Former Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni—currently promoting the paperback of his memoir, Born Round—spoke to the Chicago Tribune about dining out as a civilian:
Shortly after I stopped being a critic, I called Bar Boulud, and like most people making reservations, I say, “Hi, can you do anything for five people at 7:30?” And they said, “No, we could do it at 6 or maybe 9,” and I said we’d make 9 o’clock work. And they said, “OK, name please.” I give the name, and she pauses, and goes, “Oh, 7:30’s fine.”
To avoid that, I very often go through Open Table. They still see the name, but it avoids that moment when they try to give me something they wouldn’t give somebody else. I don’t want that to happen.
Sometimes Frank Bruni just wants to feel ordinary. Surely this is not too much to ask.