Reason for Not Eating Out in New York #1: Gimmicks

One of the reasons I don’t eat out anymore: gimmicks that restaurants think are worth a damn but that even the staff doesn’t expect you to buy into.

I went to The Living Room last night to see one of my favorite local bands, Matty Charles and the Valentines, who was playing with Austin and Kristin, and Gloria Deluxe. Austin and Kristin totally blew me away. They sounded more polished and professional than anything I’ve seen live in a long time, really wonderful. Gloria Deluxe, I’m afraid, my companion Ben couldn’t stay awake for. It’s the same thing that happened last time we went to see the Valentines when she was headlining. But even more than not feeling like staying out late, though, was the fact that the Living Room was really packed, and kind of annoying. Actually, most of the annoyance was coming from an acquaintance of Ben and mine, who was completely trashed and kept hooting in the middle of songs, slapping his knees and tapping on glasses, and punching us in the knees and shouting our names.
Getting back to the restaurant gimmick, though. The Living Room had this little bar menu with appetizers like zucchini fries and chicken fingers, and a few sandwich selections. Whenever the waitress brought a food order to the few people at tables that did order, it came in this completely kitsched-out white paper bag, inside of which was a plain white Chinese take-out carton, with the fries or whatever inside. The waitress, bless her soul for being the only server in that whole crowded room, would approach the table with the paper bag and just take the Chinese carton right out of it in front of them and crumple up the bag, keeping it to take back with her. The confused diner would then be sitting with their carton of finger food wondering what the whole gimmick was to begin with.

Restaurants, please, concentrate on what you do best. And if it’s obviously being a music venue, please don’t feel the need to waste lots of plain white paper bags for your audiences’ sake.

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    I’m pretty sure that the living room does not have a kitchen, and they get their food from a nearby food establishment, so maybe the gimmick isn’t The Living Room’s, but whatever restaurant the food really came from. So the paper bag might be practical, for transporting it a block or two, and the kitched-out-ness of it might be the food establishment’s branding. Just an idea. I’ve not ordered food there in some time, so I don’t know exactly what you are describing.

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    Gimmicks, the reason I stopped eating out. I mean Planet Hollywood, Fashion Cafe – what have done to improve the culinary culture of my town eh,,,,, I ask you.

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