I'm pro-baby. Have one of my own, in fact. And, at some point, would love more. They're great! But just because I heart infants; think moms should be able to nurse wherever they damn well please; and find it insane for people to get pissed at parents for bringing their little ones on airplanes, I still don't think a Michelin star restaurant is an appropriate place for an 8-month-old. Especially one who won't stop crying.
Chef Grant Achatz of the $265-per-head restaurant Alinea was forced to field complaints from diners Saturday night in regards to the fact that there was a crying infant at the restaurant. Patrons, understandably, felt that the baby was ruining the experience and ambience of the three-star restaurant. Achatz took to Twitter to poll the masses on the subject.
Tbl brings 8mo.Old. It cries. Diners mad. Tell ppl no kids? Subject diners 2crying? Ppl take infants 2 plays? Concerts? Hate saying no,but..— Grant Achatz (@Gachatz) January 12, 2014
As you may guess, most of the responses Achatz got were anti-baby-in-fancy-restaurants. "Charge the infant for a full menu. That will stop it quickly," one Twitter user wrote. Another said, "You choose to have a child (it's not mandatory or forced on anyone), then ya give up some other things. Like dinner at Next." And yet another one said: "I love kids. But I don't bring my bottle of whiskey to Chuck E. Cheese; please don't bring your infant to Alinea."
I'm a believer in the just-because-you-have-a-child-doesn't-mean-your-life-has-to-end theory. My husband and I have traveled with our daughter; taken her out to (casual) dinners; even brought her to a bar for an early-evening beer when she was first born (we lived in Brooklyn; she was one of many babies at the bar). But, sorry, a $300 a pop restaurant is no place for a child that age. Not only are people spending a lot of money to have a special, adult night, but there's no need for a baby to be at a place like that. It isn't mandatory. You can't always avoid getting on a plane (funerals, anyone?), but you don't have to go to a Michelin star restaurant. I'm sure these parents are perfectly nice people, but ... they should have either gotten a sitter or just stayed home. Like I said, your life doesn't have to end once you become a parent, but it also doesn't stay exactly the same.
Even though I'm a parent, I'd be fairly irritated if my husband and I were spending $600 for a special night out and there was a crying baby -- like the one we have at home -- at the table next to us. My heart always breaks for the moms and dads who are trying to soothe their sobbing infants in public. But it'd be pretty hard to feel bad for a parent trying to soothe their infant while eating foie gras and drinking Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Do you think a Michelin star restaurant is the place for an 8-month-old?
Image via Mike Kemp/Rubberball/Corbis