Food Media Corruption: Grubstreet

September 2nd, 2010 by abbe diaz

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"What’s the deal with New York Magazine / GrubStreet’s "Two for Eight"? Is it all just bullshit or what?"

TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 2009. 11:18AM

okay so
this is the THIRD time i’ve caught a discrepancy in their uhhh "reporting."

as you may or may not recall, i previously posted about the other two times in the [private, password-protected, soon-to-be-defunct] "members’ only forum"–

specifically, i said this:

May 29, 2009, 11:18 AM

… last night was dinner at CentroVinoteca. and the place was slammed.

and that made me think "huh." cuz the day before, i had called the restaurant to try and make a reservation for friends of mine (who had tried themselves, but couldn’t get a table). and even though the hostess was very sweet saying they could accommodate me, i could tell it was going to be a bit of a nightmare for them so i told them never mind. and then i made arrangements with my friend to dine together with them another time instead, and so that made everybody happy and satisfied.

lo and behold i look yesterday morning and i see on grubstreet: "Tables Available at Centro Vinoteca" for two at 8pm.

and i was all: — but then i brushed it off thinking i guess it’s possssible (?) they had a cancellation? but didn’t call me? hmm. okay.

and so last night i mentioned this to one of the managers in charge of the reservationists. and he personally told me: "it’s IMPOSSIBLE. there was no way grubstreet was offered an 8pm table at 4pm. WE WERE BOOKED."

i also happpen to know there was also another time grubstreet had the same "Centro… Tables Available…" title but when you clicked on the link, it stated there was in fact "no" table available.
but when i pointed the discrepancy out in the comments section, they merely crossed out their previous entry and changed it to suit their title.

now

yesterday i happen to look and AGAIN i see: "Tables Available at Centro Vinoteca and Trestle on Tenth; Allen & Delancey Mostly Booked"

and i think to myself: "really? REALLY?! if Allen&Delancey is AGAIN ‘mostly booked’ with a ‘nearest availability at 6:45pm’ on a MONDAY night with RAIN in the forecast, then that is pretty incredible. as a matter of fact, it’s so incredible, i would like to see this for myself. obviously they are doing something right, and perhaps i should go and see it with my own eyes and then i can LEARN something about what they are doing so right."

mmhmp. yah– oh i learned something all right.

 

– firstly i phoned Allen&Delancey myself at 6pm. and SOMEHOW i managed to score a reservation for two at a time much MUCH closer to an 8PM time slot than the reported "earliest availability" at "6:45." i was even told "it would be a pleasure" to accommodate me (twice even). and in case you were wondering whether it was my totally awesome PXness that got me the table— no. sorry. i booked it under a pseudonym.

– i (and my guest) then arrived at Allen&Delancey a tad early– at 7pm.
there was ONE couple at the bar and two deuces in the dining room.

– i promptly phoned CentroVinoteca and inquired "heyyyy… just curious… how many people are at your bar right now (at 7PM)…?"
i was told: "18 people at the bar. and 4 deuces in the dining room."

– so then i asked: "and are you booked at 8pm by any chance?"
the answer: why yes! they are! (imagine that!) but they have an availability later in the evening if i’d like, but sorrrrry– not quite at 8pm.

hmm. really. well that’s interesting.

by the time 8:05pm rolled around, Allen&Delancey had seated one 8-top, and two more deuces. plus one other couple at the bar (totaling 6 covers in the front bar area, and 16 in the dining room).
does that sound like "mostly booked" to you?
(by the way– A&D, much like Centro, has approximately 12 seats at the bar and about 70 seats in the dining room.)

 

ya know
it’s no secret i have disagreed with Eater many times in the past. but AT LEAST their resy-whateverthefuck thing they run (which grubstreet, arguably, did bite off Eater) has the number of ring-a-dings, and the exact response given, and sometimes even the name of the person who answered the phone and whatnot.
i must admit– it DOES add a bit of plausibility (not to mention entertainment value) to the whole sordid exercise.

 

which brings me to my point:

– what IS the point, do you think, of this whole "two for eight" bit, hmm?

i mean– OSTENSIBLY, they are trying to do the restaurants and patrons some kind of favor or something, yes?

but, having inquired over and over again– it seems there is, in fact, no value in this for the restaurant OR patrons, as CentroVinoteca (for example– look ! "all grub street posts tagged ‘Centro Vinoteca + two for eight’ **— all 50 times — a good 2 to 3 times MORE than any other restaurant on that list!) has confirmed that NEVER since its inception has ANY customer EVER expressed their last-minute reservation and/or arrival was due to the awesome efficiency and convenience of grubstreet’s "Two for Eight."
[in contrast however, "Top Chef" is invoked innumerable times, as are leah-cohen‘s recent appearances on the cover of the NY Times City section and CBS’s weekend Morning Show.]

 

yah so— incidentally, my dining companion while all this was happening last night, just happens to be a restaurateur.

his take on the matter (?):

"i don’t get it. what’s the point of this? it doesn’t make me happy to hear other restaurants aren’t doing so well."

mmhmmm. well

maybe it doesn’t make HIM happy

but i guess it makes SOMEONE happy.

doesn’t it?

at the very least, as an avid and devoted reader (and fan!) of grubstreet, i would kinda looove to hear them explain what’s going on here.

but hey, maybe that’s just me.

 

** UPDATE: Well, lookee here— the hyperlink provided no longer allows viewers to see how many times a particular restaurant has been featured in Grubstreet’s "Two for Eight." Imagine that! Good thing we’ve got a screen capture!

Click to enlarge —>

 

*********************************************************

 

 

pxthis.com archives

This is an abbreviated version of Abbe Diaz’s diary/blog entry on June 9, 2009, for archival purposes only. A far more detailed, thorough, and incisive account is to be included in Diaz’s upcoming second book, PX This Too (The Sequel to PX This) – Coming in the Autumn of 2010

 

* "…The intellectual community, as usual, showed itself to be timid and divided, and even the most unexpected graphologists engaged in controversies regarding their inconsistent analyses of my handwriting. It was they who divided opinions, overheated the polemic, and made nostalgia popular…. Make no mistake: peaceful madmen are ahead of the future." – Gabriel García Márquez

 

 

NOTE: Unless otherwise dated, the comments listed below reflect the discussion that occurred in the Forum @ PX This subsequently, at the time of the original entry. They have been re-created here. If you require an un-edited copy of the original discussion, please e-mail px.this@gmail.com

 

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14 Responses to “Food Media Corruption: Grubstreet”

  1. john.smith Says:

    Jun 9 2009, 02:03 PM

    do they use their old buddies as freelancers????????????? bc that might explain it………………

    http://www.pxthis.com/2010/06/newsflash-josh-ozersky-is-unethical-andor-dumb/

  2. Inkslinger Says:

    Jun 9 2009, 02:30 PM

    Well, we did send them a link to this post, but so far there’s no answer, and there’s nothing on Grub St. or Eater about it. [rolleyes]

  3. MILFweed Says:

    Jun 9 2009, 03:05 PM

    Stay classy ‘Food Media’.

  4. Trollai Llama Says:

    Jun 10 2009, 10:59 AM

    Are they kidding?
    http://nymag.com/daily/food/2009/06/tables_available_at_river_cafe.html

    QUOTE
    O rly, Grub St.?
    So, you’re not going to bother addressing the fact that we, workers of the restaurant industry, essentially busted you making all these so-called reservation responses up?

    You’re just going to keep running this obnoxious “game”, and just not explain why you made up lies and presented them as fact? Or, are you going to blame the workers of the restaurants? As in, if it wasn’t you that lied to the readers, then it must have been the reservationists that lied to you, is that right?

    Wow, that’s pretty ballsy.
    BY TROLLAI_LLAMA on 06/10/2009 at 9:46am

    QUOTE
    O wait, did I say “ballsy”? I meant “disdainful”.
    BY TROLLAI_LLAMA on 06/10/2009 at 9:47am

  5. abbe Says:

    Jun 10 2009, 11:05 AM

    oooooooh. you put an URL in the comment!

    they don’t get down with that.

    i hope they don’t use that as some kind of excuse to delete your comment or ban you or something.

    :(

  6. Dishwasher Says:

    Jun 10 2009, 12:06 PM

    “do they use their old buddies as freelancers????????????? bc that might explain it………………”

    Isn’t Ben Leventhal at Grub now?? Herad a while ago that he told Pat Lafrieda Jr. that he doesn’t like Centro. He’s a troublemaker.

    Also Josh could still be close to [former Centro Vinoteca chef] Chef Burrell, heard that he used to send texts to her alot, woud even ask advice about his love life, but I always thought that he just had a crush on her, that was his way of seeing if she’s interested. lol
    ;)

  7. Inkslinger Says:

    Jun 10 2009, 12:34 PM

    Tables Available at River Café, Scarpetta; Bobo Mostly Booked
    http://nymag.com/daily/food/2009/06/tables…river_cafe.html

    Well, that might explain it. Notice that today’s 2 for 8 mentions how busy Bobo is. We know that Leventhal is friends with Bobo’s Carlos Suarez, because Abbester saw them hanging out together at the Daily Candy awards.

    NY Mag also doesn’t usually run the 2 for 8 that often, but today they did it 2 days in a row. [rolleyes, LOL]

  8. Captain Kangaroo Says:

    Jun 10 2009, 02:42 PM

    They don’t have an explanation? That’s so petty of them. It’s bad enough if the rest’s have pissing matches with each other, but the fact that it’s NY Mag that’s making up the pissing matches between them is terrible. It’s a stupid column to begin with, but to make up lies to kiss ass to the rest’s they like and fuck with the ones they don’t is seriously petty. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. These are supposed to be journalists, but they just act like spoiled brats.

  9. Dick Johnson Says:

    QUOTE (Inkslinger @ Jun 10 2009, 12:34 PM)
    “NY Mag also doesn’t usually run the 2 for 8 that often, but today they did it 2 days in a row.”

    If they run it more often now, but with different restaurants, they’ll be able to balance out the escalated frequency of how many times they purposely did it for CV. So that eventually, alot of the other places will also show that it was done to them 50 times and CV won’t stand out so much, and it won’t be so obvious how much they were fucking with it (just because Abbe is with the owner of CV).

    I would bet that it was either Ben Leventool or Josh Ojerksky that ran those. If it wasn’t, how come NY Mag didn’t offer up any explanation?

  10. virgo Says:

    Jun 10 2009, 04:18 PM

    oh please, like it’s so surprising? haven’t most of these stupid food writers proven themselves to be fucking assholes since this forum even first started? have they ever been honest? and you expect them to start now? they are not journalists and never have been and never will. they’re all just sleazy shitheads that write good things about the people and places that kiss their asses and give them free food, which they need because they don’t make alot of $$ for doing their crap jobs. thank god most of them have gotten fired. i hope they all get fired soon, and then when they have to swallow humble pie and wait tables for a living, we should just shit all over them. let’s see how they like it.

  11. Inkslinger Says:

    Jun 11 2009, 05:48 PM

    I don’t like to wish bad things on other people, but the fact that they don’t even have the guts to explain and they keep doing it is really starting to tick me off! I am going to start telling everyone I know that reads it about this. They are sooo shady!

  12. Trollai Llama Says:

    Jun 12 2009, 10:38 AM

    http://nymag.com/daily/food/2009/06/tables_available_at_country_pr.html

    QUOTE
    Hey, alot of us that work in the restaurant industry are dying to know – does former Eater editor Ben Leventhal run this stupid “game”, by any chance? Because that would explain alot of things.

    Wait, on second thought, that also would make alot of things less clear. Like, for example, how come Eater takes such delight “exposing” restaurant “shills”, claiming that it’s dishonest and shameless lying, but when Grub St. lies and makes up the so-called responses in “2 4 8″ just to pump up the image of the Chosen Ones and smear the images of others, that’s OK?

    Could you explain? That would be great, thanks.
    BY TROLLAI_LLAMA on 06/12/2009 at 9:14am

    “As always, we make the calls but don’t guarantee the results.”

    Shouldn’t that read, “As always, we make the calls but don’t guarantee the results…. because, actually, we don’t even make the calls. We just pull the “results” out of our asses, so we can hype up our Chosen restaurants and humiliate the others. And even if we get stone cold busted lying*, we don’t care. We’re still going to keep doing it day after day. So that’s the real reason why we don’t guarantee the results.”

    *Google “pxthis two for eight” for more info!
    BY TROLLAI_LLAMA on 06/12/2009 at 9:23am

  13. BX Says:

    Jun 13 2009, 03:38 PM

    Who cares? No on reads it anyway so what difference does it make?/

  14. Trollai Llama Says:

    Mar 27 2010, 04:24 PM

    Allen and Delancey is closed.
    http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2010/03/allen_delancey_finally_closes.html

    Let that be a lesson these media assholes that even if they show favoritism and bias toward some restos, that is not going to help the place’s bottom line, because the public isn’t stupid enough to buy into their bullshit.

    But nice try anyway, scumbags. Not.

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