City Paper is not for tourists
Food porn has arguably gotten out of hand. There’s even a restaurant that provides its diners with photography kits—complete with an LED camera light and clip-on, wide-angle lens—designed to make its dishes and drinks look sumptuous on Instagram. Granted, that restaurant’s in London. But from what D.C. restaurant workers tell us, diners right here at home are just as obsessed with getting the perfect shot of their food. Here are just a few customer maneuvers they’ve witnessed:
If guests aren’t phone-ready when there is some kind of active element in the presentation of cocktails or food pairings at Columbia Room, they’ll often ask for do-overs, says mixologist JP Fetherston.
The Demo Demander
At ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar, customers constantly ask servers to demonstrate pouring from a cider bottle at great heights, especially if they’re lucky enough to get Diego Conde, who hails from Spain where high pours are traditional. He’ll show tables how to do it so they can serve themselves, but they’ll often ask him to do it two or three times so they can shoot a video or a Boomerang.
At Espita Mezcaleria, guests are putting their plates on the floor or on the entrance steps to capture the best background and lighting. General manager and partner Josh Phillips says he just laughs it off.
The Chef Brag
Kyirisan offers diners the opportunity to buy a round of shots or beers for the kitchen ($12 for beer, $24 for shots). The next request is typically to accompany the booze to the kitchen, where guests can pose and take a photo with the chefs. Guests often partake in the shots.
The beverage director at Ambar in Clarendon went to great lengths to make sure a diner got the perfect picture. First he cleared a booth where she’d have better light, then he gave her a jar full of fresh herbs so she could style her dishes and drinks just like she wanted.
The Drama Queen
Servers at Mastro’s Steakhouse are sometimes asked to maximize the smoke factor on the luxe seafood towers that arrive fogging from dry ice.
Smoking shellfish towers are also a thing at Ocean Prime. But there, staffers have seen patrons stand on their chairs to get the perfect overhead angle. This is not recommended, they add.