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Why 'We Have 5:30 or 9 Open' Doesn't Cut It

Leslie Brenner takes the LA restaurant scene to task for not giving her the reservation time she wants, specifically at Tanzore, One Sunset, West at Hotel Angeleno, Katsuya Brentwood, Water Grill and the Hungry Cat. The practice is common and, yes, often utterly ridiculous. There's nothing like taking a reservation the restaurant wants you to have vs. the one you want only to find yourself in an empty dining room later. But a restaurant has to guess how busy it will be every night, and staggering reservations is key. Brenner finds it all "baffling."

She talks to the restaurants' managers who basically say, "That shouldn't happen." But it does, and it's not surprising. Far too many hostesses are hired for looks and charm in this town---not for thinking on their feet---and manuevering around set guidelines doesn't come naturally. However, managers do train the staff and should take responsibility for mistakes instead of pass the buck, especially when the LAT food section editor comes a-knockin'. So Brenner goes to Thierry Perez for comment, and he doesn't mince words:

"Most managers don't care because they're only managers," says Thierry Perez, co-owner of Fraîche in Culver City, and a longtime front-of-the-house man. He chalks up the booking difficulty phenomenon to a citywide crisis in good restaurant management. "The big issue right now is that the managers in Los Angeles are, I'm sorry to say, not very good. They're just thinking about themselves. It's why most restaurants are closing after two years."
Bold. We don't know if Brenner has a hard time getting a reservation at Fraiche, but our guess is she gets her desired time every time. Why else would Perez get to attack comment on everyone else? He's not known to bend to every customer's whim, and he's often criticized for being outright rude. It's a double-edge sword. Can a restaurant really please everyone all the time? And who's at fault, restaurant management and staff or picky diners who complain about a 15-minute time difference for a reservation. Baffling, indeed.
· Table at 7? L.A. begs to differ [LAT]
· Not So Fraiche Feeling [Chowhound]
· Fraiche [Citysearch]

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