Where do we go eat?

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When you are looking for a place to eat what do you do?  Do you Google "best restaurants", grab a red book guide, use Urbanspoon, Yelp!, or some other social media?  Because of what I do, another option for my friends and those that might be travelling is to "ask a concierge."  Living in New York City affords me so many options for dining that I can't even imagine how overwhelmed someone from outside NYC may be when it comes to making a decision.  My best advice is to trust your concierge and if you ask them the right questions, you will be happy with the results and may experience something that you may have never considered otherwise.  

When faced with the aforementioned decision the options usually fall to the following:

The famous Red book(s) - While both of these publications (the New York based one and the International French Company owned one) are great resources for addresses and prices, I personally do not put a lot of stock into the reviews.   These reviews may or may not be corrupted; there has been reports and allegations of inflated scores and scripted remarks for both books.

Multiple online search options - I'm talking Google, Yelp!, Urbanspoon and every other guide that offers to give suggestions based on a number of factors such as neighborhood, cuisine preference and party size.  While these can provide some great suggestions and insight, it is your personal time that you will be spending poring over the numerous results that are spit out.  These often include reviews from diners that can be very helpful or unhelpful.  Sometimes there is no way to recognize if one of these reviews is a shill or someone on a verbal take down with a vendetta against a restaurant employee.

The better option in my opinion is to speak to a concierge.  What defines a good concierge apart from these other options is personal interaction.  In my opinion, when it comes to stellar service the importance of this interaction can not be duplicated by a book or search engine.  The ability to speak with a guest, probe and find out just what they are looking for, whether they know it or not is an integral skill for any concierge.  And the best way for a guest to get the best results is to give the concierge as much information while at the same time being specific on their wants and desires.  I will try to glean as much knowledge about the guest that I can and then share my suggestions on what they may enjoy while at the same time sharing personal experiences with them that they may also get to experience.  It is a great feeling and a basic social interaction when two people can reminisce about a memorable dish or a specific bottle of wine.  A concierge will also be on up to date on the latest openings and closings and will sometimes have a relationship already established with the restaurant.  Many restaurants will take extra special care of my guests by sending a complimentary drink, appetizer or dessert.  This is all the more reason to have your concierge make a reservation for you.  

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So the next time you get hungry and are faced with the task of deciding where or what to eat, have a chat with your concierge.   The benefit may not only be that you fulfill your hunger for food but also for knowledge.  

Notes:

  1. John Mariani, Why it's so hard to trust the Michelin standards Esquire October 2012
  2. A. A. Gill, What's Wrong with the Michelin Guide Vanity Fair November 2012
  3. Josh Ozersky, Is Yelp really for morons?  Time December 2012