Does Oceana Have a Racist Restaurant Week Back Room Just for Asians?

Oceana, the fancy seafood restaurant on 49th btw. 6+7th, is definitely not a Midtown Lunch… but this is way too funny not to post.  On Sunday, Chubby Chinese Girl (the Midtown Lunch’er who came up with Cer Te’s Feburary Sandwich of the Month) had a restaurant week lunch at Oceana and was escorted through a practically empty main dining room to a back room that was filled with all Asian diners (6 tables in all.)  Obviously (or not?) Oceana isn’t racist, according to this their Executive Pastry Chef is Asian and even CCG admitted that she enjoyed the service and the food.  But the photo is kind of damning.  (Hilariously damning.)  There must be a perfectly good explanation for all of this, right Oceana?

We contacted GM Paul McLaughlin for comment, and he told us that the back room is actually the preferred dining area during lunchtime.  It’s away from the kitchen and the bar, plus has giant windows on two walls of the room- including one that looks out onto the newly designed waterfall walk through between 48th and 49th Streets.  As for why all the customers were Asian?  He said that was just a Restaurant Week coincidence.  According to Paul, Asian people come out in droves every year for their Restaurant Week menus: “Just counted my guests from Sunday, we did 191 lunches Sunday, 95 guests were Asian or have Asian names. That’s 49%.”

I suppose his story checks out… but that photo is still hilarious!


  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Wheels, someone has accused McLaughlin of being racist based on the fact that 6 parties of Asians were seated together. His defense is that it was a coincidence. In support of his defense he points out that his restaurant happens to be hosting a larger-than-usual number of Asians this week, which he (and other restaurateurs) says is attributable to Restaurant Week. If in fact he is hosting many Asians, then the fact that there are 6 Asian parties seated together becomes unremarkable.

    So, to provide data in support of the assertion, he counts up the number of Asian names on his reservation list, and he concludes that about half of his guests were Asian on one recent day. All of this is in response to an accusation of racism based on one single photo.

    Why is any of what he said or did to defend himself against such an ugly accusation “creepy”? Is it now racist to assume that names like Liu and Choi are Asian?

    I think that the way this guy is being tarred by so many commenters on this site is really, really wrong. It’s one photo, from one day, from one part of the restaurant, taken by one person we know only by an Internet pseudonym.

    Chubby Chinese Girl, meet Andrew Breitbart.

  • The only reason there were so many asians in the back room is because all the mexican’s were seated out back by the dumpster, al fresco

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    @MonkeyKing & Geaufrite Usef -I was also wondering who this Andrew Breitbart was. Checked on Google… Some headlines:

    ‘RNC fundraiser to feature Andrew Breitbart’

    ‘Breitbart’s defenders need a dictionary. Sherrod’s relative was lynched’

    ‘Congratulations to Andrew Breitbart — He May Have Succeeded in Having a Word Named After Him’

    ‘On the Media: Even when in error, Andrew Breitbart is on the attack’

    mmm…, after reading these articles, if this is the same Andrew, he might be much more interesting than Oceana’s incident. Hope Andrew and Oceana’s GM are not friends…

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      Oh ok. So I guess he just name-dropped himself on the internet? Hahhah that’s fucking funny.

      • User has not uploaded an avatar

        My math is not off. If you randomly point a camera at 4 different tables in a room that is 50% Asian, the probability that all 4 will be Asian is 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 = 6.25%. That means that if you do that experiment every day, then about once every two weeks you will get a photo with only Asian parties in it.

        Now note that the camera was not randomly pointed. It was pointed by someone who seems to have a chip on her shoulder. If she wanted to frame a photo with only Asians in it, it would be very easy to do so in a sizable restaurant with 50% Asian diners.

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      I am not Andrew Breitbart.
      I have never been to Oceana and I don’t know the GM.
      I just know that CCG has done to the Oceana owner what Breitbart did to Shirley Sherrod.

      • User has not uploaded an avatar

        Alright. But just so you know, your math in your first post is a little off. If, in fact, Oceana’s patrons were about 49% Asian, then it was actually quite remarkable that all of the patrons in that room were Asian. It should have been about half Asian and half non-Asian.

      • User has not uploaded an avatar

        You may not be Andrew Breitbart. But you speak like Andrew Breitbart. ‘I just know that CCG has done to the Oceana owner what Breitbart did to Shirley Sherrod.’ CCG has been segregated and you are accussing her of being the offender…! So, out of nowhere, an Asian girl wants to spoil a white man’s reputation??? THAT was done to Shirley Sherrod. A non-white woman being the ‘racist’ in the end… Andrew Breitbart’s ghost!

      • User has not uploaded an avatar

        “Out of nowhere, and Asian girl wants to spoil a white man’s reputation…a non-white woman being the ‘racist’ in the end.

        I did not say that CCG did what she did because she is a racist. I didn’t say anything remotely like that. It’s bizarre that you would even suggest I did. That would be an outrageous slander against her. I don’t know why she did it, she just did. I actually doubt that racism is the reason. I will give her the same benefit of the doubt that I will give Oceana.

        I love how you ignore all the substance of my argument in favor of suggesting that I am vicitimizing the poor little non-white person. In your mind, “non-white” people never do mean things, they are always victims? We have to believe CCG was “segregated” and that the GM is a racist because of her one photo?

        “Out of nowhere”. Hmmm. I don’t know, was what she did “out of nowhere”? Do you know her? I don’t. Maybe it wasn’t out of nowhere. Maybe it was. Only she knows. Why should we assume innocence on her part and evil on the part of the GM? Because she says so, and she’s the one who is not white??

        Benefit of the doubt. You ought to give it a try.

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    1. The picture tells the truth. Coincidence or not, that’s not cool – its so sad that its funny.

    2. Any GM worth his paycheck would’ve apologized for the inadvertent actions of his employees and not spilled a million useless excuses. Nobody like excuses.

    3. Racism against Asians is real. Most people think Asian people won’t say anything thus do things that other minorities won’t tolerate.

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      What truth does the picture tell? It tells that CCG was able to point her camera in such a way as to capture four Asian parties.

      The conclusions you draw from that say more about you than they do about the GM or racism against Asians.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    As a former employee of Oceana, there’s a lot of things I could complain about. However, nowhere on my list of complaints is of the restaurant, it’s staff, or owners being racist. The GM is a dolt at times, brooding, overbearing, thick headed, etc. but this was only directed at staff and was never based on race or creed but rather his own denseness (is that even a word, who knows, I’m just a lowly restaurant employee). This is a man who will bend over backwards for any and all customers even when they’re clearly in the wrong. No racism, purely coincidence, end of story. I can see how chubby chinese girl would see it otherwise, but it just isn’t. As to the back room being more desirable, it is more plain looking and is usually reserved for private events, but compared to the main dining area where the acoustics are so bad that you have to yell at the person across from you in the heart of the lunch rush, I would say it was preferred, especially for someone on a date. That is all.

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