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Dining Fine

January 04, 1987

Several months ago Ruth Reichl reviewed a $100 per person dinner at the 7th Street Bistro. I was tempted to write at the time, but didn't get around to it. Her "The Grump Dines Out" (Dec. 21) got me to the typewriter.

In regard to the 7th Street Bistro, Reichl expressed concern about what a waiter would think if one ordered the most (or least) expensive item on the menu; then concern about possible embarrassment at the hands of a sommelier if one orders the "wrong wine."

May I suggest that these are concerns for insurance salesmen from Peoria, not the clientele of the 7th Street Bistro. We who know, and can afford, the SSB aren't the least concerned about what waiters think. They're there to serve, and, if asked, to answer questions, not to have opinions about the diners' choices. We also know what wines to order.

Furthermore, the staff of a good restaurant would never, under any circumstances, make their guests feel anything other than welcome, comfortable and completely at ease. That's what they're paid for.

As to the "Grump": I've always found Reichl's referring to him as the Reluctant Gourmet as somewhat cloying and "cutesey pooh." I'm sure he's a lovely man (though apparently a gastronomic Philistine). His reluctance to wear a suit may strike a sympathetic chord with the bumpkins in the Midwest, but in L.A.? Really!

I read restaurant reviews to learn about the restaurants in L.A., not to learn about the RG dripping pizza on the couch during Monday Night Football and marinating his suitless self in pizza drippings and barbecue sauce.



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