class="groupcontent">(第 2 篇) If you think the great equalizer in rank-conscious Washington is a summons to
appear for jury duty, you haven’t been out to eat lately. Thanks to a ravenous appetite for
fashionable food served in appetizer-size restaurants — and an abundance of millennial
patience — the leveling agent for secretaries and Secretary of State alike boils down to this:
More of us are waiting in line for dinner because restaurants aren’t taking reservations.
Eager to explore the Thai fireworks at Little Serow in Dupont Circle at prime time?
Prepare to wait up to three hours on weekends for one of fewer than 30 seats. Meanwhile,
ramen slurpers know it’s easier to access Toki Underground on H Street NE on weekdays, when
the wait might be a mere hour, versus the weekend, when the drill can take three times as long.
The latest game-changer, Compass Rose off booming 14th Street NW, is a cozy source for
international street food that offers snacks from Brazil, India and Spain — a little bit of
everything, it seems, except for confirmed bookings.
Restaurateurs say they don’t take reservations because they want to avoid no-shows and
latecomers, but also because they know they can pack in more diners. Indeed, the policy, which
clearly favors host over guest, is creating tension and buzz; as different as the aforementioned
eateries are, they all play to full houses. It also illustrates an economy that has rebounded. In
lean times, a business wouldn’t dare make it difficult for you to use them.
The reality that so many worthy young restaurants are forgoing reservations is testament to
a culture that gets as excited to see a star chef as the FLOTUS, and to a city that’s living to eat
rather than eating to live.
Maybe that’s what sets Washington apart from other markets: a high degree of
self-importance. No other major food city makes some of its most coveted seats so hard to
secure. Challenging as they are to access, even white-hot Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York
and Flour + Water in San Francisco offer some reservations.
The allure of the near-unattainable has been good for other than the sexy restaurants in
question; beneficiaries of the no-reservations policy include the hot spots’ neighbors, where aspiring diners go to drink or snack while they wait, fingers crossed, to get a text or call
informing them their table is ready. Jamie Leeds, the owner of two Hank’s Oyster Bars near
Little Serow and Rose’s Luxury, picks up an extra dozen or so customers a night at her seafood
eateries. The daily average might be small, she says, but over the course of the year, the
numbers add up and the exposure is impressive. “Customers come back on their own.”
On the surface, not saving tables sounds egalitarian. Whoever shows up first has a shot at
getting in, regardless of clout or contacts. Anyone who has ever tried and failed to score seats at
such extreme reservations as Minibar by José Andrés in Washington or the French Laundry
from Thomas Keller in Napa Valley can appreciate the idea of more or less dining by lottery.
But hospitality takes a holiday at establishments that don’t book. In effect, these
restaurants are saying, “It’s more important for us to fill every seat than to treat diners like
guests.” Think about it. Who invites people to dinner and then makes them wait until the cook is
good and ready to let you in? By not guaranteeing tables, restaurants dismiss whole groups of
would-be patrons. The masses include senior citizens who might not be able to stand for long or
don’t go out after dark, parents who may be reluctant to shell out $20 an hour for child care for
a meal that may or may not happen, and suburbanites reluctant to drive in for the chance to be
turned away. I smell ageism. Sure enough, a scan of the dining rooms that don’t book tables
could be a casting call for a J. Crew catalogue.
About that defense from restaurants, that the no-reservation policy helps them avoid
no-shows? The hospitality industry would be wise to adopt the practice of doctors, dentists and
fitness trainers, who charge customers who fail to show for an appointment. A fair penalty.
Affluent and over-educated Washingtonians are not used to being told no. It’s one thing for
Open Table to let you know, late at night in the comfort of your pajamas, you can’t eat
someplace on the day and time selected, quite another to be told “no” in person at a host stand
with dates, clients — anyone you want to impress — in tow. Such restaurant rejection is yet
another reminder of disruption culture; the old rules and old access don’t apply in 2014.
If it hasn’t happened yet, it will soon: Someone with more money than time is going to
enlist the help of an assistant, concierge or Craigslist to stand in line as a human place-holder
for the bragging rights of a seat in a restaurant the public is dying to try.
Fair or not — I vote not — that kind of behavior goes against the spirit of dining out, at
least for me. A sense of camaraderie forms when you huddle with people on a joint mission,
even one as ephemeral as dinner, and for some participants, the exhilaration of landing a hot
table (“Yes! We made it!”) is right up there with successful deep-sea dives and climbs of
Again, the restaurant wins, too. Which diner, having endured the hoops of nabbing a
reservation at Noma, perhaps the toughest ticket on the planet right now, is going to say the
food was just okay?
What goes around comes around. When Erik Bruner-Yang, the chef of the no-reservations
Toki Underground, visited a like-minded peer, his verbal review of the production began: “I
waited two hours for Rose’s.”
【Group】46. The passage can best be described as _____.
(A) a survey of the inadequacies of a long-established practice
(B) a critique against class elitism disguised as egalitarianism
(C) a defense of an emerging innovation in restaurant management from anticipated objections
(D) a reflection on an impregnable trend in the catering trade