Article: “Chowhound: Rave reviews’ smell suspect” (Aug.2006)

excerpt:
“Chowhound.com, a popular online message board devoted to those in search of good food and drink, has banned mentions of a Cambridge restaurant from its site.

Chowhound alleges it was receiving a suspicious number of rave reviews of the 4-month-old Conundrum in Harvard Square, many of them coming from the same computer connection.

“We’ve had a blitz of postings with rapturous praise for Conundrum from many, many posters, all of whom are utter newcomers to the site, and our users have been complaining that it seems like we might be getting played,” Chowhound co-founder Jim Leff said. “I’m not trying to do anything but run an honest food discussion, and it’s my job to defend that discussion when we feel like it’s being taken advantage of.”

source: “Chowhound: Rave reviews’ smell suspect” by Donna Goodison (Boston Herald, Aug.12, 2006)

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Article: “Fusion with flair, if you’re patient” (Aug.2006)

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excerpt:
“Stunning design and excellent food by themselves do not automatically make a great restaurant, however. Three months after it opened, the 200-seat Kampai still is plagued by poor service and a kitchen that sometimes seems incapable of turning out more than one exquisitely plated dish at a time.

…On our first visit, the server kept rebellion at bay by stopping regularly to check on us and apologize for the kitchen being so backed up. He was friendly and professional. As the evening dragged on, he brought a free pot of tea to keep us happy.

At a later dinner, a different server all but abandoned our table after bringing drinks, and there were no reassurances. He appeared undertrained and overwhelmed. The starters and entrees straggled out one at a time, and the rice we asked for earlier in the evening didn’t arrive until we were almost finished eating. The manager, eventually noticing our discomfort, tried to speed things up and offered a $5 gift card toward a future meal as compensation, but it wasn’t enough to mollify us by then.

…Kampai House has the food and the setting. Now, all it needs is some attention to service to become a restaurant worthy of a return visit.”

source: “Fusion with flair, if you’re patient” by Aleta Wilson (Mercury News, Aug.13,2006)

Article: “Check, Please!”: Reality TV that believes a viewer’s heart is in his stomach” (Aug.2006)

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excerpt:
It’s a television show that has attracted entries from 20,000 people who want to appear on the air. And it’s not “American Idol.”

It’s “Check, Please!” on which a mix of three everyday diners — instead of food critics — each get to pick their favorite restaurant and wax rhapsodic, then bicker about them.

Creator and executive producer David Manilow calls it “Zagats meets Siskel and Ebert” and he hopes that it inspires viewers to leave their comfort zones and try new restaurants or cuisines…”

source: “Check, Please!”: Reality TV that believes a viewer’s heart is in his stomach” by Tara Burghart (Associated Press, Aug.2,2006)

related link:
“Check, Please!” web site

Article: “Google’s gourmet giveaways dispel no-free-lunch axiom” (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“In the category of large-scale, single-site foodservice enterprises at business and industry venues, Google’s extravagant employee dining program arguably is second to none.

In terms of subsidized cost per meal and the breadth of its chef-driven menus, Google’s dining operation appears to surpass even the most generous of corporate kitchens, except perhaps for some exclusive executive dining rooms.

The company’s culinary offerings stand out even in comparison to other Silicon Valley firms famous for lavishing perks on employees…”

source: “Google’s gourmet giveaways dispel no-free-lunch axiom” by John Anderson (Nation’s Restaurant News, Jul.31,2006) [free registration req.]

Article: “Fresh dim sum highlights Sunnyvale eatery” (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“At a later dinner, the restaurant’s service left more to be desired. True, our waiter was helpful and brought the small black bass ($30 per pound) we had ordered from the tanks to show us before it was cooked. When the steamed whole fish arrived on a platter, a courtly supervisor quickly de-boned it at the table. But then everyone disappeared.

We’d eaten our fill of the exquisitely fresh, white-fleshed fish and had been waiting for our check for at least 10 minutes when we finally snagged a passing manager and asked for the check. He sent over complimentary bowls of a very sweet coconut soup for dessert, but no check materialized.

In vain we tried to catch the eye of a server in the half-empty dining room. Other diners who had arrived after we did had paid their bills and gone. Finally, we caught the same manager as he was rushing by again with someone else’s bill. Moments later we had our check.

Such lapses take the glow off an otherwise pleasant dinner.”

source: “Fresh dim sum highlights Sunnyvale eatery” by Aleta Watson (San Jose Mercury, Jul.23,2006)

Press Releases: Zagat.com’s Message about Service

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excerpts:
Chicago
Service – The Weak Link: As with most cities Zagat surveys, service is the number one dining irritant of Chicago’s restaurant goers, cited by 77% of all surveyors. In comparison, noise (8%), prices (4%), and poor food (4%) come in far behind.

Atlanta
Service – The Weak Link: As with most American cities, the vast majority of Atlantans found poor service to be the most irritating factor in the local dining scene. Sixty-three percent of all dining-related complaints were about service, compared to only 14% about noise, 6% about prices, 6% about food, and 4% about parking and traffic.

Texas
Service—The Weak Link: As with most American cities, an overwhelming percentage of Texans found poor service to be the most irritating factor in the local dining scene. Seventy-eight percent of all dining-related complaints were about service, compared to only 8% about noise and 4% about prices.

sources:
“Zagat Releases 2006/2007 Chicago Restaurants Guide” (ABC7Now.com,Jul.20,2006)
“Zagat Releases 2006/2007 Atlanta Restaurants Guide” (Zagat.com,Jun.21,2006)
“Zagat Releases First Statewide Texas Dining Guide” (Zagat.com,Apr.7,2006)

Article: “Bed spread: dining upon a mattress” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“Sanae Ehrlich was more than happy to let the waiter crawl into her bed. After all, the guy she already had in her bed was just a friend. Of course, this wasn’t the lifestyle that she envisioned growing up in Scarsdale. But she’s a New Yorker now, and she was just doing what New Yorkers are doing

Eating dinner on the roof of a warehouse, on top of a Tempur-Pedic mattress.

…The restaurant, not surprisingly, is called BED NY, and it occupies two floors of a warehouse in Chelsea. There are places with similar concepts, but BED opened first (in Miami) — and BED tucks you in on the roof, adding new meaning to “soft summer nights.”

source: “Bed spread: dining upon a mattress” by Mitch Broder (Journal News, Jun.14,2006)

link: Bed Restaurants