I was having drinks yesterday afternoon with a friend who is well-versed in the Miami restaurant scene. I mean well-versed as in having written for multiple news and periodical sources at one point. We got onto the subject of trendy and very expensive restaurants and the “Emperor With No Clothes” syndrome. I have indeed eaten in expensive restaurants that were fabulous and worth every penny that we paid. I have also walked out from having paid a large sum of money for a meal and been disappointed with the food selection, the preparation, the service, and occasionally the ambience. I don’t pretend to know how a restaurant actually gets labeled as “trendy” or “hot”, but I do know that the label can obviously be applied using standards other than what I use.
To begin with, I am paying money for a service – I am not a supplicant requesting to be allowed the privilege of dining with Chef So-and-So. I’m not sure how much the price is set to accommodate having Chef So-and So, but I do realize there will be one. That’s a reasonable assumption as is the fact that a restaurant in a high cost location will need to cover their expenses for owning or leasing in that particular spot. Lovely dinnerware, fresh flowers, real tableclothes – all of those things add to the cost. Since we are not “trend-chasers”, the very reason we go to expensive restaurants for special occasions is to have those surroundigs and we expect to pay more.
However, we also expect the full package – not merely the trappings with lackidasical or inept service, or food that is obviously prepeared from lesser ingredients. By “food”, I mean all the food, from the bread and salad to the side dishes if that is applicable. As I told my friend last night, I have no problem with expressing my true opinion of a place if we are disappointed no matter who has declared it to be otherwise. Again, it’s not about the price – it’s about value for what you pay. And that, of couse, can apply to many things in life.