Kicked Out of “Sacred Space”

E. coli lettuce? Whatever. The most shocking food story of the week came to light in the New York Times blog Diner's Journal in a post by Rob Lieber titled "Why I Got Kicked Out of a Restaurant on Saturday Night."

Apparently, Lieber was eating at restaurant Marc Forgione in TriBeCa and became super annoyed when Chef Forgione started screaming at one of the staff members in the kitchen. Lieber says that the "loud, sustained, top-of-lungs yelling" was plainly visible (and audible) to the dining room. After several minutes of it, Lieber says he walked into the kitchen and told the chef to knock it off. Forgione proceeded to kick Lieber out.

But maybe he deserved it? A same-day story on Grub Street ran a fiery response from Forgione. He was angry in the first place because some appetizers had come out before an amuse-bouche. But he seemed solid in the belief that Lieber was the one who ultimately looked like a hothead: “I was kind of excited to find out that he wrote for the New York Times,” Forgione says, “because I wanted people to know about the way this guy acted.” Lieber had crossed the line by entering "sacred space" (that is, the kitchen), says Forgione, and dissing him in front of his employees.

Francis Lam made an excellent point over on Salon.com that Lieber took things too far when he actually sat back down after chiding Forgione. "Lieber sent a message of both indignation and entitlement," writes Lam. "He was, essentially, telling the chef, 'I just humiliated you, and you still have to cook for me.'" And at that point, Lieber "became the bully, and, from that view, who can blame Forgione for asking him to leave?"

I'm with Lam on this one. The more I think about it, it just sounds weird, and I wonder if maybe Lieber had a good buzz on when he did it. The appropriate thing would have been to complain to your server or the manager, then leave. I mean, seriously: If the couple next to you in the hotel is having loud sex and keeping you from sleeping, do you try to storm into their room and let them know? Or do you call the front desk and request another room?

Image courtesy of the New York Times

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