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Industry Experts on LA’s Biggest Dining Grievances of 2017

Friends of Eater talk about the biggest issues they had with the local restaurant world

101 Noodle Express
Beef rolls at 101 Noodle Express
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Caroline Pardilla, Eater LA contributor, Caroline on Crack

When restaurants hire cocktail consultants just for their opening only to give up on the program months later.

Jeff Miller, Founding editor, Thrillist LA

Too many "new American" restaurants that are not doing anything interesting but are hyped as if they are.

Pat Saperstein, Variety and Eating LA

It has become nearly impossible for two people to spend under $100 on a meal at a table service restaurant.

Zach Brooks, Midtown Lunch LA

That the 101 Noodle Express in the Fox Hills Mall stopped serving beef rolls. This is why we can't have nice things, westside.

Andy Wang, Contributor, Food & Wine

Counter-service restaurants where it takes longer to get your food than restaurants with waiters.

Hadley Tomicki, UrbanDaddy

Tasting menus for the 1%. AKA, I’m jealous I can’t go to Vespertine.

Esther Tseng, Estar LA

This isn't so much a grievance as a self-centered complaint, but I have never had so hard a time keeping up with the restaurants around the city as I have this year. There are just so many openings that it's hard to grasp what exactly is going on. Conversely, as can be expected, there are a lot of closings as well. The real grievance on this end is old school places with a sense of history closing.

Garrett Snyder, Food Editor, Los Angeles Magazine

Not a great year for the middle space between high-end and casual dining

Katherine Spiers, Host of Smart Mouth podcast

Service. I wish servers were paid like they are in Europe, and were allowed to act like their European counterparts.

Joshua Lurie, FoodGPS, Eater LA contributor

L.A.'s restaurant industry is facing some major challenges, including a labor shortage, rising wages, and toxic work environments, but I'm going to focus on a smaller issue that still stacks up. Many restaurants automatically serve plastic straws, which in most cases are totally unnecessary unless you're a child, or Hoovering boba. Even then, most of these straws end up in landfills at best, and in oceans at worst, where they choke sea creatures. Restaurants should start by only handing out straws if somebody asks for one, and probably shouldn't use them at all. If restaurants still insist on using straws, please let them be paper.

Nicole Iizuka, Writer, Brit + Co.; Filmmaker, Tastemade

Doing it for the gram. I know it's a very contradictory thing for me to say having upset a very large portion of the community by introducing the idea of the wine and cheese shot glass as well as unleashing every iteration of Oreo creation — but is it too much to ask that my rainbow throw-up concoction I'm spending $14 also actually TASTE good too? I'm all for chefs who know how to create stunningly beautiful dishes that also taste as good as they look — but the constant barrage of disgusting foods that continue to be made, photographed, and dumped is just infuriatingly depressing.

I want to eat the rainbow. And taste it too!

Gary Baum, Senior writer, The Hollywood Reporter

The persistence of the communal table. It needs to end.

Euno Lee, Eater LA contributor

The death of food criticism in LA. With Gold assuming a more congenial curator's role at the big rag, I'm going to miss the zealous candor of Besha Rodell, and the visually rich details of Patric Kuh. The city lost a couple real ones this year.

Farley Elliott, Senior Editor, Eater LA

Tables too close together. Restaurants are already loud, boisterous affairs, we shouldn't have to be putting our elbows in someone else's salad course. Places like Felix, Cosa Buona, and Rosaline are fantastic, but have more than a few less-than-desirable seats. Also: Beware any restaurant whose stock bar photo shows stools sitting right next to each other, with no space in between.

Crystal Coser, Associate Editor, Eater LA

The price of dining out is getting a little absurd. With massive increases to rent, labor, and food costs, I understand why restaurants need to charge what they do to get by, but as a consumer, spending upwards of $150 for two people to enjoy a two-course meal with wine is a little disheartening. Hence the meteoric rise of the fast-casual sector.

Matthew Kang, Editor, Eater LA

I’m really annoyed with automatic service charges at restaurants that provide anything less than stellar service. I completely understand the legal implications for this, and it’s not like most diners are going to tip less than 18-20% anyway, but I think any restaurant who slaps that on the bill should be going above and beyond in the service department. Can we all just do tip/tax inclusive pricing and get used to it? I experienced this at Union Square Cafe in NYC and loved it, and Journeymen is trying to start the trend here in LA.

And for the love all that is good, no more stunt food. No more food coloring. No more floating noodles and coconut bowls (that you can’t eat) and pineapple shells that cost $3 extra because it looks cooler on Instagram. No more sushi donuts and pho burritos and black soft serve.

Year in Eater

101 Noodle Express

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