Not too long ago, Jeff and I ate at Bad Saint in Columbia Heights. We went with two friends – there aren’t any tables there that take more than four. Bad Saint is a Filipino small plates restaurant. It has great reviews, is very popular, and doesn’t take reservations. Lately, it seems like all the hottest restaurants in DC require a long wait in line.
To get into Bad Saint, you’ll probably need a few hours to stand in the line. We went on a Saturday, and arrived at around 3:30. The first seating is at 5:30, so yes, we waited for two full hours. We weren’t even the first people in line, more like the tenth. And the empty storefront we waited in front of had a dead rat in the window – not the most appetizing. However, we did manage to get one of their two four-person tables in the first seating.
The food at Bad Saint was really good, and overall we felt it was worth what it took to get there. I especially liked the Abodong Dilaw, a curry dish. There aren’t that many Filipino places in the DC area, and we were able to try a lot of dishes for right around $40 per person without drinks.
But overall, I’m not a fan of the waiting in line trend. I subverted it at hotspot Rose’s Luxury by nabbing one of their nearly impossible to get reservations for the roof garden (this was before they had several different reservation options, which they now do but are still no easier to grab). There, again, the food was excellent, but I haven’t yet been back because who has the time to wait in the line?
There’s also Little Serow, a tasting-menu-only Thai place in Dupont Circle which I would love to try, but haven’t felt like taking the time.
Many times, these restaurants will claim that having no reservations levels the playing field, that more people will be able to visit because they can’t be booked up months in advance. It sounds nice, but you’re basically punishing planners and rewarding those who have the luxury of time to wait for these places – or pay for someone to stand in line for them. Though, in fairness, they’re not cheap to start with, so now they are just also discriminating against the time-poor.
In general, it seems like the point of the lines is hype. If you walk past a restaurant and see a huge line, you want to go there. I definitely went to DO, the cookie dough dessert place in New York City, for the hype. I keep wanting to go to these places, too – so I guess it’s working.
Would you stand in line for hours for a super-popular restaurant?