Zagat published a story on Monday that lists the “10 Telltale Signs of a Good Restaurant.” And either these “good restaurants” are stuck in a time warp, or they're seriously trying to get you to spend as much money as possible.
Apparently, good restaurants are the kind that fold your napkin every time you get up, have a coat check, stock expensive soap in the bathroom and have a “bread sommelier.”
The problem is, those things aren't necessarily the signs of a good restaurant; they're the signs of an expensive restaurant. If the last 10 years have taught us anything, it's that the best places aren't necessarily the fanciest. I'd rather the restaurant was paying for decent ingredients than spending money on the wages of a napkin folder/bread sommelier.
Other apparent signs: “designer ice” in the cocktails and a menu printed in all lowercase type. Again, not signs of good — just signs of trendy. Often not the same thing. They might as well say that the staff should be smokin' hot and there should definitely be a beet salad on the menu.
I can just hear the phone calls now. “Hello, I'm looking to make a reservation, but first I have a few questions. Are your cocktails chilled with regular ice or designer ice? What kind of font is your menu printed in? What's your napkin policy?”
There's only one foolproof sign a restaurant is good: The food is delicious.
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