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The Din of Fine Dining

At fancy restaurants, the only thing I dislike more than the dime-sized portions of sea urchins and yak intestines is the noise. This article, which is filled with references to restaurants and dishes I have never heard of, attributes “the great noise boom” to the export of the kitchen environment to the dining area and to the recession, which forced restaurants to cram more diners into smaller spaces.

My friend Larry, who, like me, can’t stand these restaurants, thinks it is “done to give the place an air of excitement, to encourage a certain kind of intimacy since no one can hear you, and to keep the crowd young, since it's mostly older people who hate it.” I think it’s because the restaurateurs assume that the diners would prefer to text on their cellphones or read stock quotes rather than exchange inaudible pleasantries with each other. My advice to those who hate these places is don’t go, or if you are forced to do so, perfect the phrase, “That’s very interesting,” which you can use intermittently to gull your fellow diners into believing that you’ve heard what they said.