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Shaw, known in Internet food circles as the Fat Guy, and founder of the culinary Web site eGullet.org, offers a sort of Kitchen Confidential from the perspective of an average Joe (albeit a pretty swift one). He goes inside the kitchens of venerable New York establishments like Gramercy Tavern and Lespinasse, visits a Connecticut hot dog shack and a North Carolina BBQ joint. But while Anthony Bourdain is interested in telling readers why they should avoid eggs Benedict at all costs, Shaw takes more of a glass-half-full approach. He hangs out with a "reservationist" at the posh New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park, so he can learn how to snag a reservation at the last minute ("polite but confident persistence" is key). He advises readers to take the information in guides like Zagat's and restaurant reviews with a grain of salt: remember, they're just opinions. He also urges readers to pay attention to where food comes from and to try new things. A mixed bag of advice, insider information and soapboxing (on everything from organic food and "authentic cuisine" to restaurant critics), this opinionated diner's tour is sure to appeal to chowhounds in general and New Yorkers in particular.
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“Pure crack for foodies.” (Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential)
“...sound, neighborly advice on getting reservations...briskly tough.” (The New Yorker)
“[The] Fat Guy makes his case....Turning the Tables is a well-rounded work by a well-rounded guy.” (Boston Globe)
“...interesting and useful...Shaw shows how it all comes together at several restaurants.” (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World)
“Shaw dissects everything from reservation systems...to restaurant reviews and the intricate path your food takes to the table.” (Fortune)
“Steven Shaw tells you how to get exceptional service every time.” (Newsweek)
“...this opinionated diner’s tour is sure to appeal to chowhounds in general and New Yorkers in particular.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Penetrating...decodes the secrets of the food world....A delicious read for restaurant goers.” (Library Journal) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
SHORT, AND AMUSING...THE AUTHOR EXPLAINS THE WORKINGS OF RESERVATIONS, WAITSTAFF, AND THE DETAILS THAT GO INTO RUNNING A RESTAURANT, BE IT 4 STAR IN NY OR A MOM AND POP.. Read morePublished on January 7, 2009 by C. Craig
I read this book on vacation & it was the perfect morsel for a leisurely, fun read. I appreciated that Steven shaw did his homework in learning about the food/restaurant industry.Published on May 19, 2006 by S. Klein
Just like eGullet: pretentious 'I'm holier than thou' writing. Shocking stuff. Avoid.Published on February 25, 2006 by NW Savage
The author writes with a dissonant combination of pomposity and indiscriminate praise, like an overconfident, star-struck teenager. Read morePublished on February 11, 2006 by S. Kelly
Wonderfully written, witty and packed with practical information, this little book gave me a big dose of reading pleasure. Read morePublished on January 29, 2006 by Casey Ellis
Early on and ever so earnestly Shaw likens the process of choosing a sushi chef to choosing a psychoanalyst. Read morePublished on January 3, 2006 by Inquiring Mind
Plenty of books discuss how to start a restaurant, or how to invest in one - but too few go behind the swinging doors to explore how famous restaurants run behind the scenes. Read morePublished on December 6, 2005 by Midwest Book Review