As a food voyeur, critic and foodie, Ryan Sutton, is having trouble getting his jollies. And he took to Eater recently to lament the rise of curtained windows and hidden dining rooms.
Sutton points out that pricey West Village sushi joint, Nakazawa, had frosted over its window about a year ago, coinciding with its new a la carte lounge. While Sutton reminisced about being able to look in at all the fancy people chowing down in the Commerce Street spot, owner Alessandro Borgongnone said he wanted to offer guests “a bit more privacy.”
Controversial tactic or not, it is in good company. Most high-end sushi spot in New York have similar obstructions. Additionally six restaurants with three Michelin stars also prohibit a view inside their venues from the outside world, lending an air of exclusivity to patrons.
Sutton ponders why this is happening, offering some guesses like:
“Do the owners think people will gather outside the windows and brandish ‘River City Marching Band’ placards, like they do in front of the Today Show? Do blind vampire bats go splat against the glass in a bloody pulp prompting the guests inside scream in horror?”
While privacy isn’t necessarily a dirty word to the critic, he does take issue with, “kowtowing to the desires of a privileged minority — people who can afford to dine at expensive restaurants so they can avoid the wayward glances of those who can’t.”
While it’s par for the course for bigger, less luxe eateries to have more open windows, the influx of more tasting-menu and omakase spots is changing that.
Overall, in his missive, it appears Sutton is fine with the mantra, “Let them eat cake.” He just wants to be able to watch them do so. We wonder if fellow foodie and complainer Steve Cuozzo concurs?