Alinea’s Nick Kokonas is starting to roll out his SLEEK ticketing system to restaurants around the world. To reserve a table, guests put down a small deposit on dinner — or sometimes they pay for the full price of a meal in advance, including tax, tip and wine pairings. The key here is that this system shifts the financial risk of dining out, which can easily approach $1,000 for two, from the restaurant to the guest, as the tickets are usually non-refundable. Is this a GOOD DEAL or a BAD DEAL? Your call, world. In the meantime, we break down the math over at Eater!

Alinea’s Nick Kokonas is starting to roll out his SLEEK ticketing system to restaurants around the world. To reserve a table, guests put down a small deposit on dinner — or sometimes they pay for the full price of a meal in advance, including tax, tip and wine pairings. The key here is that this system shifts the financial risk of dining out, which can easily approach $1,000 for two, from the restaurant to the guest, as the tickets are usually non-refundable. Is this a GOOD DEAL or a BAD DEAL? Your call, world. In the meantime, we break down the math over at Eater!

Resort fees are a pox upon Las Vegas4

katkinsman:

"A daily Resort Fee of $25.00 plus tax is posted to each guest room to offer amenities and services for a nominal all-inclusive fee. Please note the inclusions you receive for this charge: High-speed internet service in your room & public areas, unlimited local and toll free calls, daily newspaper…

Resort fees, like hotel internet usage fees, are designed to nickel and dime guests for things they will almost certainly use, and whose cost should often be factored into the base price. Instead, we get an artificially low price at the time of booking. That said, charging guests for water bottles they might not drink and printing services they might not use is straight up RIDICULOUS and should be itemized out.

Even worse: I once payed a $5-$10 hotel administrative fee because I had a UPS package delivered to my hotel in Vegas (not a delivery fee, a “recipient” fee). Yep, we’re calling these practices a BAD DEAL.

GOOD NEWS: Michel Richard’s not-very-good New York bistro is no longer open for lunch or dinner, as I report for Eater. BAD NEWS: The bistro still open for breakfast which means it continues to charge $10 for bowls of cold cereal and $26 for smoked salmon bagels. Yep, we’re calling this one a BAD DEAL. 

GOOD NEWS: Michel Richard’s not-very-good New York bistro is no longer open for lunch or dinner, as I report for Eater. BAD NEWS: The bistro still open for breakfast which means it continues to charge $10 for bowls of cold cereal and $26 for smoked salmon bagels. Yep, we’re calling this one a BAD DEAL. 

“It is sad that the more “successful” a neighborhood becomes, the more it gradually takes on a recognizable, common look, as the same banks, drugstore chains and national brands move in. Be honest: Would you rather have one more bank branch in your neighborhood, or another independent restaurant?”
Danny Meyer, who will relocate his pioneering Union Square Cafe at the end of 2015 because of a brontosaurus-sized rent increase, speaks some TRUTH about how the NYC real estate market isn’t looking out for NYC or its wonderful communities (Source: New York Times).
Momofuku’s meatless ramen is better than your pork fat ramen. I’m not saying that as a love letter to vegetables, which this ramen is not. This dish is rather an insanely delicious meat substitute ramen! It’s less about seasonal produce and more about giving you the same savory, salty, and rich flavor notes as you’d get in a broth made with animal fat. It’s the soup-based equivalent of making tofu chicken nuggets taste good — always a risk affair, but Momofuku Noodle Bar gets it right, I argue in this Eater essay! (Photo: Nick Solares/Eater). 

Momofuku’s meatless ramen is better than your pork fat ramen. I’m not saying that as a love letter to vegetables, which this ramen is not. This dish is rather an insanely delicious meat substitute ramen! It’s less about seasonal produce and more about giving you the same savory, salty, and rich flavor notes as you’d get in a broth made with animal fat. It’s the soup-based equivalent of making tofu chicken nuggets taste good — always a risk affair, but Momofuku Noodle Bar gets it right, I argue in this Eater essay! (Photo: Nick Solares/Eater). 

“Yes, It would make even more sense to shut down Cocina and reopen it as Taqueria. We have the data and we know it would make us more successful. At least financially it would. In terms of accomplishing what I set out to do with that particular restaurant it would be a failure.”
So says Alex Stupak. Big props to him for taking on some risk in this very conservative year for new restaurants. Then again, Empellon Cocina is not a new restaurant (Source: Eater). 

OpenTable Charges Restaurants for Online Reservations. This App Charges Diners.4

pricehike:

Meet your newest class of booking fees, which might range from $10 for a seat at Charlie Bird to $50 for a prime time seat at Minetta Tavern. Are such policies elitist, or will the clearinghouse effect help make certain last minute reservations more accessible? Read the Eater interview with co-founders Ben Leventhal and Gary Vaynerchuk and decide for yourself!

BUY HOLD OR SELL?

“As Jaeckle’s former bosses at AltaMarea keep pumping out more of the same at their Italian Restaurant Replicating Factory, All’onda wants to bring us something different. That’s no slight on the people of AltaMarea; they’ve set a high bar for hospitality and I’m jealous the citizens of Tajikistan will get a Morini sooner than we’ll have a Second Avenue Subway. But what our own city’s culinary scene needs right now is an increased tolerance for creativity and risk, and that’s why All’onda is so vital.”
That’s from my two star Eater review of All’onda, which builds on some of the themes I wrote about our “exceedingly boring” year for new restaurants in New York! Check it out! (Source: Eater).