As others have pointed out already, there is a huge generational divide going on right now in the world of food.
We now have chefs and food that are praised as being near the top of culinary delights paired with locations that break barriers of what was previously considered fine dining.
Waiting on line, noise, no reservations, counter/ bar seating, small plates, aggressive music. And further…. Sharing food, going meatless, using your fingers, grazing, locavore. There is a blatant clash between the entitled “I want to celebrate my Anniversary” with “I want to experience the latest and greatest.”
As they say, food is the new rock n’ roll.
I am certainly of the previous generation… but I have to say not only can I adapt, but I can love it too. I’ve been doing this for years, but I recently went to a tiny spot that provided a further ‘Aha’ moment. It was hard to get into, and once inside I could see why. Only a few tables, mostly a bar, very dark, thumping music. Still, people were talking, standing (like in Spain!), eating late, and were truly enjoying themselves.
Then on the other hand there are other places where, if you want, you can still have hearty portions in a quiet surrounding and spend far less money. But those places are not romantic unless your heart races at the site of a beef milanesa a caballo served under fluorescent lighting. Plenty of empty tables there.
I can be excited by both. As an old school Chowhound, I don’t even have to go ‘downtown’ since my greatest thrills are typified by a crispy and greasy moghlai parota that is an entire meal for $5.
So what is the purpose of starting this thread? Relax. Embrace it. You can eat early or late to avoid the crowds. You don’t have to have a full meal. Most of you (though not all) can probably sit on a stool.
I don't like deafening, but yeah I can now take some competition unless I’m a party greater than four.