This week, a significant amount of media attention was paid to the story about the couple that brought their baby to a high-end restaurant
after their sitter canceled . The restaurant, Alinea, is fish-heads-on-a-platter upscale dining and requires pre-purchasing tickets that cost $470 for two. If you ask me, that already sounds like it could be a recipe for “dining with assholes,” which might explain why the parents opted to bring along their baby rather than cancel the reservation and potentially forego the $470. When you’re spending close to $500 on food before figuring in alcohol, tax, and tip, you’re already a calibre of person who may or may not think the world is his oyster. Or fish head, or whatever. Speaking as someone who could, perhaps, be enticed by a $235 meal, I’m not suggesting that every single person who eats at a restaurant with Michelin stars is self-centered or insanely wealthy. But I am saying that restaurants of this nature anticipate a level of sophistication from patrons that some of today’s foodies may not possess.
It’s common sense that parents shouldn’t bring a baby to a Michelin-starred restaurant, particularly when the restaurant doesn’t offer a kids menu. It’s also common sense to take the baby outside if he gets upset. When the Alinea couple didn’t do that, and the chef took to Twitter, a debate ensued that didn’t even exist for parents of a previous generation. Back then, for example, signs like this weren’t commonly seen in sports bars:
Yeesh. Good-natured signs about giving unattended children free kittens and espresso are officially a thing of the past. We’ve entered the era where sports bars and fine dining restaurants like Alinea now need to spell out in stern terms for patrons, a few of whom they clearly detest, that their unsupervised or loud children are not welcome. This upsets the rest of the parent population, because exposing children to restaurants early on can be a good learning experience. Those parents get the stink eye when they take their kids out — even when their kids are being good, even when it’s 5:30pm and they’re at a family friendly restaurant — and think it’s unfair to hate on all children in all restaurants or relegate kids to fast food chains.