“Restaurants from the Inside Out”
Quite the foodie, for a long time,
Steven Shaw talks a lot about how to order
and how to become a regular.
“Shaw, known in Internet food circles as the ‘Fat Guy,’ and founder of the culinary Web site eGullet.org, offers a sort of Kitchen Confidential [I read this, too; stay tuned for my thoughts about it… —RH] from the perspective of an average Joe (albeit a pretty swift one). He goes inside the kitchens of venerable New York establishments like Gramercy Tavern and Lespinasse, visits a Connecticut hot dog shack and a North Carolina BBQ joint. But while Anthony Bourdain is interested in telling readers why they should avoid eggs Benedict at all costs, Shaw takes more of a glass-half-full approach. He hangs out with a ‘reservationist’ at the posh New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park, so he can learn how to snag a reservation at the last minute (‘polite but confident persistence’ is key). He advises readers to take the information in guides like Zagat’s and restaurant reviews with a grain of salt: remember, they’re just opinions. He also urges readers to pay attention to where food comes from and to try new things. A mixed bag of advice, insider information and soapboxing (on everything from organic food and ‘authentic cuisine’ to restaurant critics), this opinionated diner’s tour is sure to appeal to chowhounds in general and New Yorkers in particular.”