Just so everyone understands the ground rules of commenting on Dining@Large, I'm going to state them here, as I did last Jan. 1 -- so we can start off the year on the right foot.
1) You don't have to use your real name or any name. You don't have to put in an e-mail, although there are certain advantages for you if you do.
2) I can't "publish" comments that might get me and/or you sued. If you are served a well-done steak at a restaurant when you ordered rare and want to talk about it, that's one thing. Saying that a place has rats unless the health department has reported it is another, even if I know you're probably right. If you've left a valid e-mail, I will tell you why I couldn't publish your comment.
3) I'm assuming that faithful readers have two things in common, no matter what their differences: They love good food, and their Holy Grail is the perfect restaurant experience. That seems to me a good enough basis for a certain degree of civility when you're responding to other posts. In fact, please bend over backwards to be polite unless you know your comment won't be misinterpreted. I also hope people will try to not be too thin-skinned and realize that not every disagreement is a personal attack.
4) Posts that make me queasy are off-limits. To paraphrase Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop, my stomach is my life. Also I don't like juvenile bathroom humor. And, of course, profanity etc. etc.
5) I'm fair game, but not other reviewers, or really hateful comments about anyone else. See Rule No. 3. And frankly, if I'm having a bad day, really hateful comments about me aren't going to get published either.
6) I hope regulars will continue to encourage new people to participate by acknowledging their comments in some way, and will be extra-gentle when responding to first-timers. Commenting for the first -- or second or third -- time can be scary for everyone but Bucky. As I said to someone once, getting folks to comment is like trying to coax shy little kittens out from under the sofa. It's nice to have new voices in the discussion.
Thanks for reading -- and commenting,