DFW.com's Christopher Kelly makes the point (among others) that The Cedars Social is wasting the hard work of authors for the sake of looking cool in his commentary (not really) entitled "Just Stop It With The Pretense, Cedars Social, And Bring Me My Damn Check. And By The Way, My Meal Was Too Expensive To Still Feel Hunger Pangs With This Anger."
Kelly's experience didn't start off well: Treated like "ragamuffins who had wandered into the Prada store on Rodeo Drive," his table had an aggressive server and the bar didn't prepare a Tanqueray martini. But Kelly and company hung in -- they played by cools' rules. Until the check arrived in an Anita Shreve hardback.
Now, you may assume it was the choice of Shreve's Sea Glass that set him off, but it wasn't. It's the growing trend of cutesy vessels used to deliver the bad news at the end of the meal. And, moreso, the fact that along with the unlikelihood that the book would ever be read again, using literary material in this way is just feeding into Dallas' low rank on the list of literate cities, by presenting books as resto decor instead of valued works.
Walking into the Cedars Social, which has a section of its cocktail lounge decorated like a library, with long shelves stocked with neatly arranged volumes, you might think this is a place that actually reveres the printed word. Hey, maybe the entire venue is designed as some sort of scheme to get people to read. In fact, while I was waiting for the waitress to return -- and trying to figure out where I was supposed to place my credit card -- I actually read the first page of Shreve's novel. It was more satisfying than any of the food and drink I had just consumed.But Kelly notes the restaurant's books are obviously untouched and the ones that are used for check delivery are "plopped on the table with the same indifference you'd treat, well, a billfold. You get the sense that no one here cares about books, or that a single volume can contain a writer's very being..."
It's an interesting observation. Neighborhood Services Tavern and other restaurants (often nostalgia and cocktail driven, it seems) have used the book check delivery system as well, and we wonder if it might prove more upsetting to Kelly that in such places, customers often scribble on the pages. Then again, during one visit to NST, we were told by a server that customers often comment on how happy they are to see and hold an old hardback. So there's that small comfort.
Though, we do have to point out that in the days where phone stacking has become a necessity, encouraging diners to delve into a novel at dinner might be both the best (for Dallas and writers) and the worst (for dining companions and restaurant turnover) idea ever.
· Commentary: Throwing the Book at the Cedars Social [DFW.com]
· All Cedars Social Coverage on Eater Dallas [-EDFW-]
The Cedars Social's library nook. [Photo: The Cedars Social/Facebook]