Wednesday, August 10, 2016

White People's Problems....at least in NYC

The surprising way restaurants discriminate against old people

New York Post August 10, 2016

You’re hungry. Who ya gonna call?
Not a restaurant. These days, some don’t even have a phone, let alone a human being to field reservations.
At trendy Bergen Hill in Cooper Square, the number given by Zagat yields a recording saying the number is “temporarily disconnected.”
The recording for Dizengoff on Ninth Avenue says, “Hello, we are not available now.” And at Aska in Williamsburg comes the cheery (recorded) declaration, “This mailbox is not currently accepting messages.”

I don’t know what’s going on at the Cecilin Harlem. Though reservations seem to be available on OpenTable.com, the only phone number I found was “not in service at this time.” How am I supposed to know if the oxtail dumplings are still on the menu? Or take Pasquale Jones, the rustic Italian place on Mulberry Street that’s hardly a dive (its wine list includes several choices at $1,000 and up). Unable to find a phone number on its website or elsewhere, I consulted Eater.com’s “Manhattan hot list.” The listed number turned out to be for sister restaurant Charlie Bird, where the person who answered said, “Pasquale Jones has no phone.”
Doing without employees to field calls saves restaurants money. It’s also a lawsuit-proof way to thin out older customers who aren’t comfortable reserving online.
Those restaurateurs seem to forget they’re in the hospitality business, an attitude that begets snooty and/or clueless hosts/hostesses and admonitions that “we need the table back in 90 minutes.”
Another popular stunt is to leave you a message telling you to confirm a booking or risk losing it — and then make it impossible to do so. The several times I’ve been to Mario Batali’s La Sirena, I couldn’t get through to confirm; the phone rang and rang until I gave up. (They held the seats for me, perhaps because I’m a food writer, but it was a nail-biter up to the last minute.)
The Major Food Group, which owns Carbone, Dirty French and Santina, among others, has a corporate number, but none for any particular restaurant. That’s meshuggeh: There are times when you need to reach a place by phone, and not just because many websites are howlingly out of date.
I recently had to cancel a lunch reservation at Dirty French. I was out of the office and tried OpenTable, but the system was down and I gave up. (OpenTable is often down, and even when it isn’t, it’s hard to use on an iPhone.)
Here’s hoping restaurants get a wake-up call before we all switch to home delivery — where there’s always a friendly soul on the line.
(What the author is referring to is that restaurants in NYC want to do everything on-line now and older people like Hillary are technologically limited. It doesn't really matter to me. Most joints I can walk into and get a table. Of course I don't  go to really fancy joints anyway. Our favorite Gluten Free joint doesn't even keep track that well of their reservations. We had reservations several times and still had to wait to be seated. Still restaurants will push it until they screw it up. That is why they always have a limited life)

8 comments:

edutcher said...

Sounds like somebody don't want no business.

Even the mob knew you had to have thriving business, if only to keep the dough well-laundered.

Trooper York said...

There are very few restaurants where it is worth it to get a reservation.

Most of it is nonsense. There are a million mom and pop ethnic joints that are way better than any of the places mentioned in the article.

Back in day it was a big deal to get a table at Elaines. All of the celebs went there. Well the food was shit. The pub around the corner had much better grub. It's a mugs game.

Amartel said...

X to that. San Fran and the Bay Area in general has some great restaurants - if you know where to go. The pricey ones that draw in the tourists? Stay the hell away!

Trooper York said...

Hey did you ever go to that garlic restaurant in San Fransisco? Is it still there? I was last there about 15 years ago and wanted to go but never made it there.

I think it was called the Stinking Rose?

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Stinking Rose is still in SF. They have one in LA too. I went there years ago, maybe even 15 years ago, and it was ok. I like garlic and it definitely lived up to that reputation. I don't remember it being stellar, but prices were reasonable too.

I love mom and pop places. That is true anywhere in the world. One of the best meals I ever had was some tiny hole in the wall dim sum joint in Hong Kong. They were thrilled some weird cow came in and were dishing out some amazing stuff.

john said...

When you walk through Chinatown in San Francisco you get the feeling there are more restaurants than people. Reservations never needed. I was told that on some blocks there might be 5-6 Chinese restaurants with one common kitchen, connected via the back alley.

Herb Caen used to celebrate news of SF restaurants going out of business in his column with "One down, 4000 to go".

Sixty Grit said...

Herb Caen was a great writer - he knew that city (or, The City) better than just about anyone. I developed my walking tour of SF based on what he wrote. Always ended up in Chinatown - it's been years since I have been able to eat at a restaurant but the food there was memorable.

Herb, I guess it's okay to call him Herb, wrote about the menus posted on the restaurant walls, written in Chinese - he said that was the stuff to order.

Ah, I miss the work of the Sacamenna kid - he was one of a kind.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

For all I know that dim sum place in Hong Kong may have been making those dumplings with sewer rats and alley cats, but whatever it was it was delicious.