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Politics in the Restaurant Review

Times restaurant reviewer Pete Wells has an unfortunate habit of allowing his political views to seep into his restaurant reviews, and today's review offers another example:


Always the Class Struggle

From an article by the Times restaurant critic, Pete Wells, about tipping: "The restaurant business can be seen as a class struggle between the groomed, pressed, articulate charmers working in the dining room and the blistered, stained and profane grunts in the kitchen."

The same article refers to "the French Laundry in Healdsburg, Calif." I have not been to the French Laundry, but I have been to Healdsburg, and the French Laundry wasn't there; it is in Yountville, which is in Napa County, not Sonoma County, where Healdsburg is.


Diversity Cops

The Times obsession with race and gender diversity crops up in some unexpected places in today's paper.

Restaurant critic Pete Wells, last seen here writing about the "pleasure" of being served by "women" and "others who don't look like men of European descent," gets into it again in a three-star review of a restaurant called Carbone. He writes, "I'm not ready to play along with all of Carbone's casting decisions: currently all the captains, typically the most highly tipped employees, are men."


The Pleasures of Waiters and Waitresses of Color

In the middle of a three-star New York Times review of the dining room at the Modern (which, truth be told, is one of your editor's favorite restaurants in that part of Midtown Manhattan) comes this strange passage:

you also notice just how many women there are in the front of the house, along with others who don't look like men of European descent. It is a pleasure to see this kind of diversity at the higher altitudes of New York dining, where it is still not the rule.

What a pleasure it is to be waited on at a restaurant by someone who doesn't look like a man of European descent?

Of all the possible criteria by which to judge a restaurant, the skin color of the waitstaff never before really struck me as big determining factor.

Imagine the conversation in the home of some Times reader:


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