Where Do You Side on the Tasting Menu Debate?
Tasting menus are fine so long as the customer knows in advance that they have no control over the experience. I'm not a fan of long tasting menus, just because of the fatigue that sets in. Your ability to taste and appreciate the food declines after a few courses and so does the value.
Tasting menus work at a certain type of establishment, but it should always be noted that a restaurant's reputation and clientele can make it or break it. If, ultimately, the experience at a restaurant is not what the customer expected, would exceptional food be enough for them to go for a repeat experience? I don't think so.
The great thing about being a chef is that you have the freedom to create whatever you want and share it with the world. I see no reason why a talented chef should be criticized for designing a dining experience that the customer will likely remember for a long time. I don't really see the reason for a debate. Go and eat if you want to. And if you don't want to, don't do it.
Nobody is being forced to make a reservation at a tasting-menu-only restaurant. It may be a longer dining experience but you prepare for that, just like you would if you were attending the theater or opera. Most places that have a tasting-menu-only setup will take into consideration food allergies, so if you want to cheat, just tell them you have an allergy to whatever item you don't like (then ask them to substitute it with foie gras).
I understand both sides -- people are people, and if they can choose where to eat, they will want to choose what to eat. However, chefs are chefs, and with that comes a deep-rooted passion about their food. It's their creation; it's an art, but, ultimately, the customers are paying the bills, so you need to cater to them.