"This book will enrich and enlighten anyone with an interest in dining out." —Patrick O'Connell, chef-owner, The Inn at Little Washington
"The King of Spain is waiting in the bar, but your table is ready." —Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque to New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl
"If you've invested $1.5 million in a project and certain people can crush you like a bug if they have a bad time, you're a fool if you're not trying to find out who these people are, what they look like, and when they're in." —Bob Kinkead, chef-owner, Kinkead's
Just as food has become our national obsession, so has dining out virtually become its own sport. Dining enthusiasts, eager to get the take on new restaurants and the status of old favorites, look to restaurant critics and their discerning palates for guidance. So, who are these secretive personalities who often dine incognito and whose public judgments can make or break a restaurant or chef? Be a guest at their private table in DINING OUT: Secrets from America's Leading Critics, Chefs, and Restaurateurs, the first book to demystify the critical process and to unlock the secrets of a great restaurant experience.
Drawing on extensive interviews and research, co-authors Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page expose the wide-ranging experiences and insights of dozens of the most powerful palates in America, among them Gael Greene of New York, John Mariani of Esquire, Ruth Reichl of The New York Times, Phyllis Richman of The Washington Post, David Rosengarten and Caroline Bates of Gourmet, Patricia Unterman of The San Francisco Examiner, S. Irene Virbila of The Los Angeles Times, and Dennis Ray Wheaton of Chicago. They reveal their occasionally outlandish schemes for remaining anonymous—and what happens when their covers are blown! The critics also divulge how they review restaurants, what they think about the star system, and how they temper their personal biases when judging food, service, and ambiance.
Then Dornenburg and Page turn the tables, sharing the sentiments of well-known chefs and restaurateurs from across the country as they review the restaurant critics, from their credentials and rating systems to the forceful impact of their reviews. The chefs and owners of dozens of celebrated restaurants including Al Forno, Campanile, Chez Panisse, East Coast Grill, Fleur de Lys, Frontera Grill, Le Cirque 2000, Red Sage, and Stars offer their own definitions of excellence in food, service, and setting, and reflect on the role that the customer plays in the total dining experience.
Special features of the book include:
- A guide to leading food critics' favorite restaurants across America
- Restaurant review resources available on the Internet
- Advice from renowned sommeliers Larry Stone of Rubicon and Jean-Luc Le D? of Daniel, and ma?tre fromager Max McCalman of Picholine
- Musings by Pulitzer Prize-winning critics of architecture, media, and music on how they might approach restaurant criticism
- Special interviews with Danny Meyer on Providing Hospitality and Mark Miller on The Progress of American Gastronomy"Finally, the best insider's view of our business for the discerning restaurant goer. Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page do a wonderful job of exploring the 'behind-the-scenes' side of professional cooking. As [New York Times restaurant critic] Ruth Reichl would say, 'HHHH'!" —Daniel Boulud, chef-owner, Restaurant Daniel and Cafe Boulud"DINING OUT is a fascinating story, one that absolutely needed to be written. I found this book to be a compelling, revealing, and utterly entertaining look at what the critics, and those they criticize, had to say." —Michael Romano, chef-partner, Union Square Cafe"This is no fair—it took me a lifetime to learn all these insights into the restaurant business! Well done!" —Ella Brennan, owner, Commander's Palace"DINING OUT is both entertaining and educational, and can make your restaurant experience the same. The sommeliers' comments add to the pleasure." —Robert Mondavi, owner, Robert Mondavi Winery"Not unlike theater, restaurants have been made or destroyed by the words of a critic. DINING OUT goes beyond the words to explore the underlying logic of the restaurant critic. It is an invaluable addition to the library of those who like to dine out." —Leonard A. Schlesinger, professor, Harvard Business School"Don't start this book if you're hungry—the guide to leading critics' favorite restaurants across the country is a challenge to start one's own food odyssey and eat at least one meal in them all!" —Jeanette S. Wagner, vice chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc."Michael Donnelly's photographs of restaurant life shimmer with élan, bursting on the page in glints and daubs of light and shade. If you are a connoisseur of fine cuisine and artful photography, you will delight in these pictures." —William Wegman, artist and photographer"DINING OUT is an intriguing foray into the secret and powerful world of restaurant criticism. Michael Donnelly's photographs confer an element of high style and high drama to this intelligent and absorbing book." —Nancy Novogrod, editor-in-chief, Travel & Leisure