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 2015 restaurant standbys, newcomers and more. Now it's time for restaurant grievances.
Q: What was the biggest restaurant grievance for 2015?
Rene Louapre, cofounder of Hogs For The Cause
Still waiting for someone to open a place doing fried chicken.
Lorin Gaudin, Nola Food Goddess, food editor of Where
Gimmicks. I cannot stand food gimmicks... It's no secret I cannot get behind the egg beater with a blob of raw cookie dough on the cookie plate at Willa Jean. That is just plain gross, and no one eats cookie dough off a beater... that's not the tool used to finish chocolate chip cookie batter.
Kim Ranjbar, writer, Suck The Heads
Why must I pay white linen prices at casual restaurants? A poor food writer like myself is finding it increasingly difficult to afford dining out.
Scott Gold, author of The Shameless Carnivore, writer/contributor for Thrillist, NolaVie, and Louisiana Eats!
Despite so many great new restaurants and more people dining out than ever -- or perhaps because of that -- there seemed to be a drop-off in service quality this year. I've had some annoying experiences (among many splendid ones -- it's still appears to be anomalous), but I've heard some real nightmare stories from friends about rude servers, bartenders and hosts/hostesses recently, and that didn't seem to be the case in previous years. Great service is so integral to the New Orleans dining experience, and the apparent uptick in indifferent— or even downright insulting— service is a dismaying thing indeed. We must draw a line in the sand. We cannot let this become an accepted practice, not in this town!
B.E. Mintz, founder and editor of Nola Defender and Faux Real Fest
I think there are some dangerous trends in the current NOLA dining scene. First off, the supply of line cooks and servers simply can not equal the demand. Complicating that it issue is the greater zeitgeist which eschews the idea of "paying your dues." A lot of young cooks think that they are going to graduate from culinary school, immediately ascend to the big toque, and then own their own restaurant two years later. They don't want to stay at one spot and work their way up the line for lower pay. Skipping that process also skips a key element of the learning process.
Likewise, a lot of fine dining servers are simply making extra money while they work on a different project. While their other passions are admirable, the diner is starting to experience a lot of inconsistency in both food and service. Hospitality is a career replete with a professionalism learned over years and the diner can tell when front-of-house's heart is simply not invested in the job. (I'm certain that restauranteurs don't like the turnover either). Unfortunately, inversely proportional to the decline in quality is an increase in attitude. New Orleans has long been known for her welcoming atmosphere. I think the industry needs to be careful not to lose sight of that as accolades continue to come in for our restaurants. Even if the diner is ordering a well vodka tonic and asking why's there no "gumbolaya" on the menu, they must remain "always right."
Josh Brasted, photographer
While there are some gems, I found the menu execution to be lacking in both Roux Carre and St. Roch Market.
Nora McGunnigle, beer writer and contributor for Eater NOLA and Gambit
Restaurants listing a few ingredients as description of the dish without context for what the final plate will be (or omitting ingredients altogether.)
Gwendolyn Knapp, editor, Eater NOLA
Extremely overpriced sandwiches. I even saw a $22 sandwich listed on a menu last week.