As folks become more careful with their discretionary spending, restaurants are undergoing increased scrutiny by us consumers: We’re on the lookout for lighter, less costly fare, the comfort of an informal setting, and servers who treat us as if we’re extra-special. At least, that’s what we say to the pollsters. But what we really want to know before dialing for reservations: “Is this a hot and trendy place to see and be seen?” We’re here to help you with that.
(1) The pasta costs more than the lamb chops.
(2) The lamb chops cost more than your outfit.
(3) Everything is free-range (including the waiter) and chemical-free (except the waiter).
(4) No peppershaker on the table. You have to ask the weightlifter in the tuxedo to hoist a mill that’s made from a sequoia.
(5) Salads are composed of weeds you used to poison.
(6) The chef never heard of parsley.
(7) The complimentary hors d’oeuvre requires a magnifying glass.
(8) And a lexicon.
(9) You’ve never heard of the fish.
(10) The vegetables are small and yellow—tomatoes, peppers, eggplant—except the corn, which is blue.
(1) No name above the door.
(2) Yes, those are real Warhols.
(3) The table appointments are on display at the Walker.
(4) The room looks like it belongs in LA. Or Milan.
(5) It has been designed by someone who never has been to LA. Or Milan.
(6) The menu is printed in a type size suited for the head of a pin, on mauve paper
(1) The servers all wear ponytails (guys) or crew cuts (girls).
(2) Their glossies and bios are in Joe Dowling’s office.
(3) They have been genetically bred to make eye contact impossible.
(4) They’re young enough to be carded for drinking what they’re serving.
(5) The valet drives a later model Porsche than those he’s parking.
(6) The chef has appeared in a Dewer’s profile. Usually on his Harley.
(7) Consider “Enjoy!” a command, not an aspiration.
(1) Lunch on bottled water and a chicken Caesar.
(2) Are 30-something.
(3) Are thin.
(4) Will remain both forever.
(5) Have taken more cooking classes than the chef.
(6) Consider Bordeaux their jug wine.
(7) Air-kiss people at adjoining tables.
(8) Look up when the door opens.
(9) Run fingers through their hair when the door opens.
(10) Wear perms (men), power suits (women), and sunglasses (both).
(11) Don’t leave home without it (cell phones, not AmEx cards).