) that after a single meal at L20 you are able to judge L20 compared to the very top restaurants in the world (where you presumably also dined only one time) and that you are convinced that your lone meals are representative of the very best these restaurants can possibly offer. Unfortunately, your assumptions are based upon the premise that these restaurants treated your dining experience as one of utmost importance to them (something you have not shown to be true). Perhaps if L20 believed Grant Achatz and Thomas Keller would be dining together, then the meal would have been different.

    But I doubt that when you announced you would be visiting the entire restaurant staff was on pins and needles believing that their future hinged on the experience they could provide to your table, and only your table. And what makes you think L20 had any desire to show off to you? As if they was cooking for an assembly of the top chefs around the world for which they had weeks or months to prepare, or a New York Times restaurant critic.

    If you really wanted to test your theory that telling a restaurant who you are and demanding that they prepare the best possible meal is the way to get the restaurant's very best, then you would have to dine at the restaurant multiple times and mix up the variables - i.e., telling the restaurant you are coming and demanding their best, versus simply showing up with a reservation and not letting them know who you are. And what about dressing to the nines versus dressing more casually. Until you've done this level of testing, I find that your survey represents merely a comparison of one meal to another, the same comparison we all make when we go on vacations, but certainly nothing that gives you any specialized knowledge of dining out.
  • Post #487 - September 6th, 2009, 9:25 am
    Post #487 - September 6th, 2009, 9:25 am Post #487 - September 6th, 2009, 9:25 am
    Steve:

    Do you think you could go update OAD instead of throwing drunk windmill punches? It's been three months, yo--this boy needs some L'Arpege-meets-awkward-syntax action.
  • Post #488 - September 6th, 2009, 9:26 am
    Post #488 - September 6th, 2009, 9:26 am Post #488 - September 6th, 2009, 9:26 am
    Some facts seem to perhaps get lost in all the hyperbole:

    1) It was neither Steve's, nor Gary's, nor my first meal at L2o. I had been there once before and I know Steve and Gary have each been there at least once before.

    2) We did not "announce" (or whatever perjorative adjective folks have used) we were "big shots." Steve made a reservation under his name, and I sent a private email to the sommelier asking for their policies regarding bringing wine and asking the corkage policy/fees. In my introduction to her, I introduced her to the two other diners with their work/blogs in parentheses to give her the context. The email was unassuming, polite, asking for policies, and even stated, "we want to be good guests." Had I not mentioned their work, I could imagine a number of pages--after my review--lambasting me for not giving the restaurant a heads up as to who would be there. "This is so unfair--you should have told them" might have been a solid round of criticism there.

    3) If you re-read my review (which I'll remind folks was written by me, not Steve--it almost seems people assume Steve ghost wrote it), I think its balanced and fair. It criticizes the restaurant but also gives praise. There are words such as brilliant and stupendous in the review.

    4) Isn't this site set up for people to, in their own way, review their experience at a restaurant?

    As Steve commented at the end of our meal, and it is so true, if L2o wants to be a 4 star restaurant, it has to act like a 4 star restaurant.

    Some people's comments--which I read with interest and, for the most part, appreciation--that it is wrong, immoral, crass, or inappropriate to ask the kitchen to cook for them, seem appropriate if applied to some place such as IHOP or a diner, but it is not inappropriate at a restaurant such as L2o. A foodie friend of mine who lives in Chicago just got back from Paris and commented to me he had a meal at Guy Savoy and when I asked him what he had, he recited it and said "I asked the kitchen cook for me." For restaurants that purport to be gastronomic establishments worthy of a special trip, this really isn't that unusual a request and I'm surprised its been greeted here as some strange and unheard of, even entitled, request. Yes, if we were at Taco Bell, it would be absurd but not at a place like L2o. Restaurants like this hear it all the time.

    I'm eager to hear about the experience of our fellow LTH'er who was to have gone to L2o last night. I'm hoping he had a great time and a great meal as I think there are flashes of total brilliance there and if the stars are in alignment, it can really come together.

    I'm looking forward to our LTH dinner at L2o. One person has sent me a PM wishing to attend. If anyone else would like to join, that would be great. We could meet each other in person and experience L2o as a group of like minded folks interested in food and dining. For all the energy posted in comments in this thread, few seem to want to come together to experience the restaurant in one dining experience. Still room for you!
  • Post #489 - September 6th, 2009, 9:36 am
    Post #489 - September 6th, 2009, 9:36 am Post #489 - September 6th, 2009, 9:36 am
    DutchMuse wrote:Had I not mentioned their work, I could imagine a number of pages--after my review--lambasting me for not giving the restaurant a heads up as to who would be there. "This is so unfair--you should have told them" might have been a solid round of criticism there.

    You can imagine it, but that doesn't mean it would have happened.

    Straw man.

    (Incidentally, as somebody who been hanging around this community for quite a while now, if not for the content of that E-mail, my money's on this entire thread debacle never happening... there's perhaps some discussion of the "cook for me" ordering, but the tone that everybody objects to hinges on that pre-announcement. Well, and Plotnicki's subsequent posting, but that wouldn't have happened if it hadn't gotten testy in the first place. I think both of you grossly underestimate the weight that part of the story carries in how it comes across.)
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #490 - September 6th, 2009, 9:43 am
    Post #490 - September 6th, 2009, 9:43 am Post #490 - September 6th, 2009, 9:43 am
    chezbrad wrote:Steve:

    Do you think you could go update OAD instead of throwing drunk windmill punches? It's been three months, yo--this boy needs some L'Arpege-meets-awkward-syntax action.


    Actually I am writing a post about Michael Nagrant that is to be published on Tuesday morning.

    For the record, that was my first meal at L2O. But as to the earlier post that assumes I have only been to the other top restaurants one time as well, that's just wrong. I have been to most top restaurant between 4-8 times including Fat Duck Troigros, Arpege, Gagnaire, various iterations of Robuchon, French Laundry, Jean Georges etc. I've even been to most of the restaurants in Spain on multiple occcasions, including twice to El Bulli with a third trip scheduled in November.

    Let me relate a story about El Bulli that is on point. If you go to the restaurant on say a Thursday night, and you ask them if you can come back for a second meal over the weekend, and they have a cancellation, you will find that they will have created an entirely different menu for you so you don't have to eat the same food twice, even though you haven't asked them to do it and everyone else in the restaurant is eating that night's menu! Why does the restaurant do this? Well it stems from the tradition of gourmands getting better treatment than other diners. There is nothing a chef likes more than a diner liking his food so much that they want to return a day later to eat it again. The same exact thing happens at The French Laundry. In fact something similar happened to me when I went to El Poblet. Even though we had an extensive tasting menu, I insisted on adding a paella to the menu. When it came time to serve the paella, Quique Dacosta invited us to visit the kitchen where he explained his theories on paella. At the end of the demo, he invited me back to the restaurant for a weekend of dining where one night would be dedicated to his serving the seven different paellas that he created over the past seven years. And this is how diners who show a keen interest in cuisine are treated all over the world. Except at L2O that is where the restaurant seem to function like a high end Houston’s.
    Last edited by Steve Plotnicki on September 6th, 2009, 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #491 - September 6th, 2009, 9:53 am
    Post #491 - September 6th, 2009, 9:53 am Post #491 - September 6th, 2009, 9:53 am
    Dmnkly wrote:
    DutchMuse wrote:Had I not mentioned their work, I could imagine a number of pages--after my review--lambasting me for not giving the restaurant a heads up as to who would be there. "This is so unfair--you should have told them" might have been a solid round of criticism there.

    You can imagine it, but that doesn't mean it would have happened.

    Straw man.

    (Incidentally, as somebody who been hanging around this community for quite a while now, if not for the content of that E-mail, my money's on this entire thread debacle never happening... there's perhaps some discussion of the "cook for me" ordering, but the tone that everybody objects to hinges on that pre-announcement. Well, and Plotnicki's subsequent posting, but that wouldn't have happened if it hadn't gotten testy in the first place. I think both of you grossly underestimate the weight that part of the story carries in how it comes across.)


    This is ridiculous; I am sorry.
  • Post #492 - September 6th, 2009, 10:02 am
    Post #492 - September 6th, 2009, 10:02 am Post #492 - September 6th, 2009, 10:02 am
    DutchMuse wrote:
    Dmnkly wrote:
    DutchMuse wrote:Had I not mentioned their work, I could imagine a number of pages--after my review--lambasting me for not giving the restaurant a heads up as to who would be there. "This is so unfair--you should have told them" might have been a solid round of criticism there.

    You can imagine it, but that doesn't mean it would have happened.

    Straw man.

    (Incidentally, as somebody who been hanging around this community for quite a while now, if not for the content of that E-mail, my money's on this entire thread debacle never happening... there's perhaps some discussion of the "cook for me" ordering, but the tone that everybody objects to hinges on that pre-announcement. Well, and Plotnicki's subsequent posting, but that wouldn't have happened if it hadn't gotten testy in the first place. I think both of you grossly underestimate the weight that part of the story carries in how it comes across.)


    This is ridiculous; I am sorry.

    That you feel so really is the crux of the conflict and has been the entire time, even if you still don't realize it.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #493 - September 6th, 2009, 11:00 am
    Post #493 - September 6th, 2009, 11:00 am Post #493 - September 6th, 2009, 11:00 am
    DutchMuse wrote:
    Some people's comments--which I read with interest and, for the most part, appreciation--that it is wrong, immoral, crass, or inappropriate to ask the kitchen to cook for them


    The funny part is that Steve and you seem to be caught up in this notion that it's inappropriate to ask the kitchen to cook for you. I'm not sure that if that's the only request that anyone in this community really takes that to be immoral, unethical or whatever adjective you'd add to it.

    By the sheer virtue of announcing yourself or a guest as being a national blog writer/restaurant ranker, whether your intentions were there or not it does cast the message that you expect to be treated differently than others. There's absolutely no good reason to include it.

    That said, given the context of this thread and of past discussions around the opinionated about dining survey it's not particularly surprising.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #494 - September 6th, 2009, 11:05 am
    Post #494 - September 6th, 2009, 11:05 am Post #494 - September 6th, 2009, 11:05 am
    jpschust wrote:By the sheer virtue of announcing yourself or a guest as being a national blog writer/restaurant ranker, whether your intentions were there or not it does cast the message that you expect to be treated differently than others. There's absolutely no good reason to include it.


    Sure there is because it increases the odds that a restaurant does something special for you including giving them the opportunity to source special ingredients.

    Which do you think is better, having Laurent Gras tell you that had he known you were coming he would have ordered an ingredient that is a seasonal specialty that he typically orders for special customers, or are you better off having him say, had I known you were coming I would have ordered it? That's why the objection to doing it is so silly

    .
  • Post #495 - September 6th, 2009, 11:08 am
    Post #495 - September 6th, 2009, 11:08 am Post #495 - September 6th, 2009, 11:08 am
    jpschust wrote:The funny part is that Steve and you seem to be caught up in this notion that it's inappropriate to ask the kitchen to cook for you. I'm not sure that if that's the only request that anyone in this community really takes that to be immoral, unethical or whatever adjective you'd add to it.

    By the sheer virtue of announcing yourself or a guest as being a national blog writer/restaurant ranker, whether your intentions were there or not it does cast the message that you expect to be treated differently than others. There's absolutely no good reason to include it.


    Restaurants tell me they prefer to know who's going to be in the dining room on a given night. I've often had restaurants say "thanks for letting us know" when letting them know with whom I'd be dining.

    But you disagree; can we politely agree to disagree without invoking morality or judgments?
  • Post #496 - September 6th, 2009, 11:15 am
    Post #496 - September 6th, 2009, 11:15 am Post #496 - September 6th, 2009, 11:15 am
    DutchMuse wrote:
    jpschust wrote:The funny part is that Steve and you seem to be caught up in this notion that it's inappropriate to ask the kitchen to cook for you. I'm not sure that if that's the only request that anyone in this community really takes that to be immoral, unethical or whatever adjective you'd add to it.

    By the sheer virtue of announcing yourself or a guest as being a national blog writer/restaurant ranker, whether your intentions were there or not it does cast the message that you expect to be treated differently than others. There's absolutely no good reason to include it.


    Restaurants tell me they prefer to know who's going to be in the dining room on a given night. I've often had restaurants say "thanks for letting us know" when letting them know with whom I'd be dining.

    But you disagree; can we politely agree to disagree without invoking morality or judgments?
    We can disagree, but I will not back down from saying that I believe it is highly unethical to identify oneself as a writer of a national blog or survey in advance of coming into a restaurant. It casts a cloud of questionable judgement around Opinionated About Dining, and around other bloggers and writers who do the same.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #497 - September 6th, 2009, 11:27 am
    Post #497 - September 6th, 2009, 11:27 am Post #497 - September 6th, 2009, 11:27 am
    jpschust wrote:
    DutchMuse wrote:
    jpschust wrote:The funny part is that Steve and you seem to be caught up in this notion that it's inappropriate to ask the kitchen to cook for you. I'm not sure that if that's the only request that anyone in this community really takes that to be immoral, unethical or whatever adjective you'd add to it.

    By the sheer virtue of announcing yourself or a guest as being a national blog writer/restaurant ranker, whether your intentions were there or not it does cast the message that you expect to be treated differently than others. There's absolutely no good reason to include it.


    Restaurants tell me they prefer to know who's going to be in the dining room on a given night. I've often had restaurants say "thanks for letting us know" when letting them know with whom I'd be dining.

    But you disagree; can we politely agree to disagree without invoking morality or judgments?
    We can disagree, but I will not back down from saying that I believe it is highly unethical to identify oneself as a writer of a national blog or survey in advance of coming into a restaurant. It casts a cloud of questionable judgement around Opinionated About Dining, and around other bloggers and writers who do the same.


    But OA and bloggers didn't do this--I did (I have no affiliation with OA). I am a private diner with no blog.

    You view it as highly unethical. I view your viewpoint as naive, uninformed, and provincial.

    Let's just agree to disagree; each of our viewpoints is known.
  • Post #498 - September 6th, 2009, 11:33 am
    Post #498 - September 6th, 2009, 11:33 am Post #498 - September 6th, 2009, 11:33 am
    Personally, I find Steve's responses and explanations on this now classic thread more insightful/distasteful than I do to what actually occurred @ the restaurant.

    Is it 17.5 yet?
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #499 - September 6th, 2009, 11:58 am
    Post #499 - September 6th, 2009, 11:58 am Post #499 - September 6th, 2009, 11:58 am
    I always find it amusing when someone continues to insist that, no, they did not come across as a big, arrogant asshole. That all the people reading the many posts here, the many blog posts, etc, are all mistaken.

    Despite the fact that it's pretty clear the restaurant thought they were a group of big, arrogant assholes, and now, after relaying every minute detail of the interaction, 90+% of those reading here are also saying that, yes, they came across as big, arrogant assholes, the people in question still insist that everyone involved except them was wrong.

    Here's a clue, folks; even if you didn't intend it that way, if almost everyone interprets your behavior as that of a big, arrogant asshole, it's probably wise to take note. If you don't mean it that way, then you're not communicating well. If you are communicating well, then you are, in fact, acting like a big, arrogant asshole.



    if you know how to walk into a restaurant and say alakazam and get a better meal than I can


    Dude, it's a meal, not a competition.

    What's most annoying about this thread isn't the conflict (I know that skeeves many people on LTH out, but I don't mind it), it's the fact that this thread is so much more about DutchMuse and Steve Plotnicki than it is about L20.

    In fact, that seems to be the jist of Plotnicki's writing, whether here or at his blog. The subject matter isn't the restaurants he writes about, the subject matter is HIM. How well-traveled he is, how knowledgeable, what a gourmand he is, and, in general, how he's just so superior to, well.....everyone else.

    For that reason, I'm going to stop posting in this thread, because I believe that doing so just feeds the beast. Which, as I said, I don't mind doing when 'the beast' is some big dust-up contentious thread, but when 'the beast' is some narcissist blowhard intent on making every event some kind of exercise in positive self-image formation, my eyes glaze over.
    http://edzos.com/
    Edzo's Evanston on Facebook or Twitter.

    Edzo's Lincoln Park on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Post #500 - September 6th, 2009, 12:20 pm
    Post #500 - September 6th, 2009, 12:20 pm Post #500 - September 6th, 2009, 12:20 pm
    elakin wrote:Despite the fact that it's pretty clear the restaurant thought they were a group of big, arrogant assholes, when 'the beast' is some big dust-up contentious thread, but when 'the beast' is some narcissist blowhard intent on making every event some kind of exercise in positive self-image formation, my eyes glaze over.


    But you have no basis to say this. The truth is the restaurant realized they screwed up and the GM came over to apologize to us at the end of the meal.

    In fact, that seems to be the jist of Plotnicki's writing, whether here or at his blog. The subject matter isn't the restaurants he writes about, the subject matter is HIM. How well-traveled he is, how knowledgeable, what a gourmand he is, and, in general, how he's just so superior to, well.....everyone else


    But that's what makes my blog entertaining to certain people. If that's not to your taste, well then don't read it. But do you really have to insult me and the people who enjoy it because you don't? It just makes you look petty and foolish.

    For that reason, I'm going to stop posting in this thread, because I believe that doing so just feeds the beast. Which, as I said, I don't mind doing when 'the beast' is some big dust-up contentious thread, but when 'the beast' is some narcissist blowhard intent on making every event some kind of exercise in positive self-image formation, my eyes glaze over.


    Well let’s be honest about it. That isn’t the reason you are going to stop posting,. You are going to stop because every argument you have made has been answered in a polite way, and you are frustrated that we won’t back down in spite of your rudeness, baiting and name calling.
  • Post #501 - September 6th, 2009, 12:31 pm
    Post #501 - September 6th, 2009, 12:31 pm Post #501 - September 6th, 2009, 12:31 pm
    I just want to say, before this thread gets locked, that this has been the best week ever on LTH.

    Thank you to all who have contributed.
    "We eat slowly and with gusto." - Paul Bäumer in AQOTWF
  • Post #502 - September 6th, 2009, 12:36 pm
    Post #502 - September 6th, 2009, 12:36 pm Post #502 - September 6th, 2009, 12:36 pm
    DutchMuse wrote:
    jpschust wrote:
    DutchMuse wrote:Restaurants tell me they prefer to know who's going to be in the dining room on a given night. I've often had restaurants say "thanks for letting us know" when letting them know with whom I'd be dining.

    But you disagree; can we politely agree to disagree without invoking morality or judgments?
    We can disagree, but I will not back down from saying that I believe it is highly unethical to identify oneself as a writer of a national blog or survey in advance of coming into a restaurant. It casts a cloud of questionable judgement around Opinionated About Dining, and around other bloggers and writers who do the same.


    But OA and bloggers didn't do this--I did (I have no affiliation with OA). I am a private diner with no blog.

    You view it as highly unethical. I view your viewpoint as naive, uninformed, and provincial.

    Let's just agree to disagree; each of our viewpoints is known.


    I'd say your viewpoint is disturbingly naive as well, particularly the assumption that all restaurants are going to have the same attitude, or take the same approach to this issue. It goes hand in hand with Plotnicki's repeated statements of "it's the restaurants who established this, not me" which implies some sort of connection between restaurants that simply does not exist. That some restaurants choose to operate that way, does not mean that all do. And chastising one that doesn't because it doesn't follow the same rules that some others do is beyond presumptuous.

    As it happens, I used to work in the travel industry, doing sales and tour planning for a very high-end luxury tour operator for a few years, and continuing to do tour planning and escorting for a number of special interest groups on my own since then. The company I used to work for distinguished itself by providing "insider" features throughout the tours offered - anyone can book a group into nice rooms at the Shanghai Ritz-Carlton and send them to dinner at M on the Bund; far fewer can arrange lunch at Vongerichten's Hong Kong restaurant when it is only open for dinner; and nobody else can arrange for clients to get so close to the terra cotta warriors in Xian that the bold can reach out and touch one (one of the most memorable experiences of my life), or into areas of the Forbidden City that have been locked up for so long that you can see your footprints in the dust that has accumulated for decades (likewise). My clients ranged from the generally well-off, to famous authors, rock stars, and actors/actresses, to the mega-wealthy at a level even the last few could not ever hope to attain. So I'm rather confident that I am well-versed in the obtaining of special treatment, and frequent contact with restaurants and hotels to ensure perfection on a level most people can never dream of.

    That said, my experience with the issue of announcing clients to some of the best restaurants in the world largely boiled down to this: other than making a reservation, no further information was required, or generally desired - while they knew it was very important for my clients to be happy if I were to keep sending considerable business their way (and I guarantee you I - and my co-workers - had a much more quantifiable direct effect on business through our bookings than Mr. Plotnicki ever will), they also knew that the way they treated all of their visitors would be sufficient the vast majority of the time. When did most restaurants actually want, and appreciate, a heads up? When I had clients that I knew, or suspected, would be difficult if they didn't feel they were receiving extra special treatment...

    Oh, I also remembered just now Plotnicki's question of who restaurants prefer as clients: (something along the lines of) the party of 4 who spends $1300 and requires no special treatment, or the party of 4 who announces themselves ahead of time and requires sourcing of special ingredients, and to be treated with kid gloves, but spends $2600. Well, my experience in the travel industry was as the travel equivalent of a 4-star restaurant, with extremely similar clientele. And if you asked me who we preferred between the couple who just booked one of our group tours in China straight from the brochure for about $15,000 total, and the couple who came to me to put together a completely customized private tour of China that would include only a small number of the same visits but cost much more than the brochure tour (and generated proportionally larger profits), well there's no easy answer to that. If the custom touring couple turns out to be very easy-going and low maintenance and just wanted to get off the beaten path, then the extra money may be preferable depending on the amount of time and effort and extra expenses that went in to arranging their custom journey. But if they are demanding, and require that extra special treatment at every turn, then we would 100% prefer the couple going on the group tour and requiring no more handling than taking their reservation and payment and ensuring the entire group has a good time on their trip. The extra money just isn't worth the inevitable frustrations, scrambles to change something that shouldn't need to be changed, and frustration of the employees and contacts that have to deal with them throughout their journey.

    And Steve? It may not be the case but you come across as the client who demands special treatment at all times rather than the traveler who just wants to get off the beaten path for a while. The client I'd rather go to my competition than book with me. Likewise for Dutch.
  • Post #503 - September 6th, 2009, 1:00 pm
    Post #503 - September 6th, 2009, 1:00 pm Post #503 - September 6th, 2009, 1:00 pm
    But I did not "announce" bloggers to the restaurant. I emailed the sommelier to ask if we could bring wines and told her who I would be dining with. One purpose was to let her know we would be bringing appropriate wines rather than wines not suited to the occasion.

    If I had wanted to "announce" our visit to the restaurant (your characterization) I would have emailed the GM and my contacts at LEYE.
  • Post #504 - September 6th, 2009, 1:03 pm
    Post #504 - September 6th, 2009, 1:03 pm Post #504 - September 6th, 2009, 1:03 pm
    That was a good post UCJames but it is based on 3 false assumptions.

    1. We were unhappy that L2O doesn't operate that way. There are two aspects to that. The first one is that all we were unhappy about is that they didn't communicate to us that our server was choosing our meal. The second thing was a more generalized statement that Dutchmuse made and which I agreed with. Which was, if L2O wants to be considered a top tier restaurant, they need to be more sensitive to these types of diners. That doesn't mean they have to comply with their requests, it simply means they have to do a better job of communicating what is going on. That's the complaint. I'm used to a higher level of professionalism from a front of the house staff than L2O was able to offer me.

    2. Your luxury travel analogy doesn't hold, Ask any restaurateur and he will tell you that what makes his business work is the size of the average check. Since the goal is to get the average up, it is illogical to conclude that they aren't interested in selling extras to diners who want to pay for it

    3. Most importantly, you are confusing celebrity diners with passionate hobbyists. I am not looking to eat at L2O because it's the trendy thing to do, my particular hobby, which I would like to turn into a business, is codifying the best meals in the world. It's not the same as Sting calling up his travel agent and saying, I am going to be in Macau for a weekend and can you get me a reservation at the trendiest restaurant in town which I heard is Robuchon.
    Last edited by Steve Plotnicki on September 6th, 2009, 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #505 - September 6th, 2009, 1:14 pm
    Post #505 - September 6th, 2009, 1:14 pm Post #505 - September 6th, 2009, 1:14 pm
    DutchMuse wrote:But I did not "announce" bloggers to the restaurant. I emailed the sommelier to ask if we could bring wines and told her who I would be dining with. One purpose was to let her know we would be bringing appropriate wines rather than wines not suited to the occasion.

    If I had wanted to "announce" our visit to the restaurant (your characterization) I would have emailed the GM and my contacts at LEYE.


    It boggles my mind that you don't see it as such, but the email you actually pasted for us before very much announced your companions, Dutch. It may not have been your intention to do so, though that is frankly hard to believe, but that is effectively what you did.
  • Post #506 - September 6th, 2009, 1:20 pm
    Post #506 - September 6th, 2009, 1:20 pm Post #506 - September 6th, 2009, 1:20 pm
    UCJames - Are you actually saying that the restaurant would prefer NOT to know that I was coming? Why on earth would they not want advance notice about any potential VIP customer regardless of what causes that person's status? It makes absolutely no sense.
  • Post #507 - September 6th, 2009, 1:34 pm
    Post #507 - September 6th, 2009, 1:34 pm Post #507 - September 6th, 2009, 1:34 pm
    Because only you think you are a VIP?
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #508 - September 6th, 2009, 1:42 pm
    Post #508 - September 6th, 2009, 1:42 pm Post #508 - September 6th, 2009, 1:42 pm
    leek wrote:Because only you think you are a VIP?


    Whether I think of myself that way or not is irrelevant to the question I asked. I asked on what basis wouldn't a restaurant find it preferrable to not know in advance that any potential VIP was coming to the restaurant? If I ran a restaurant I would want to know wouldn't you?
    Last edited by Steve Plotnicki on September 6th, 2009, 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #509 - September 6th, 2009, 1:53 pm
    Post #509 - September 6th, 2009, 1:53 pm Post #509 - September 6th, 2009, 1:53 pm
    Steve Plotnicki wrote:UCJames - Are you actually saying that the restaurant would prefer NOT to know that I was coming? Why on earth would they not want advance notice about any potential VIP customer regardless of what causes that person's status? It makes absolutely no sense.


    What I was saying is that in my experience working with the best restaurants, a large percentage of their customers on any given night believe they are VIP customers. And for some of those restaurants, that may even be true. Which was fine, since all of their customers were going to be treated very well regardless. Typically for the restaurants I worked with, they only really wanted to know if I thought a client was going to be difficult and require at least the appearance of special treatment. I can think of at least one very big name restaurant that basically replied to me after being advised of "important" clients for the umpteenth time that all of their guests were important to them, did I feel there was anything about these particular guests that would require special handling?

    Generally speaking, they wanted to know if I thought a client was going to require a dog and pony show. Otherwise, it should go without saying that they were going to treat all of their clients as though they were important, because many of them actually are.
  • Post #510 - September 6th, 2009, 1:57 pm
    Post #510 - September 6th, 2009, 1:57 pm Post #510 - September 6th, 2009, 1:57 pm
    ucjames wrote:What I was saying is that in my experience working with the best restaurants, a large percentage of their customers on any given night believe they are VIP customers.


    VIP customers who gain their status from their celebrity or stature in the community are not the same as VIP customers whose status derives from being a passionate hobbyist who is well known in the fine dining community.
    Last edited by Steve Plotnicki on September 6th, 2009, 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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