Doi Moi, the Asian street-food restaurant opening on Aug. 27, might be one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the summer. But if you want to try chef Haidar Karoum's food before everyone else, at a fundraiser-dinner on Aug. 25, you'll have to keep your phone in your pocket.
Those who make a minimum $100 donation to Brainfood for the Sunday night dinner might notice some fine print on the Eventbrite page for the event: "Doi Moi and Brainfood kindly ask that guests do not comment on the dinner or service experience on any public forum, including all social media outlets."
An analogy from a different creative field: In theater, critics never attend the first few performances -- that's when a show is considered to be "in preview," and when actors and directors can make changes, work out kinks and settle into the show. To my knowledge, those theaters do not prohibit audiences from tweeting or posting about them.
It's natural, but a bit unrealistic, for a restaurant to want to control the conversation in the important first week, and it aligns with the practice of some restaurants banning food photography, both to improve diners' manners and to make sure their food is presented in the best light.
While the service for the fundraiser won't be representative of what an average patron would experience at Doi Moi, the food will be -- it's a preview of selections from Karoum's menu. What do you think: Is it fair to ask paying customers to refrain from commenting on a $100-a-plate fundraiser? Or are the Yelpers and Instagrammers of the dining world too quick to judge?