And now, the news…
Scheming on a thing – “Last week, OpenTable confirmed they fired an employee who made several hundred reservations at restaurants using Reserve, which resulted in hundreds of no-shows over the course of the past three months. Reserve and several Chicago restaurant workers allege that the employee, who remains unnamed, wanted to convince those Reserve customers that OpenTable was a better product and intended to use the no-shows in their sales pitches… Case in point: Tavern on the Park, a Downtown Chicago restaurant that overlooks Millennium Park, used OpenTable after opening in 2007. It was targeted after it switched to Reserve in June 2017.” Full story on Eater Chicago. (And kudos to Eater for reporting it despite the fact that “OpenTable is an Eater advertiser and uses Eater content on its website and app.”)
Beastie take: THAT’S SABOTAGE. (It holds up. You’re welcome.)
The new Noma exists – And if you need proof, here are the reviews from Jonathan Gold in the LA Times (“The first act of a meal at Noma passes as a dream…”), Tom Sietsema in the Washington Post (“It soon becomes apparent that we’re eating the future…”), and Josh Lee in British GQ (“When you thought Noma couldn’t out-Noma itself, it’s gone and done just that. And, when you really think about it, that’s not bad at all for a team that was once accused of having fornicated with seals.”).
Sietsema and Gold apparently overlapped for dinner, and Sietsema had coffee with Rene Redzepi the morning after, as a critic does.
If you’re going to read one, read Sietsema’s. Within a context of very, very high praise, he notes some minor hiccups in service (“I overhear a manager call out in the open kitchen. ‘Can I get a waiter, now, now, now?’”), explains how he got a reservation (luck), and points out what’s still missing (bread). In other words, it’s a real review.
What’s a website? – Google has finally found a buyer for Zagat, and it’s fellow (much younger) review site The Infatuation. No terms were disclosed, but The Infatuation just started making a profit last year, and it’s a safe bet Google is taking quite a hit on the $151M it originally paid. How bad had it gotten for Zagat? On news of the sale, Eater felt compelled to do an entire “What is Zagat” article for people who “came up” in the internet age.
PA #metoo – “Method Hospitality co-founders Randall Cook and David Grasso confirmed to Philadelphia magazine on Thursday that Chris Painter, the chef at Wm. Mulherin’s Sons in Fishtown and a partner in the company, has been suspended from the restaurant, along with general manager Michael Jreidini and two other members of its staff, after four former Mulherin’s employees made a series of sexual harassment allegations. The suspensions were put in place after Philly Mag notified Cook and Grasso of the allegations. Philly Mag has also confirmed that Painter had been on a weekends-only schedule at the restaurant, instituted by Cook and Grasso last summer after an incident between Painter and another employee that occurred after working hours… Painter has not been allowed on the premises at the same time as the employee.” Full story and familiar accusations: here.
This Family Meal is brought to you by World Central Kitchen‘s Dine N Dash event in Washington, D.C. On June 6th, join hosts José Andrés, Andrew Zimmern, and more for a tour of some of the District’s best restaurants. All proceeds support World Central Kitchen’s mission of creating smart solutions to hunger and poverty and providing chef-driven disaster relief. Tickets and more information here.
Good get – In D.C. via WCP: Chef Johanna Hellrigl is taking over the kitchen at Doi Moi. No word on what outgoing chef Sasha Felikson is working on next.
Busy Bear – In SF: “Three partners — one of them John Litz, co-owner and co-creator of the Michelin two-star Lazy Bear in the Mission — have signed a lease and hired an architect” for a new restaurant at Fillmore and Pine (previously home to Thai Stick and the Pacific Heights Bar and Grill). But, Litz tells The New Fillmore that if he named his two chefs/partners, it would “give away the concept”. #secrets
The Suits – Per Eater NY, “Michelin-starred Gotham Bar & Grill has settled a wage theft lawsuit from former employees, agreeing to pay up to $1.25 million to those affected — though as a part of the settlement, the stalwart West Village American restaurant denies all claims.”
TV Watch – Coming in April: “Iron Chef Gauntlet competitors are: Timon Balloo (Miami, Florida – Partner/Executive Chef, Sugarcane); Nicole Gomes(Calgary, Canada – Owner/Executive Chef, Nicole Gourmet); David LeFevre (Manhattan Beach, California – Owner/Executive Chef, Manhattan Beach Post); Dale Mackay (Saskatoon, Canada – Owner/Executive Chef, Grassroots Restaurant Group); Jeanie Roland (Punta Gorda, Florida – Owner/Executive Chef, The Perfect Caper); Hong Thaimee (New York, New York – Owner/Executive Chef, Thaimee Table) and Kevin Tien (Washington D.C. – Owner/Executive Chef, Himitsu).” Press release – with bonus arm-crossing / head-raising tutorial video – here.
For design (read: interior decoration) fans – Here’s Eater’s photo spread for Dominique Crenn’s upcoming wine bar, Bar Crenn. It’s fun, and funky, and somebody please Scotchgard those stools, stat.
And last and least – “In recent months, [novelist Jay McInerney] worked on a television adaptation of a trilogy of his novels; a memoir; and a set of eighty-eight New York-oriented fortune-cookie fortunes, commissioned by the midtown branch of Hakkasan, an international chain of expensive Chinese restaurants.” Sadly, the fortunes, some collected in The New Yorker, will probably only resonate with a very particular class of Manhattanites: “‘If at first you don’t succeed, try Botox,’ he said. ‘Your child will get into Episcopal.’ ‘Your nanny is about to leave you for a family that lives at 740 Park.’ ‘Beware of stock tips from strangers.’”
And that’s it for today. Congrats if you won an Oscar! I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.