Wait! Don’t Shoot!

Written on October 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm , by

It’s become as much a part of your restaurant routine as choosing tap or bottled: the ceremonial Instagramming of your meal. But faster than you can heart your friends’ food shots, restaurants—citing disruptiveness, among other things—are saying, “Drop the phone and step away from the table!” Still, even as some chefs are imposing photo bans, plenty of others are encouraging foodstagramming. Hear two New York chefs argue it out below.



Alex Stupak, chef at Empellón, says go for it:


- Immediate publicity is a boon to our business. As chefs, we now have the power to transmit ideas without needing to wait for traditional media. I can create a new dish that night and have guests transmit the idea to thousands of their Instagram followers.


- Essentially, the customer is always right. You can certainly ask people to stop doing what they want to do, but I think that letting them have their fun is more hospitable.


- These days if it’s not on Instagram, it’s almost as if it never happened. By communicating with these images, you can share your experience with friends, whether they’re with you at the table or far away.


Luke Venner, executive chef at BLT Fish, says it’s a no-go:


- These shots aren’t true representations of the dish. As a chef, you want to be able to dictate how the food looks when it’s photographed. Similar to when a celebrity is captured leaving the gym by the paparazzi, a dish isn’t going to look its best when it’s shot in a dim corner of the room with an iPhone.


- It’s disruptive. I completely understand that guests want to document a memorable dining experience, but the flash is distracting to other patrons.


- Sometimes you just need to live in the moment. Taste your food (while it’s still hot!) and take everything in. Forget the cameras. Be there and enjoy your experience with your friends.


Where do you stand? Tell us below in the comments!


Written by David Farley; Photography by Sam Kaplan


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Open Table Announces the Top 100 Restaurants Fit for Foodies for 2013

Written on September 17, 2013 at 11:43 am , by

When it comes to dining out, we’re always looking for the latest trends, hottest menu items and all-around best restaurants to try. And no one knows the restaurant industry like OpenTable. They’re the world’s leading provider for online restaurant reservations and service reservations for more than 15,000 restaurants across the United States–which leaves them with top notch insight from diners nationwide.


After more than 5 million OpenTable-verified reviews this year, the site has released its list of the top 100 restaurants fit for foodies, restaurants putting “the wow factor in everything they serve,” according to Caroline Potter, OpenTable Chief Dining Officer. Among the states, California tops the list with 20 honorees, followed by Pennsylvania with 10 winners and Illinois with nine. But don’t think the typical food-centric states take up all the spots: you can expect to see venues in Delaware, Virginia, Missouri, Minnesota, and more, too!

Steak and Eggs — Feast, New York City

We got a chance to hear from Caroline Potter, as she explains what makes this list so special, timely and all-around delicious:

“Restaurants that are ‘fit for foodies’ are those that are actively elevating their craft every day. The folks in these kitchens are part mad genius, part explorer, putting out the dishes that turn heads and make us turn on our camera phones before diving in,” she explains.


Shaved Carrot & Radish Salad, Asparagus, Artisan Greens and Champagne Vinaigrette — Boca, Cincinnati, Ohio

The most popular type of cuisine that restaurants on the list are serving is American, “which is a good indication that local, seasonal sourcing has become de rigueur at many fine-dining establishments.” And although only two vegetarian-only restaurants made it onto the list, many establishments have moved vegetables “from the side of the plate to the center” (things we like to hear!). Caroline also explains how  the timing of list is particularly relevant, “as we’re really at the absolute peak of the harvest season… [when] diners are still enjoying the last heirloom tomatoes and sweet corn and are also starting to see delicious autumn ingredients.”


Caroline was excited to highlight unique menu items such as the Carrot Risotto at Tilth in Seattle, Foie Gras Soup at Sbraga in Philadelphia and the Juice Parings at Forage in Salt Lake City.


Carnaroli Risotto with Carrots, Pea Vine, Parmesan and Truffle Oil — Tilth, Seattle

With everything from standard cuisines like French, Italian and Small Plates, to more novel culinary concepts such as Californian and Gastro Pub, there’s sure to be a restaurant to please the inner foodie in all of us. You can view the entire list of honorees here.


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