"What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is." J. Danforth Quayle

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Why I Don't Do WNY Restaurant Week

What a great idea. A celebration our wonderful local restaurant community. A chance to taste offerings from some of our finest local cooks. A fixed price based on the year - how cute. This seems such a perfect way to introduce people to parts of the local food scene they might not otherwise sample.

I do not partake.

I do my best to support an promote all aspects of the local culinary milieu. Good friends, good cooks, man the stoves at local restaurants. I was once a restaurant cook.  This does not work for me.

I don't like crowds or crowded situations.  The one and only time I attended Allentown,I freaked so bad that a dear friend hustled me to the privacy of a bar - The Cathode Ray. (Luckily he was there to protect my virtue. Don't even think of coming into my kitchen while at work*. I have been know to walk away from crowded eatery.

Thus I tend to schedule my visits to restaurants at off peek hours. During LRW there is no such thing.

A corollary is that I want the kitchen to be on its game when I am there. I want the wait staff, bartenders and bus boy at their best. A true test of any restaurant is how they handle getting slammed, but this is an artificial "slam" and the dividing line between "rock n' roll" and  "in the weeds" is razor thin.

The price is also an issue. $20.12 prix fixe sounds like a good deal, but for four with simple beverage and gratuity costs you are talking $120 for a family of four. And the menu is usually limited.

Underneath all of this is a foreboding feeling that this exercise is counterproductive . I hear annually of people who had a great time, often despite the heavy traffic. I wonder how many more went and were disappointed. The restaurant not only loses their custom, but that of those they may speak to.

So I celebrate LRW as I have in the past - shopping at local merchants, food and otherwise, and continuing to stand on the sidelines cheering for our restaurants.

*A restaurant kitchen is different, the cooks dancing a delicate ballet, talking to each other and knowing what they will do.

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