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The NY Ultra-Luxe Websites


oakapple
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having a proper website is a necessity. I don't need the flash, the retarded splash screens. Just give me your contact info, hours of business and directions if possible.

Also a sample menu with PRICES would be nice.

Not having a website is unexcuseable. There's been numerous times when the restaurant's website was the deciding factor. This is especially true when I'm in another city outside of NYC. If I had to choose 1 restaurant out of a few that are at the same level, cuisine, reputation etc., I would choose the one who provides me with the most useful info from their website.

I want as much useful information about a restaurant. No pics, that must mean your restaurant is a dump. No sample menu, then you must be embarassed by what you serve. No prices with the menu, then it must expensive. This info gives me a good backround about the restaurant and that sets my expectations.

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On a recent trip to New York, i found restaurants websites crucial to deciding where we would dine. Of course I also referred to eGullet, Zagat's, etc. but they do not provide you with menus. Since my fiancee is a vegetarian, I really appreciate a restaurant with a website that offers menu selections so I can see if she would be happy eating there.

I really liked Daniel Bouluud's website, but was frustrated by the lack of info on Vongerichten's site. I don't necessarily care how fancy the websites are, I'm just expecting some info on what type of food is offered, possible prices, and a few pictures to entice me and give me some understanding of what type of restaurant to expect upon visiting.

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One very helpful feature of a web site is the availability of the wine list on line.

As an enophile and married person, it irritates my wife when I spend ten minutes perusing a wine list (any good list with a large selection requires some time to "peruse"). It is also bad manners for one to ignore one's guests or fellow diners while "perusing."

Therefore--it is wonderful when I can "peruse" on line and have a good idea of what the restaurant has to offer thus cutting down on the at table "perusing."

I've had one sommelier express the opinion that too much work had gone into creating the wine collection and that putting the complete list up on the site was of more value to the competition than it was to the restaurant. I'm not defending that position, just mentioning one opinion. I'd also note that other restaurants have made a feature of their online wine list. As a diner, I'd find it useful to be able to gain a familiarity with the list prior to arriving at the restaurant in question.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I'd be curious if you could back this comment up. For instance, name a restaurant in New York that has a credible claim to be in the top 30, that's not in Zagat at all.

One would hardly need Zagat for the top 30; it would only have 4 pages if that was all it listed. It's the restaurants in the middle, the bistros, the family restos that the public needs to be made aware of.

Here is just one of the many threads on Eg discussing the vicissitudes of depending on Zagat: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=53786&hl=

DuMarchelier, a lovely bistro on 86th and 5th is not in there. Bandol Bistro, on 78th and 3rd is not there. But Starbucks IS listed. Then there is the whole sleazy issue of their decals in restaurant windows, even if the resto got a horrible rating...Zagat is a joke.

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I'd be curious if you could back this comment up. For instance, name a restaurant in New York that has a credible claim to be in the top 30, that's not in Zagat at all.

One would hardly need Zagat for the top 30; it would only have 4 pages if that was all it listed. It's the restaurants in the middle, the bistros, the family restos that the public needs to be made aware of.

However, this particular writer said that when he's visiting a new place, he checks the Zagat top-30 to identify the top restaurants worth trying, and as far as I can tell that works just fine. He didn't say he's looking for "the restaurants in the middle."

Zagat in New York lists around 2,500 restaurants, which is perhaps 10-15% of the total. Even with the most conscientious effort, some gems are going to be omitted.

DuMarchelier, a lovely bistro on 86th and 5th is not in there.  Bandol Bistro, on 78th and 3rd is not there.  But Starbucks IS listed.  Then there is the whole sleazy issue of their decals in restaurant windows, even if the resto got a horrible rating...Zagat is a joke.

I did some spot checking. I can't find a restaurant called "DuMarchelier" in any online guide. Bandol is a mixed bag. It's on Citysearch and AOL Digital City. The New York Times lists it, but unrated. Neither New York Magazine nor Gayot.com list it. Newsday lists it, but The Village Voice does not. In short, Bandol is one of those mid-market places that about half the media has noticed, and about half has not. I'm sure there are hundreds of those, and it doesn't make all of the media corrupt. Any work of compilation must draw the line somewhere.

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We went to a very nice bistro-type restaurant (not in NYC, name is not important). Point is, their wine list was online. The list was surprisingly extensive. Yes, part of the fun is to sit and peruse the list and menu, speak with staff regarding signature dishes, etc., but sometimes, especially if it is a busy restaurant, it can be a little nerve-wracking to go through a long list. Therefore, it was wonderful to be able to study both menu and wine list ahead of time to gather some potential selections, then (in our case, to discuss with the chef/owner and staff as well) what our final choices would be. I don't think restaurants should worry about what the "competition" is doing. They probably know anyway and it could only help them further having educated diners, not keeping us in the dark. I've seen some restaurants with very extensive lists just put out partial or sample lists and that has given me enough of a feel to decide whether to go there or not. In fact, when they indicate that more selections, reserves, etc. are available, the "tease" may make that place more intriguing.

Mark A. Bauman

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One very helpful feature of a web site is the availability of the wine list on line.

As an enophile and married person, it irritates my wife when I spend ten minutes perusing a wine list (any good list with a large selection requires some time to "peruse"). It is also bad manners for one to ignore one's guests or fellow diners while "perusing."

Therefore--it is wonderful when I can "peruse" on line and have a good idea of what the restaurant has to offer thus cutting down on the at table "perusing."

I've had one sommelier express the opinion that too much work had gone into creating the wine collection and that putting the complete list up on the site was of more value to the competition than it was to the restaurant. I'm not defending that position, just mentioning one opinion. I'd also note that other restaurants have made a feature of their online wine list. As a diner, I'd find it useful to be able to gain a familiarity with the list prior to arriving at the restaurant in question.

Thanks Bux.

I didn't see things from this perspective.

I see the point --I also realize that those who would spend a lot of time poring over a wine list are probably few in number.

Anyway--quite a few restaurants do post their lists. I always believe that for every business:

"an informed consumer is our best customer."

Sy Symms--what a marketer!

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did some spot checking. I can't find a restaurant called "DuMarchelier" in any online guide. Bandol is a mixed bag. It's on Citysearch and AOL Digital City. The New York Times lists it, but unrated. Neither New York Magazine nor Gayot.com list it. Newsday lists it, but The Village Voice does not. In short, Bandol is one of those mid-market places that about half the media has noticed, and about half has not. I'm sure there are hundreds of those, and it doesn't make all of the media corrupt.

OK, I spelled it wrong, it's DeMarchelier. It's in Citysearch, AOL, Yahoo, NYMag, etc. Oh, yes, MenuPages too.

Why are you going to such lengths to defend Zagat? Do you work for them? On the thread I referenced, there is an interesting comment from a restaurant owner about the sham business they have of selling a Zagat plaque to put in the window. Rating or review is not important-- the plaque just says "Zagat Listed" (Whatever that means).

Any work of compilation must draw the line somewhere

Sure, that's why they list Starbucks...(!!??) :wacko:

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Why are you going to such lengths to defend Zagat?  Do you work for them?  On the thread I referenced, there is an interesting comment from a restaurant owner about the sham business they have of selling a Zagat plaque to put in the window.  Rating or review is not important-- the plaque just says "Zagat Listed" (Whatever that means). 

The real sham is the businesses who try to sell fake plaques and stickers to unsuspecting restaurant owners. To be "Zagat Rated" is an honor, albeit a small one, since it's dependent on patrons nominating your restaurant. Zagat is a good on-line resource since they clearly present the phone number, hours, and location of most popular restaurants. If a website for the restaurant exists, Zagat probably links to it, as well; that's another time saver. As for the ratings, that's not what is being discussed here.

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. . . .  I can't find a restaurant called "DuMarchelier" . . .

DeMarchalier - http://www.demarchelierrestaurant.com/main.html

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I've had one sommelier express the opinion that too much work had gone into creating the wine collection and that putting the complete list up on the site was of more value to the competition than it was to the restaurant. I'm not defending that position, just mentioning one opinion. I'd also note that other restaurants have made a feature of their online wine list. As a diner, I'd find it useful to be able to gain a familiarity with the list prior to arriving at the restaurant in question.

I find online wine lists helpful also. In regards to the wine list being online and competition. It has been argued by some that one of the justifications for the markup on wine is the work that goes into making the selections for the restaurants celler. I know I have heard this argued the only hard source I can think of off the top of my head is Shaw in Turning the Tables. So there might be some validity in the arguement.

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Why are you going to such lengths to defend Zagat?  Do you work for them?

Tsk, tsk! Please, no ad hominem attacks, even if in jest. (Remember, we can't see facial expression here, but here's an emoticon: :raz:)

On the thread I referenced, there is an interesting comment from a restaurant owner about the sham business they have of selling a Zagat plaque to put in the window.  Rating or review is not important-- the plaque just says "Zagat Listed" (Whatever that means).[...]

And then, there are those Zagat "Awards of Distinction," whatever the hell that is.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Why are you going to such lengths to defend Zagat?  Do you work for them?

No, I don't work for Zagat. However, you said something that I believe is manifestly unjust:

...many many good restaurants are not listed at all, probably a quid pro quo for some editorial grudge, or the like...

You gave two examples of supposedly good restaurants Zagat had missed. It turns out Bandol Bistro is sufficiently obscure that about half the media in town had missed it. Are they all on the take? I think not.

The second (DeMarchelier) is another of those middle-of-the-road places covered by some, not others. In April 1998, Ruch Reichl of the Times said of DeMarchelier, "Looks like a bistro, but the food is disappointing and the prices are high." That's just one data point, but still, it's not exactly supportive of your premise.

Zagat has a fair number of flaws, as do all data sources, but Zagat's ratings tend to correlate with other media that rate restaurants. You find some oddities here & there. But then, Frank Bruni uncorks some strange ratings too (both too high and too low), and no one has suggested he's corrupt.

Any work of compilation must draw the line somewhere

Sure, that's why they list Starbucks...(!!??) :wacko:

Remember, Zagat ratings are based on reader votes. Starbucks is in the 2006 guide with a rather low (by Zagat standards) 12/10/13 rating, because people submitted ballots for it.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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My guess is that if Fat guy, Oakapple, and 48 other fin becs who post in this forum made a list of their choices for one, two and three stars, there wouldn't be one list I'd agree with completely. Moreover, if I made a list, I'll bet I won't agree with it entirely either in a few months. More likely, I'll wake up the next day and think of a place I forgot about including. At any rate, these lists are never as definitive as people have wanted to believe Michelin's lists are. If Oakapple seems to be one of Michelin's supporters here, I read his posts as saying that if Michelin gives a restaurant a two star rating, lots of people will agree and most people will agree that it's worth a star and maybe three.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Oakapple's vociferous defense of Zagat is baffling; we have about 12 or so threads here concerning the pitfalls of using Zagat as anything other than a phone book.

Furthermore, your argument that a restaurant needs to have a FAVORABLE review in the eyes of the public to be listed is just all wrong. We need ALL reviews, good and bad!!

And lastly, the issue of Starbucks being listed in Zagat has been conveniently ignored. I'm sure that is a really tough issue to defend...

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Oakapple is not saying that Zagat's rating system is necessarily good. It seems that he's just pointing out that inclusion in the Zagat guide is based on reader votes; it's not as though the editors are choosing which place to include or exclude.

edit to add: this stuff isn't really pertinent to the thread's topic

Edited by BryanZ (log)
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Oakapple's vociferous defense of Zagat is baffling; we have about 12 or so threads here concerning the pitfalls of using Zagat as anything other than a phone book.

It's not so much a vociferous defense, as pointing out that it's not as bad as some people say, and some comments about it (such as those upthread) are demonstrably incorrect.

Furthermore, your argument that a restaurant needs to have a FAVORABLE review in the eyes of the public to be listed is just all wrong.

I wasn't saying that. The original comment was that "...many many good restaurants are not listed at all, probably a quid pro quo for some editorial grudge, or the like...," which was the point I responded to.

And lastly, the issue of Starbucks being listed in Zagat has been conveniently ignored.

Why is that a problem? Starbucks is the most ubiquitous coffeehouse chain in the city. Given the premise that coffeehouses are in the guide (and I see no fundamental reason why they should not be), the exclusion of Starbucks would have been highly peculiar. Of course, there are a jillion non-franchise coffeehouses in NYC that aren't in the guide, probably because no one voted for them.

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As interesting as this discussion of Zagat is, unless it pertains directly to the topic at hand, i.e. Ultra luxe restaurant websites, it should be taken to another thread.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Back on topic:

I'm not sure how long this has been up but www.davidbouley.com is a pretty nice site. People have already noted that both Bouley and Danube have simple but pretty functional websites. I'm not sure if this one is new, but upon initial inspection it seems to be pretty well-designed.

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Back on topic:

I'm not sure how long this has been up but www.davidbouley.com is a pretty nice site.  People have already noted that both Bouley and Danube have simple but pretty functional websites.  I'm not sure if this one is new, but upon initial inspection it seems to be pretty well-designed.

Yes, http://www.davidbouley.com/ must be the new one, because it has a link to "Upstairs," and the others do not.

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I'd love to know what you guys think of this site:

http://www.mulinos.us/

Which I produced, for the #1 Westchester Italian, Mulino's. I had to review many of the sites discussed in this thread, as well as the sites of many other top restaurants, and I must say they really run the gamut. I've seen top restaurants with offensively bad or non-working websites. And many of the sites mentioned in this thread are really lead-in's to the restauranteurs greater businesses. The goal for Mulino's was simplicity...

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The website looks nice. I'm flabbergasted that that or any other restaurant doesn't take cash for dinner, but I suppose that would be something to discuss in a different thread.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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The website looks nice. I'm flabbergasted that that or any other restaurant doesn't take cash for dinner, but I suppose that would be something to discuss in a different thread.

Yeah they must have a pretty good reason for that. Definitely the best Italian in Westchester (as long as you're not paying cash)

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The website looks nice. I'm flabbergasted that that or any other restaurant doesn't take cash for dinner, but I suppose that would be something to discuss in a different thread.

Please excuse the "me too," but this is one of the more elegant restaurant websites I've seen. But besides elegance, it is sensibly organized, loads quickly, and is easy to use.

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