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Friends of Eater on Their Biggest Dining Grievances of 2014

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What didn't work, what was messed up, what is something you don't want to see again?

Elizabeth Daniels

Kat Odell, Eater Editorial Producer: I, sadly, broke up with Flores. And for obviously reasons The Hart and the Hunter, too.

Gary Baum, Senior Writer, The Hollywood Reporter: Every falsely cloaked "enlightened" dining trend that in actuality simply favors the restaurant, not the customer. This includes, most prominently, the proliferation of no-reservation and no-modification policies, the propagation of communal tables and the kitchen's ever-expanding prerogative to send out dishes "as they're ready," rather than coursed out, which in practice means you receive all of your food at once, racing to finish it before it turns cold.

Brigham Yen, Editor, Overpriced food in general when you can get so much better for less.

Nicole Iizuka, Producer, POPSUGAR: Overpriced small plates. Just done.

Esther Tseng, e*starLA: I noticed somehow an increase in servers touching diners during service. Is this a thing they've been teaching during training? I'm feeling a little creeped out. I try and be attentive as it is, so I feel it's unnecessary and a little bit disrespectful of boundaries.

Pat Saperstein, Founder of Over-explaining "how our menu works" and recommending lots of small plates for the table

Euno Lee, Editor-in-Chief, Daily Trojan; Eater LA Contributor: Can we please stop with suggesting that dishes are "large small plates?" How about you just call it a dish and give us some extra dishes in case we decide to share? Also: Octopus is good, but please don't make it the next pork belly.

Stacey Sun, dineLA Director: The small plates trend is getting out of control.

Garrett Snyder, LA Magazine Contributor: I know this is nit-picky, but why is it so hard for some restaurants to course out a meal? That kale caesar salad shouldn't inexplicably arrive as I'm halfway through my entrees.

Zach Brooks, Midtown Lunch and Food is the New Rock Founder: This notion that paying for restaurant reservations is a public service. It's an interesting business model, and a great way for restaurants to monetize popular dining times, but don't pretend like you're doing us diners a favor.

Jeff Miller, Thrillist LA Senior Editor: Fatty pork belly. I order pork belly expecting it to be edible, and I'd say half the time it's just a slab of fat. Ugh.

Crystal Coser, Eater LA Contributor: Complicated receipts.

Tony Chen, Eater LA Contributor: General cacophony

Joshua Lurie, Founder, FoodGPS: Can servers stop greeting me with Boss? Do I sign your checks? No, so it just comes across as derision. Feel free to pull Buddy and Chief from your repertoire as well.

Matthew Kang, Eater LA Editor: I'm sick of seeing the same dishes in every restaurant. Brussels sprouts. Deviled eggs. Avocado toast. Kale caesar salads. I feel like restaurants are dialing it in because every diner wants to order the same thing. People will order what you offer them. I want to know the next dish or set of dishes that's going to be the template for culinary creativity.

Oh, and anything being remotely overpriced. I get that every restaurant has a different set of variables for pricing their dishes and drinks out: rents, labor, products, decor, etc. But I think we get the point when a freaking salad costs $15 and contains 3 ounces of edible material. Restaurants are setting themselves up for failure if they think people will continue to pay more for basics when there are viable alternatives.

Finally, please stop trying to explain menus to me. If I look like a bridges-and-tunnels kind of person, feel free to tell me how to order food from a menu.

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