Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Grub Street


Megan Blocker
 Share

Recommended Posts

New York Magazine's online component, www.nymetro.com, debuted a new blog this week, entirely devoted to the city's food scene. From the premier post:

Grub Street will be updated hourly, covering everything from the cult street vendor, nameless yet venerated, to the latest temple of gastronomy, awash in renown. You'll find out which in-demand tables are available each night, where you might discover an overlooked lunch spot, what's worth reading elsewhere on the Web, and what Matthew Barney orders at Balthazar.

Have people been reading? Whaddya think?

It's received Gawker's seal of approval, sort of.

ETA: I take back the sort of! I just re-read Gawker's post, and it is uncharacteristically free of the snark. :wink:

Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grub Street is certainly raising the bar for quantity and breadth (as for quality and depth, that remains to be seen, though they certainly made a good editorial choice in Josh Ozersky aka Mr. Cutlets). I think it's going to be pretty hard for them to live up to the "updated hourly" promise, though. I mean, it hasn't been updated since 3:58pm yesterday -- what is that, 15 1/2 hours downtime as of right now? And yesterday there were 6 entries, so even assuming they only mean "updated hourly during the 8-hour workday on weekdays" they're still not quite hitting the mark. Anyway, they should be updating it as there's news, not on some artificial schedule that encourages reports when there's nothing to report.

I'm not sure what the point of calling A Voce, Dona and Country to ascertain the availability of tables for 2 at 8 was. I mean, we're talking about a blog here, which means people reading it are already on the internet. They can just check OpenTable and find out whether there's a table for any number of people at any time available at any OpenTable-enabled restaurant -- including A Voce, Dona and Country. You just select your date, time and party size and OpenTable generates a whole report of every restaurant and when it has tables at your time plus or minus. It's great.

(Ted, I hope you'll enjoy the first of John Sconzo's series of eG Forums reports on the ICC/StarChefs event. Also, the ICC event was on the eG Calendar for quite some time before it happened: ICC event on eG Calendar).

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's pretty surprising to find someone with Ozersky's savvy promising hourly updates. If ever there was a promise made to be broken, this was it. It's not that there isn't enough to say, but I don't think one guy can sustain that kind of pace. Still, even if he only posts half that often, Grub Street will be compelling reading.

The daily call for 8:00 p.m. reservations is a gimmick. Ozersky has included some places that aren't on OpenTable, so it's not entirely without informative content. (And as FG has often pointed out, even the restaurants that are on OT don't put all their tables there.) It does show that, even at the last minute, decent reservations are virtually always available all over town. I wouldn't try that on Valentine's Day, but otherwise there's always a ton of options.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's certainly a gimmick, and one with very limited value. If I want a table for 4 at 8, or a table for 2 at 8:30, the information provided isn't relevant. While it's possible that a phone call can yield a couple of data points that OpenTable can't (e.g, if the restaurant has held back some tables from OT, or if the restaurant isn't on OT at all), OpenTable yields several hundred data points that the phone call method can't -- plus the OpenTable search is built around actual needs (table for 3 at 9) rather than the table for 2 at 8. Not to mention, once the information is out there on Grub Street, how long will it remain viable? With OpenTable, if the reservation is there you can click on it and make it. The point being, if you spent 30 seconds on OpenTable you'd derive a whole heck of a lot more value than you'd derive from this Grub Street feature.

Maybe that analysis was overkill, but I have too much respect for Josh to accept that he'll be satisfied with this kind of gimmickry. If he's really interested in providing a useful last-minute-reservations feature, he should do something that adds value. With the power of New York Magazine behind the venture, let them approach restaurants and ask for exclusives on a few tables each week -- then post the availability, either with a code word or, even better, partner with OpenTable to make the process seamless end-to-end.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's certainly a gimmick, and one with very limited value. If I want a table for 4 at 8, or a table for 2 at 8:30, the information provided isn't relevant. While it's possible that a phone call can yield a couple of data points that OpenTable can't (e.g, if the restaurant has held back some tables from OT, or if the restaurant isn't on OT at all), OpenTable yields several hundred data points that the phone call method can't -- plus the OpenTable search is built around actual needs (table for 3 at 9) rather than the table for 2 at 8. Not to mention, once the information is out there on Grub Street, how long will it remain viable? With OpenTable, if the reservation is there you can click on it and make it. The point being, if you spent 30 seconds on OpenTable you'd derive a whole heck of a lot more value than you'd derive from this Grub Street feature.

Maybe that analysis was overkill, but I have too much respect for Josh to accept that he'll be satisfied with this kind of gimmickry. If he's really interested in providing a useful last-minute-reservations feature, he should do something that adds value. With the power of New York Magazine behind the venture, let them approach restaurants and ask for exclusives on a few tables each week -- then post the availability, either with a code word or, even better, partner with OpenTable to make the process seamless end-to-end.

About that two for eight gimmick they have going, I was just thinking the same thing. Opentable would be so much easier.

Besides that, I'm liking it. It's varied and interesting enough for me to check up on it a few times a day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't take it as Mr. Cutlets trying to offer an informative service... what I took from it was that he's using that as a metric of how a restaurant is doing vs. their hype.

Also, way back when, as many times as i've been told to reserve Nobu a month in advance, I've been able to walk in perhaps on a slightly off day or time. The whole reservation line and secret # thing for the hot restaurants can be intimidating... so, I think it also makes some places more approachable for normal human beings

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like it. It's been pulling my attention to some new things that don't typically make the pages of NY Mag.

I like the breezy, insider-y but still accessible tone. It does a good job of walking the line between being too inside-baseball (as most blogs are, IMHO -- I hate blogs that refer to chefs by first names and assume you know who everyone is) and dumbing things down too much. He takes you inside the tent but still puts things in context.

I can't figure out how to get the RSS feed to work either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The blog does have one very annoying feature. If a post is more than a paragraph, you have to follow a link to get the rest of it. Often, there's only a few sentences more.

In most other blogs I've seen, the "after-the-jump" rule is used only for long posts. Otherwise, it's irritating to follow a link and find almost nothing there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...