An Example Of How Instagram & Social Media Is Negatively Affecting Restaurants And Customers
Look at the pictures on this blog post.
A thick piece of meat covered in a perfectly-colored crust that is smothered with gravy just begging you to soak up every drop of it. You almost don’t know whether to tear into it or stop and admire it.
The pictures are of a country fried steak at a somewhat upscale restaurant in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. The price is $15.99 and it is one of the menu items at the restaurant’s weekend brunch.
Looks tantalizing, doesn’t it? If you were to see posted it on Instagram or some other social media site, you would be tempted to bolt to the airport and then sprint to the restaurant.
But here’s what’s wrong with it: it has no taste.
By looking at it, that seems impossible. In fact, it took me three bites to realize it myself because my eyes were telling my brain that something which looks that good must also taste that good. But the steak had no seasoning, the crust had no flavor and the “gravy” was really some kind of a sauce with a very slight taste that did not resemble anything approaching actual gravy.
What began as a “wow, I can’t wait to tear into this” moment became a thud of disappointment.
You see, the problem is that too many chefs these days are so into the presentation, they are creating foods with no flavor. I recently had a chef at a 5-star restaurant tell me just that (he refuses to fall into that trap by the way) because of the pressures created by social media.
“The presentation is more important than the taste,” he told PubClub.com. “In fact, in many ways the taste doesn’t matter. And our food is fantastic! It’s all about people (the customers) getting that perfect picture and then putting it up on Instagram or Yelp. And if it does not look prefect, we’ll hear about it.”
You can read the full story here.
That certainly seemed to be the case with this dish.
Of course, I should have known better than to order something such country fried steak in an upscale restaurant in the first place. I went against my own eating-out rules – another one is to never eat seafood when you can’t see the ocean, by the way – and paid the tasteless price.
Comfort food is best experienced in dives and places that have been around for decades. In bars and restaurants with old grills that have cooks rather than gourmet chefs who don’t care what a picture of what they put on a plate looks like on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
In the flavor vs. visual aspect of food, social media wins. But, unfortunately, often the customer loses.