Where Do You Side on the Tasting Menu Debate?
This is nothing new. For 20 years, people have been trying to maximize their food dollars and turn a meal into entertainment. This is just the extension of that, turning a meal into a marketing opportunity and a chance to show off some eclectic items.
The tasting menu will always be the king of restaurant fare. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time, money, or patience for a three-hour-plus culinary masterpiece. A smart chef will find ways to keep attitudes high and patrons in seats. Chefs are craftily finding ways to encourage guests to stay for as long as possible with or without the "tasting" experience.
It all comes back to the diner experience. There are times when a diner walks into a restaurant for the first time and wants try a dozen dishes on the menu. A wise chef knows this and creates a customized tasting menu to enhance the importance of a diners' experience at their restaurant. There is nothing wrong with letting the guest sample a choice of dishes.
I think that people are making as issue where there really is no issue at all. I would say that the vast majority of people who dine at a restaurant that has a tasting menu know what they are getting into before they even make their reservation.