New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni is frustrated at the reservation process at Momofuku Ko, the impossible-to-get-into pork-injected haute-cuisine spin-off of David Chang's Momofuku empire in New York. The place has 12 seats and employs a web-based reservation system that requires you to log in at 10 a.m. for seats a week out.
It's egalitarian in theory, and I admire Chang and company for subjecting everyone—VIPs and schlubs alike—to the same miserable experience of signing on and viewing a series of little red Xs indicating you're hosed. Supposedly, the place does not play favorites. Still, as level as the playing field is, there've been complaints about logging on, seeing a green checkmark, clicking on it, but then being told that, No, someone else just nicked that spot.
In frustration, one of Bruni's readers contacted the place for an explanation, was schooled on "the way in which the internet works," and then gets into an exchange with the Ko-mputer dude. Comments on the exchange have pork-loving geeks speculating on ways that Web 2.0 tools could help improve the system. As it is, Bruni's crusading reader writes, "you may as well just have a total lottery system, where you email the server each day and it blurts out a few dozen names of people who have tables."