Who are you?

Hello, my name is Mark and I’m a stickler for service.  Some may even call me a food cynic.  I’m extremely difficult to please, and it seems that I can always find something to complain about, from a casual bistro all the way up to elegant fine dining.

I’m not here only to complain, though.  Oh, no, dear readers: I’m here to serve you.  Consider me your ambassador to the oftentimes ruthless culinary world of New York and beyond.  On your behalf, I am an arbiter of unreasonably high expectations, ever wielding the relentless blade of snide criticism wherever I go, bar or cafe, Chipotle or Per Se.

Please, don’t thank me yet.  Let me explain a bit more about who I am.  I’m a recent college graduate, now living in New York working by day in the corporate world.  At my pristine desk in one of the many towering office buildings on Park Avenue, I am subjected to countless swarms of details and minutiae, with which I’m expected to comprehend and deliver on.  I’ve gotten quite good at it.  I hereby pledge to bring this strictness of composure and uniformity of expectations (or, just being anal) to each and every restaurant I travel to.

Why food, though?  Well, that’s easy: I love food.  All kinds.  I suppose I prefer good food, but that’s certainly not a strict requirement for an enjoyable meal, is it?

But Mark, why are you so mean to restaurants?  What did they ever do to you?

I don’t see myself as mean, but rather as picky.  Sure, I enjoy a dry piece of chicken or an overcooked piece of salmon as much as the next guy, but why should I delude you, loyal readers, into thinking it’s a good meal?

What do you do on this “Black Napkin”?

I thought I already explained this?  Okay, I’ll be more clear: I serve you in any culinary capacity I can.  I critique restaurants, survey bars, provide food and wine tips, create (or fail at attempting) recipes, and occasionally, when I can trick people into talking to me, conduct interviews.  Yes, I know, it seems like I’m a jack of all trades.  That’s because I am.

What do you look like?

Well, isn’t that the million-dollar question?  Also a bit of a strange one.

How can I contact you?

Ah, now there’s a reasonable question.  You can reach me by email at:

Life’s too short to eat bad food.