So now I’m the guy known to the blogosphere as the Angry Little Man, thanks to the magnanimous chef Joe Dobias, a/k/a “JoeDoe.” My girlfriend suggested that we should pitch that title to the Food Network. Every week, viewers could tune in to see which restaurant I am going to pan next. If Guy Fieri can be a cable star, why can’t I?
It seems Joe has a habit of lashing out whenever even a slightly negative review appears. When Eater’s Amanda Kludt posted a mixed, but encouraging snapshot in the restaurant’s first week, Dobias banned the whole Eater staff from his restaurant. No wonder the place is empty at 8:00 p.m. on a Friday evening.
Yes, I know the East Village is a late-arriving crowd, but I don’t know of any half-decent place that is still empty at 8:00. Maybe Chef Joe ought to think about why that is, instead of lashing out at his customers.
I didn’t think JoeDoe was terrible. I thought it was promising, but a bit frustrating. It is possible I would have returned—that is, before Dobias opened his mouth. And if you read the comments on this and other blogs, apparently many other people have drawn the same conclusion. For a restaurant that clearly has not been a runaway hit, this isn’t the kind of publicity Dobias needed.
Many commenters have made a similar point: every time a chef sends a dish out of his kitchen, customers are going form an opinion, and they’re probably going to tell their friends. This blog is just a slightly more public way of doing that. My typical post does not have many readers. I don’t make or break restaurants.
Chef Dobias wonders why we finished our food and made no complaint while we were at the restaurant. Well, we finished our food because we were hungry. We did not think it was great food, but it was certainly edible. We did not complain because we seldom do. We saw no point in asking the Chef to prepare our food again.
No one is going to change Chef Dobias, as an interview at Grub Street makes clear:
At Cornell I was taught the customer is always right, but the customer is not always right.
We’ll leave it at that. Links below.
In Pity of Joe Dobias [Strictly Platonic]
Adventures in Public Relations: The Bellicose JoeDoe [Eater]
Chef Joe Doe Speaks Out About the New York Dining Circus [Grub Street]
Maddened Restaurant Owner Blasts Bloggers, Other “Angry Little Men” [The-Feedbag]
Adventures in Public Relations: JoeDoe Strikes Back! [Eater]