The recent discussion here about the service deficiencies at the restaurant at the Palomar reminds me why I don’t go out to eat much anymore. This used to be a terrific restaurant town, but in the past decade or so, seems to have fallen off significantly. No doubt many will take exception to this, but it seems as if there are only two kinds of restaurants left — expensive ones and all-you-can-eat buffets. In fact, many of these places just call themselves buffets now — the Chinese place at Greenville and Park Lane, for example — as if that’s the only thing that matters.

We eat at places now, I think, not so much because they’re good but because they’re famous or hip or chic or they got "a good review in the Guide!" I knew a guy who used to own a restaurant in town, and he said he could live for six months off the business a good review brought in.

My wine writing gets me into many of these chi-chi places for press events, and it always surprises me how underwhelming they are. Everyone is fawning over the meal, and though it’s nice, it’s still a piece of chicken in a cream sauce — hardly earth shattering. On the other hand, many people, on more than one occasion, have told me that I’m a snob about these things. Which means I probably wouldn’t appreciate Palomar anyway.

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