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The writer of a January 1,1859 (that's correct) NYT review of NYC restaurants ended by noting that unlike certain London saloons, he knew of no establishments "...where the knives and forks are chained to the table to prevent their being stolen, and a Newfoundland dog is kept under the table for guests to wipe their hands on." Jan 1, 1859 - "How We Dine" by the Strong-Minded Reporter of the Times HowWeDine.pdf
Pete Wells carves up Per Se. Be very interesting to see what the fall-out is, at Per Se and other four-star places. If it has a possible dampening effect on the ridiculous price inflation in recent years, that will be reason enough to celebrate the review. I was just about to publish a post lamenting the prices at the D.C. places receiving such raves here of late (Kinship, Metier, Grill Room, the Source, etc.). I doubt I'll ever eat at these restaurants -- at a minimum, I'd feel deeply uneasy forking over such $$, an anxiety that would temper what I'm sure would otherwise be a great meal. But they don't even approach the NYC insanity. Like 99.9% of the population, I'll never eat at Per Se, or Masa, or Eleven Madison Park, etc.--let alone the most recent raved about NYC sushi spots that sound so enticing. Like the operations that charge $11 for a glass of juice, or $16 cocktails, apparently they've realized that the market will bear it -- there are enough expense accounts out there to fill the tables every night, apparently. So I don't begrudge them. Even so, the whole thing is rather depressing . . . and at Per Se level ("Can I interest you in some risotto with truffles -- for merely a $175 up-charge on your $350 plus alcohol and tax?"), positively obscene.
If I had seen this as a standalone topic rather than clicking right into the middle of it, I probably would have rolled my eyes. I read the whole thing and was fascinated by what she liked and didn't. http://www.thebolditalic.com/articles/5607-a-four-year-old-reviews-the-french-laundry?
This is old "news" but the specifics just came out: http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/19/dianping-chinas-largest-restaurant-review-site-turned-down-an-acquisition-offer-from-google-china/ Jeez, Don...if DC was only as big as China!!