Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Final Thoughts as I Excuse Myself from the Table

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Final Thoughts as I Excuse Myself from the Table

Article excerpt

Four-hundred restaurant reviews equal a lot of meals out. That's about the number I've written for The Record over the last nine years.

Friday was my last one. I'm moving on, and among other things, looking forward to dinners out being play and not work.

As a thank-you to those of you kind enough to read my reviews over the years, I offer some hard-won wisdom -- the 10 things I'll do differently as a restaurant diner because of those 400 reviews.

1. Avoid dining out during all of the following days and times, or be prepared for bedlam: 1) Valentine's Day, 2) Mother's Day, 3) after 7 p.m. on a Saturday night, 4) the day an online deal expires, 5) the weekend after a positive review runs (just wait a few weeks).

2. Don't order dessert. I love dessert. But unless a restaurant is known for dessert -- and preferably makes it in-house - it is almost always underwhelming and, too often, even gross. I've picked through too many specimens straight out of the freezer case from a restaurant supply store and quite a few that have been hanging around a refrigerator too long.

3. In restaurants known for beautiful views, never assume you will be sitting in a seat that actually has such a view. You could easily be relegated to a booth in the back, gazing at the waiter's station or the swinging kitchen door, even when the view was the reason you came. Always ask in advance. (Addendum No. 1: Just because the restaurant brags about sitting along the Hudson River doesn't mean it has any view. Addendum No. 2: Midtown skyline views are always most dramatic from the Weehawken area, not the Edgewater area, just because of geography.)

4. Yes, of course you want the specials and their prices written down instead of being recited in a confusing list. But many restaurants don't do this -- no matter how many times you request it. …

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