#134: Frank and Pauly’s

14 May

Can I say something about Ohio without you immediately assuming I’m implying New York is so much better?

If you said no, click to post #133.

If you said yes, continue reading.

If you’re not sure, go to *******.

The thing about restaurants in NYC is that there are so many of them that if one is to survive, it’s going to automatically be up to a certain standard, or else no one would go there.  There are bad restaurants, to be sure, but “bad” could simply mean there are cockroaches in the kitchen–a kitchen that otherwise produces delicious food.  It could also mean the service is terrible, or there are cockroaches in your food, but if that’s the case, you can be fairly certain the restaurant will no longer be around next month.  Because people have so many dining options every night, there’s no excuse for a less than stellar experience.

In Ohio, you don’t have quite the same assurance–or expectation–that things will be decent.  Each time you try a new restaurant, there’s a very good chance the place could turn out to be horrible.  You could end up eating bland thai food, or the place could present your order on ceramic plates when you asked for take-out, or your waiter could be practically nonexistent (as was the case at Frank and Pauly’s).

But the thing about restaurants in Ohio is that, when things go wrong, you don’t necessarily declare, “I’m never coming back here again!”  You might, if you happen to get cockroaches in your food.  But typically, you’ll say something along the lines of, “Well, the service was awful, but maybe it was the guy’s first night as a waiter. Ever.”  Because in Ohio, people aren’t of the mindset that since there are so many alternatives, it’s a disgrace to waste a night out on any experience that isn’t amazing.  They’re willing to give things a chance.

I’m not making a judgment about which way is better.  I’m even only going to briefly mention how this mindset overflows into pretty much every aspect of life (for example: “I’m dating this terrific woman, but, well, I know there are so many other single women in this city that I could just find someone else who might be even more terrific,” or, in other words, the reason dating sucks in New York).  But I will say that having higher standards because the supply is greater doesn’t necessarily seem like a recipe for success to me.

If you’re trying to find a new favorite restaurant, narrowing your possibilities can help you focus on what is really important to you.  Is it the ambiance?  The free bread?  The prices?  In Ohio, you don’t have tons of competing restaurants clamoring for your business every night, so the hunt may not be as exciting, but when you find it, you’re more likely to know right away.

In New York, you may find the restaurant of your dreams…and then go around the block to check out that new place, just in case it serves better bread.

******* Why didn’t they have a choice in Choose Your Own Adventure books for people like us–people who hate making decisions?  Why didn’t they let us read what would happen if the characters couldn’t decide what their next action would be?  Because that would make for an excruciatingly boring story?  Yeah, maybe, but I guarantee after reading one book where everybody just walks around in indecisive circles all day, those conflicted readers would make a real choice next time.

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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Food/Drink, NYC


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