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Friends of Eater Reveal Their Biggest Dining Grievance of 2014

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"No reservations" is a problem.

Some folks are over restaurants without vowels.
Some folks are over restaurants without vowels.

As per tradition, we've asked a group of journalists, bloggers and friends of Eater to weigh in on the year in food. Here's what they've said so far. Up next, diners share their biggest grievance of the year.

Michael Birchenall, editor of Food Service Monthly: Farm-to-Table ... just do it, don't claim culinary sainthood for serving good local food. Let's hear it for the farmers and let's not screw it up before the food gets to the "table." I like Spike Gjerde's Woodberry Kitchen approach ... it's not a concept, but it's what you believe and the way you live.

Svetlana Legetic, Brightest Young Things founder: Just take some reservations, people. I now exclusively eat our Monday-Wednesday and show up for any food on Thursdays and Fridays at 5pm because I don't want to wait HOURS after I have already declared myself "starving".

Nevin Martell, freelance food writer: Out of town chefs and restaurateurs dumping concepts into the area without much thought or grace. There were notable exceptions -- like Tico and Osteria Morini, which opened at the tail end of last year -- but many of the interloping eateries simply feel like witless cash grabs. STK, La Tagliatella and Plan B Burger Bar, I'm talking to you.

Holley Simmons, Washington Post Express Dining Editor: I still think there's some work to be done in terms of putting an emphasis on fresh vegetables. This felt like a particularly meaty year (foie gras on everything, marrow everywhere, a handful of new steakhouses) and often times the vegetables felt like an afterthought.

And just for the record, I'd like to add that I'm a big fan of artisinal toast. There, I said it.

Jeff Dufour, editor of UrbanDaddy: No reservations.

Tom Sietsema, Washington Post food critic: Waiters who hold customers hostage while they explain their employer's concept, closely followed by servers who ask, "Is everything delicious?"

Alicia Mazzara, DCist dining editor: The death of reservations and the rise of multi-hour waits. I understand that no-shows are a problem, but I'd appreciate the possibility of at least making _some_ tables bookable. I'd also happily accept a world where I consistently need to put down a credit card to guarantee my table. Otherwise certain restaurants are completely off limits if 1) you have somewhere to be later that night (a concert, a show, etc.); 2) if you're with elderly parents or friends with children; 3) or if you just happen to be unwilling to fritter away half your evening waiting around at the bar getting drunk on an empty stomach. Suddenly going out to eat at places like Rose's or Little Serow become a sort of sport, with people camping out before the place even opens. Don't get me wrong, I've been this person. But I also see why this kind of behavior also makes a lot of people sneer at young folks with too much time and disposable income. This is not to say I think there should be no waits at restaurants. But I'd appreciate having the option of being able to make firm plans in advance, particularly for special occasions.

Stefanie Gans, food critic for Northern Virginia Magazine: Not that this is unique to 2014, but I'm noticing it more: shitty service when not ordering drinks at dinner. When dining in the suburbs, it's almost guaranteed that you'll be driving home (and for me, I can't be tipsy while concentrating on my meal) and so often times I order food without booze. The server's face morphs into a "Fuck I just lost a good tip" and the rest of the night, my table becomes second class. We get checked on less, food is dropped without proper explanations, etc. This was especially a problem on my last visit to 2941.

Maura Judkis, Going Out Guide: A huge eyeroll to restaurants that try to prohibit photography.

Rina Rapuano, Zagat DC: The fact that all restaurant names are starting to sound the same, particularly with the letter jumbles (STK/GCDC/GRK), historic figures (The Sheppard/Boss Shepherd's/McClellan's Retreat) and generic names (True Food/Native Foods/DC Harvest/Meats & Foods). Booooring.

Carole Sugarman, food critic for Bethesda Magazine: Restaurant food that's not better than I cook at home.

David Nellis, "Foodie & the Beast": Over-promised and under-delivered dishes from chefs who should know better.

Rebecca Cooper, hospitality reporter for The Washington Business Journal: My plate being cleared before my dining partner (or partners) are finished. It's old school to expect them to wait to clear, I know, but I wish they would. As a fast eater, I'm constantly being made to feel like I'm rushing my dining companions.

Michael Martinez, producer, The Kojo Nnamdi Show: The "Ian MacKaye" burger. I'm all for celebrating our local culture here - I grew up in the District. But honestly, c'mon.  

Kate Gibbs, Destination DC: Tables are still too close together in fine restaurants, for the price. For all the design and menu savvy of DC's upstarts (I'm looking at you Paul Rupert and Mike Isabella), look to the lions like Paul Cohn and Ashok Bajaj to map a room for generous service and serious privacy

Laura Hayes, Thrillist and Dining Bisnow: A hostess at Tico who greeted me with "I had my finger on the no show button," when I arrived 10 minutes late for a reservation during a flash flood.

Jessica Sidman, food editor, Washington City Paper: When will people stop opening steakhouses already?

Tim Carman, Washington Post food writer and The $20 Diner columnist: Many Washingtonians still spend all their time and money at trendy dining spots, ignoring the wealth of international eats in our suburbs.

Eun Yang, NBC4: Not enough good sushi in my life.

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