On the restaurant
I was a bit mystified by Aaron Timms’s claim in his recent essay on restaurants (“Salt, Fat, Acid, Defeat,” Issue 39) that the modern restaurantgoer “will be charged for drinking water.” I am familiar with the European custom of charging for water — and the American one of selling bottled water, still or sparkling, in restaurants — but charging for good-old-fashioned tap water at a restaurant in New York City, in the United States of America, in this day and age? Where is this young man going to dinner?! Actually, don’t answer that — I’m not sure I want to know. But because Timms addresses his essay to the post-restaurant future, I feel I must do so, too. Reader, take heed: a glass of water from the tap was free and available at the average sit-down restaurant in 2021, and any instance to the contrary was an anomaly. If Timms was speaking exclusively of fine dining, he might have said so.
— Clara Bujalski