Turning the Tables

I’ve had this book sitting on my desk for so long that I’ve partially forgotten what the damn thing’s about. But it’s been sitting here because I’ve been meaning to write about it, because I not only enjoyed it but found it incredibly useful. Food bloggers will likely recognize the name Steven Shaw as the founder of eGullet, the foodie website.

As a restaurant critic and food writer, Shaw shares his insight into the restaurant biz with chapters on everything from how to get a reservation, everything you needed to know about the Open Table system – live in fear people, Open Table is like identity theft for diners – plus how a restaurant kitchen is run, and even how the supply chains work.

As an internet foodie himself, Shaw also has strong feelings in support of food bloggers and discusses how the internet is changing everything about food writing. He also looks at the changing evolution of the restaurant business, from a shift to high-end cuisine to chefs like Tom Collicchio opening sandwich chains, or the creation of a restaurant from scratch such as Grant Achatz’s Alinea.

The section on how to order sushi is not only amusing but truly informative, with descriptions of various cuts and styles that can make a novice sushi eater look like a pro.

If you enjoy eating out – and who doesn’t – I highly recommend Steven Shaw’s Turning the Tables – Restaurants From the Inside Out. There’s a lot of info here that is guaranteed to help every diner get the best dining experience their money can buy.