As the recession wages on (no pun intended), luxury restaurants are fighting to survive. They’re cutting special deals and substituting less expensive ingredients for more gourmet ones. (Goodbye, jumbo lump crab meat. Hello, lump crab meat.) And they’re also overbooking, so you might have to fight with a bunch of Europeans to get the table you reserved.
NY Times: THE 7:30 dinner reservation that you’re always trying and failing to get will become easier pickings this fall, but it may also become a con of a sort. Restaurateurs, like airlines, are overbooking. They can’t afford to lose revenue to no-shows, not in an economy like this.
You’ll notice more special deals, more value meals: happy-hour snacks for under $4; late-night nibbles for less; Sunday promotions; lunchtime bargains.
You’ll see hanger steaks where strip steaks were once ascendant, dwarf lobsters where steroidal crustaceans once reigned. Luxury items will be scarcer, low-ticket options more ubiquitous.
You’ll notice more comfort food and more straightforward food, as many restaurateurs defer to what diners are guaranteed to order, rather than what chefs are flattered to concoct.
And you’ll hear the accents and see the stamp of foreigners, who are claiming an ever greater percentage of restaurant seats, their currencies more valuable than ours.
But, Frank Bruni notes, the downturn won’t mean you’ll finally be able to afford a meal at Per Se or get a table at Babbo.
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