As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. We've already covered the best standbys, newcomers, 2014 in one word, the best dining neighborhood, the biggest dining surprise, and the single best meal of 2014. Now, restaurant grievances.
Q. What was your biggest restaurant grievance of 2014?
Rene Louapre, cofounder of Hogs For The Cause:
Ohh cool, you are opening a bar/lounge/gastrostation that serves snacks at exorbitant prices and smaller portions? And you have have craft cocktails with three too many ingredients? Obscure beers with names like Captain Willimonkies Wild Ride? Wines by the glass start at $12 and are badly stored and served? Is there nowhere decent to sit down and either eat or drink or chat? Your staff has tattoos, bad attitudes, loads of followers on instagram, and would rather be in art school? So edgy! This sounds like a totally original and great way to take other people's money. See you real soon!
Lorin Gaudin, Nola Food Goddess, food editor of Where, cohost of New Orleans By Mouth:
My biggest gripe is that with all the new restaurants opening, there is nothing truly new, fresh or different...yet.
Kim Ranjbar, writer, Suck The Heads:
Although I wouldn't call this pet peeve a recent phenomenon, I was highly annoyed by super-steep prices in uber-casual restaurants. I don't foresee an end to this, though.
Scott Gold, author of The Shameless Carnivore, writer/contributor for Thrillist, NolaVie, Louisiana Eats!:
The omnipresent menu phrase "handmade" or "house-made." We realize that you make food in your restaurant, and that you're happy about it. We're happy about it, too, but give us a little credit, brah.
B.E. Mintz, founder and editor of Nola Defender:
I am growing nostalgic for fine dining. I have interviewed countless chefs who talk about wanting to work with "simple, fresh ingredients, and make the dining experience feel like going to a friend's house." I love the casual atmosphere, but I think there's also something to be said for donning some finery and making an occasion of a meal. I also worry a little that ingredients become an excuse to cut corners on preparation and service. Likewise, I am a concerned that in the converse rush to fuse elements, the basics are sometimes overlooked.
Josh Brasted, photographer:
I was a huge fan of Vietnamese food but found that the market was over-saturated this year with somewhat underwhelming offerings.
Nora McGunnigle, beer writer and contributor for Eater NOLA and Gambit:
Marketing bars/restaurants as gendered, like "so and so will appeal to the mens so they don't get lady cooties."
Gwendolyn Knapp, editor, Eater NOLA:
I am rather over the exorbitant prices around town too. I like my tacos and banh mi cheap. Also, I had some exceptionally bad service this year, from untrained neophytes to inattentive snooty butts to GMs unable to control the crowds in their restaurants. If I'm paying fine dining prices at your establishment, I don't want people bumping into my chair while they're waiting for a table because the bar area is packed or they saw Doogie Howser dining solo and need to get a pic. Also, menu trickery is the devil: don't put fried chicken on your menu, and then serve glorified chicken tenders.