Lafayette Review: Lafayette has good tripe and blogs help restaurants

Lafayette Review: Lafayette has good tripe and blogs help restaurants

Lafayette is fun. It’s crowded. It’s like the new it place to go. There’s a bakery shop in the front where you can get tasty if not over priced things from morning to night. The food is pretty good too, also a little over priced but there’s a price to pay to eat at the popular place. Price fairness is not really important for restaurants, and if anything, using price to mitigate long queues might be worth it for everyone involved. We tried a few things at Lafayette and I liked the tripe the most. It’s almost difficult to do this dish wrong, and when braised long enough it’s absolutely delicious. At Lafayette they give you a bit of bone marrow too, which never hurts. You really have to add some salt to the marrow part of it though.

But I want to address the article that was in the Observer the other day. Basically the article was about how the food news/blog frenzie is not great for the restaurant business. It was eloquently written in a manner I cannot match, but seriously… someone needs to call BULLSHIT on that. It just felt like the article was waxing poetic about one case study or another, but there was no concrete numbers. I get it though, the food writing industry (professional or amateur) aims to tug at heart strings. It’s all anecdotes or profiles. But I think blogs or the internet food sites aren’t harming the restaurant industry at all.

Reason 1 why blogs are not ruining the restaurant industry – The supply and demand chain doesn’t stop at restaurants => blogs.. Readers control what happens on blogs. If a blog could publish once a month and get great revenue, that’s what it will do. Unfortunately as of 2013, it’s a constant battle for entertainment attention. If blogs have an adverse effect on the restaurant industry, the reason is because readers have an adverse effect on the website readership. Where a potential customer chooses to dine has always determined which restaurant succeeded or failed. This has been the case since the beginning of time. What has changed it how we get our information to figure out which restaurant to visit. You can’t blame blogs for giving people what they want.

Reason 2 why blogs are not ruining the restaurant industry – It is impossible to isolate the variable. Every good scientist will tell you that in order to tell if one thing is affecting another, you must isolate the variables. The Observer article mentioned nothing about how often restaurants closed before the blogging mania versus after. What if the food blogosphere has actually helped restaurants? At the end of the day, we all want shitty restaurants to close to pave way for better restaurants. Who’s the say the ones that haven’t made it aren’t shitty? What we really want isn’t proof that some restaurants in 2009 that were hot on blogs are not around anymore. What’s more interesting is the rate at which restaurants open or close. It would seem no one has that.

Reason 3 why blogs are not ruining the restaurant industry – The fickle restaurant industry has always been fickle. The article said that restaurants these days now have to stress novel dish or weird concepts because it has to stand out from the rest. Sure, there’s that. But in 1996, the year when unlimited internet use at home had barely begun, how the fuck were you going to get your name out even if you were doing good and delicious food? Restaurants have always wanted to do new things and push the envelope. Some food lovers bemoan the lack of intellectual property protection with dishes. Shut the fuck up. The reason we constantly have new and delicious things that greet our taste buds is because restaurants and chefs are forced to innovate. Someone go ask Thomas Keller how much he would just love to retire Oysters and Pearls. Or ask Achatz how tiring Hot Potato, Cold Potato is. But guess what, we see how Achatz feels about that. They made a whole restaurant concept just so they could stop doing the same shit over and over again! To review… customers like novel things. Great chefs like novel things. Novel is good.

Reason 4 why blogs are not ruining the restaurant industry – The evolution of internet restaurant coverage has helped create a new elite group of restauranteurs. Look at the first comment in that Observer article and you’ll see it’s from Nick Kokonas who is a partner at Alinea. He basically wrote this point out in long form. There’s a top 1% of restaurants that have evolved from the system that we used to have. Now we have elite restaurants that can reach their client base with social media websites. Internet food media helps drive that craze. Let’s get real, the people who subscribe to Next Restaurant’s Facebook or Twitter probably either reads Grub Street or Eater or Serious Eats or some combination of all three.

I think it’s clear that bloggers or food news coverage has helped the restaurant industry. But you know it’s all good. I know Ozersky works hard at his craft. He does good work. He just happens to be flat incorrect in his view point. It doesn’t matter if Andrew Carminelli constantly has to keep reinventing a new concept to reach his original audience or reach new audience. This is what smart businesses do. They don’t let their customers get bored. So yea, I’ve had tripe at Locanda Verde and then had tripe at The Dutch, and most recently the tripe at Lafayette. It just keeps getting better, so what’s bad about that?

Lafayette380 Lafayette St.New York, NY 10003212-533-3000

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