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Turning the Tables : Restaurants from the Inside Out Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“...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.
Top Customer Reviews
The reading was really bogged down for me by the writer's almost "groupie" sense of being impressed that he can hang with great chefs. It seemed almost jouvenile to me-
He definitely takes the side of the industry and looks at customers with a good amount of disdain. To me it was hard to get through the book because the guy kept referring to his own relationships with people in the industry-
Also, he thinks that critics should not be anonymous- that to me is ridiculous in its own- how can you write an honest review of a establishment, if you were out eating salami sandwiches with the chef earlier that afternoon-
In my opinion the writer really gets off on rubbing elbows with restaurant elite-
Because he kept getting bogged down with being impressedm with himself, getting reservations at tough restaurants, etc., a lot of the material was hard to get through.
He also seems jealous of real writers and has to take a lot of shots at them-
Next time I see his name on a book cover- I'll skip it.
I agree with the reviewer who said this book is a lot like the discourse you'll find on eGullet, pretentious and self-righteously obsessed with details the average person could care less about. I couldn't even finish reading this. Another book for the charity pile, although frankly I feel bad about inflicting this on anyone else.
Pros: There are a few good tips here about food (ahi is not a type of tuna at all, but bluefun tuna is more desirable than yellowfin) and restaurants (want primo treatment? Become a regular). Additional resources section is nice. There is a bibiliography, but there are no citations.
Cons. The bulk of the book reads like a namedropping lovefest of folks only foodies will have heard of. Shaw seems to enjoy letting everyone know who he knows and where has has eaten. He is very opinionated and shamelessly promotes himself and eGullet. The section on the internet and food blogging attempts to be written in a "you must have never heard of these things before" tone, but ends up coming off as patronizing. Even though he is a restaurant reviewer, he appears to have disdain for them, and judging from his fawning over them, Shaw is really just a wannabe chef.
Actually, I began the book with some trepidation. Initially, it seemed that most of Shaw's discussion was about "fine dining," especially the sort of restaurants that absolutely require a reservation. And while I love those sort of places, I can't afford them very often. Certainly not often enough to wish for VIP status when I do go. So how useful could his advice be?
However, I like a lot of things about this book. One of them is that Shaw -- challenged to write better restaurant reviews *after* knowing what happens in the kitchen -- really spent a week at a time working for some well-known restaurants, and explains what the experience is like. (If you ever thought romantically about opening your own brasserie, that alone will probably talk you out of it. If that doesn't do it, his chapter about the finances of the restaurant business will teach you just how difficult it is.)
Even better, he follows the food chain to the sources -- going to the Fulton Fish Market at 2am to see how fish is purchased, to the Union Square green market with Modesto to learn how they choose herbs and vegetables, to the veal suppliers and the clam farmers(!). He writes very well about each excursion ("Mosner pulls a hunk of flesh out of the leg and hold it up like the triumphant father in _The Lion King_, while I marvel at his ability to be so upbeat at seven in the morning"), and discusses the challenges that each segment of the industry faces.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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