Oceana Responds (Again) This Time To Eater

Last week we (half-heartedly) defended Oceana against charges of racism, writing off Chubby Chinese Girl’s lunchtime photo of their all-Asian back room as a hilariously funny coincidence caught in a photo.  But after reading the letter Oceana sent to Eater on Friday afternoon, I think we might be reconsidering our stance.  Rather than just laughing off the whole incident as a coincidence, they actually tried to make it seem like the photo was a misrepresentation of the scene.  Hilarious. Dude… just admit it.  The back room was filled with Asians last Sunday for lunch (6 out of 6 tables to be exact). Who cares about the “other 82 tables”.  Those tables aren’t in the back room!  Also, how stupid do you have to be to send a letter about this to Eater.  Most of their readers probably didn’t even notice their initial mention of the story… but you better believe they saw your letter.  Well played sir.  Well played.  (Oh, and thanks for calling me a journalist!  That was the funniest part of the letter…)


  • Congrats, Zach is a journalist!

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    So the more the guy insists he is not racist, the more you will take that as proof that his is?

    I don’t know him and I’ve never been to his restaurant but I think the way he is being slimed on this website – mostly by commenters, but now by Zach – based on one photo is really, really wrong.

    Was no one paying attention during the Shirley Sherrod fiasco?

  • the phrase “quit while you’re behind” comes to mind.

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    Yes, I’m sure that would be the first impulse of anyone who runs a consumer business: when accused of being a racist, remain silent.

  • he’s just trying to do “damage control” at this point… hmmm sensationalism type of journalism? hahahaha and why is he explaining he’s has a multi cultural staff? did we ever question that? hahahaha at least now he’s thankful that the Asian community enjoys the resto.. and NOT just restaurant week… *shaking head*… a little too late for all this don’t you think?

    • You should have taken the picture of the front room too to compare. That would have made things a bit less complicated maybe.

    • Maybe he’s 1/4 Irish, 1/4 Danish, 1/4 German and 1/4 English. That’s multi-cultural. :)

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      Of course he is trying to do damage control. He has been slandered as a racist by an pseudonymous Internet blogger based on one photo, of one small portion of his restaurant, taken on one day.

      Why is he explaining he has a multicultural staff? Because you called him a racist! What defense against that accusation would you accept from him?

  • well, it is true that us asians love a good deal on food, and come on… NYC is bursting at the seams with our people!! I say we give him a break. the picture is hilarious. And I do love restaurant week, not because Im cheap… because Im poor and have expensive taste!

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    Asian Midtown Luncher’s Unite! Let’s all go there for lunch this afternoon. Only 49% ? Let’s make it 100% today, baby!

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    This whole thing is being blown way out of control.

    Each of these people choose to sit in their assigned seats, they each could have gotten up and walked out.

    Other than Chubby, were the other Asian patrons offended?

    Chubby does not speak for all Asians.

    Running a business is tough, even more so these days. We should not look to tear down businesses and seek to ruin reputations based on questionable allegations of racism.

    Treating the topic lightly and allowing misrepresntations on this site does reflect poorly on Zach.

    I’m now boycotting this blog. Journalist? yeah. that is funny.

  • It’s funny how you say you’re boycotting this site, but you know that you will be hitting “refresh” button to see how people react to your response… ; ) haha. everyone needs to relax! It’s such a nice day out, get an ice cream cone! :D

  • Yeah, I’m on Team Oceana on this without further evidence. Probably not ML’s finest hour.

    If someone wants to investigate midtown food racism they should get all John Stossel on the Biryani Cart. I’ve had my biryani given to South Asian men who order well after me way too many times. They’re not even smooth about it. But I still go because I like the kati rolls, and I’m not going to bitch about being a white dude.

  • taking a page from political correctness 101, this post is retarded.

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    You would think the mgr/owner would be happy for ANY kind of customer to come in, I’ve passed by that place so many times and it’s really never full. Should also consider that it may not have been management’s call with regards to the seating arrangements, maybe it was the decision of 1 bubblehead in the front?

    For those who say, “we’re white and we don’t bitch”, maybe it’s because people of color experience this much more frequent thank you? Ever think about that? 48gwy

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    for those who wants to boycott this blog, go right ahead. Oceana can geaufrite usef.
    Oceana? isn’t that a ocean theme? that back room looks quite serene to me, it’s the best table in the house!
    so now you’ve written a second letter to a more friendly site, perhaps the NY Post can get your next letter. You’ll love the comments there.

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    The fact that “49%” of the patrons were “Asian” due to “Restaurant week” makes it highly improbable that 100% of asians were seated in the backroom (except the 1 in a mixed group)for the seating to be completely random.
    So the ‘segregation’ hypotheses is statistically valid and not just coincidence
    With 99% level of confidence, we can say that the Seating was not due to Random Chance alone…the Racism may be inferential…

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      We could also say, couldn’t we, that CCG is full of crap when she asserts, without any evidence, that the other room was full of only white people?

      Doesn’t the restaurant owner deserve some sort of benefit of the doubt? One photo of four tables taken on one day and you are going to condemn him as a racist?

      Your 99% confidence calculation is garbage. If half the patrons are Asian and they are randomly seated, then IF THE CAMERA HAD BEEN POINTED AT A RANDOM CHOICE OF FOUR TABLES – WHICH IT WAS NOT – there would have been about a 6% chance of finding all four tables populated with Asians.

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        Well it was pointed at 100% of the tables in the backroom, so we should have seen atleast some tables with Non Asians, but we did not…and even if we go by your stats…there is still a 94% chance that there was a pattern in the seating…I am not saying it was racist but there was a pattern…

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        No, bacchus, you are not getting it. There is NOT still a 94% chance there was a pattern because the camera was NOT randomly pointed. For all we know CCG aimed it specifically to group 4 Asian parties while all around her there were Native Americans and Botswanans. And the camera does NOT capture 100% of the tables in the back room. It captures a subset of teh back room tables that CCG wants you to see.

        As soon as you open your eyes you will stop seeing only what you expect to see.

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    I feel sorry for your future dates. Your face is on the “black” list on every restaurant.

    • It’s ok, all white people think Asians have same faces. LOL

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        You are of course assuming the staff are white.

        Isn’t your spouse white?

        Maybe that is what CCG should do, date a white guy and confuse the hell out of the staff. Where do we put them in the front or back?

  • If you white, then you Ben Affleck!

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    Here’s what an effective defense might have looked like:

    “At Oceana it is our policy to seat diners according to objective factors such as party size, reservation time, and table availability, with minor exceptions for VIPs, regular customers, etc. Because this is our policy, the only explanation we can offer for the situation that CCG describes is pure coincidence. While we are confident that our policy is being followed, we intend to remind our staff of this policy in order to make sure that there are no misunderstandings. Moreover, while we believe that every table in Oceana is a great table, we welcome all of our guests to make reasonable seating requests. In fact, if there is any aspect of your Oceana experience that you find unsatisfactory, please let us know right away!”

    Okay, the major problem is that Oceana probably *can’t* say that because they probably *do* take into account other factors in how they seat guests. And that only leads to the uncomfortable question of how, exactly, Oceana does determine seating assignments.

    • ” probably *do* ”

      And can you prove that? If the chubby girl felt something was amiss she should have said something there and then. Instead she stuffed her face with what she admitted was good food and service, and then talked shit when she was safe behind her computer.

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      Ok, Dan, so because the owner of Oceana did not write his denial of being racist in the way you would like him to have written it, that means he is a racist?

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        @andrew, you are missing my point. I am *guessing* that the reason Oceana did not offer my defense is that my defense is probably not true. Btw, if you read my post, while I am *critical* of Oceana and I am *suspicious* of some mildly racist behavior on the part of the host, I’m not calling the owner of Oceana racist. Not by a long shot.

        @wellerfan, I don’t prove it. It’s a guess based on my impression of how fancy restaurants operate. I could be totally wrong, and if Oceana actually claimed that they ignore the appearance of their customers, I’d take them at their word.

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        No, you are missing my point, which is that it is meanspirited and wrong of you to make the “guess” you make.

        I “guess” that if Oceana “actually claimed that they ignore the appearance of their customers”, you would not take them at their word, but you would instead howl with laughter at him.

    • Dan, i completely agree.

      Andrew…its the way he went about his “denial”. and the end of his response to eater takes the cake, about sensationalism and that they were hurt? please. say i complained about a dish because it came out cold, or, not as hot as it should. and they respond with, “no, you’re wrong. thats how most people like it. stop being a drama queen”. do you still think thats an appropriate response?

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        you are truly loco, loco. A denial in language you don’t like equals confirmation of something for which you have almost no evidence.

        No, I am not a Martian, no matter what you saw written about me on the web Anyone who says otherwise is just trying to be sensationalist and hurtful.

        I guess now you believe I am from Mars.

      • Andrew- its not just a matter of language. its his attitude toward something CCG honestly thought was suspicious. He could have simply acknowledged her suspicion, advised it was unintentional, and assure that it wont happen again, regardless.

        as for your example- if someone had pictures of you landing a spaceship and coming out of it, yes, i would be led to believe you are, in fact, a Martian (or at least not from earth).

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        If you see a photo – taken by someone you don’t know – of me emerging from a spaceship, you will believe I am a Martian? Seriously? If that’s the case, then there probably is not much point in trying to reason with you, but I will give it one last try.

        What “suspicion” of hers should he have acknowledged after she called him a racist on her website? WHAT should he have assured her – someone who didn’t bother to discuss her suspicions with him prior to labeling him a racist on the Internet – that he should not do again?

        He said it was a coincidence (i.e. unintentional) that there were a few Asian parties clustered together. He should asssure her that in the future there will be no similar coincidences?

  • I dont know but i would have to disagree with how this was all handled. I think its incredibly irresponsible to completely slander a restaurant, company, or even individuals from a one off incident. Maybe if it happened repeatedly but if this was your first time and it just happened to have a few tables with asians how could this be racism?

    First of all if you go eat out there tend to be asians or any other race around. Jansen Chen their exec pastry chef is asian and hes also one of the nicest guys ever. Which yall noticed in the previous post. Not only that i believe oceana has also supported a few asian causes. This alone should say something about their stance on supporting the asian community. Not only that Oceana has also supported various causes such as City Harvest, American Cancer Society, and much more. I think its a shame that they are getting so much bad press from one incident when theyve done so much good in our community.

    I’ve been to Oceana a handful of times and have not experienced anything but a decent experience.

    • as some have pointed it, it may not have been the restaurant as a whole, but maybe just a rogue host/ess or something.

      its hard to not see it like it is. its like me throwing a deck of cards against a wall, and all the spades/clubs fall face up, and all the hearts/diamonds fall face down, and calling that coincidence. is it possible? YES. but i’d have a higher probability of winning the lottery.

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        It’s not at all like a deck of cards, because you know what cards were in the deck and you get to see where all the cards came out.

        In this instance, CCG claims to have seen all the cards and she is telling you how they came out but you don’t know what was in the deck and she only gave you a photo of 4 out of the 52. And she chose the 4.

        You understand nothing about about statistics or the scientific method and yet you firmly believe they support your conclusions when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.

      • statistics and science? i may not, but so what? i’m not saying Oceana is definitely racist (as i stated in my previous comment), BUT, given what we know (all asians in back room, most non-asian in main room), it most certainly looks like something is up. doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

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        You’re not saying he is definitely racist, you are just saying he probably is – based on evidence that does not remotely support that conclusion. Basic decency and fairness should prevent you from assuming something very ugly about a person about whom you actually know very little.

      • are you not doing the same by accusing CCG of lying or intentionally misleading? and based on what?

  • Just want to quickly say for the record (once again) that Midtown Lunch does not think that Oceana is racist. We said it in our original posting, and this post was intended to be joke- laughing at how stupid that GM was for sending a defensive letter to Eater.

    Nobody would have cared about this story come Monday if he hadn’t sent that letter to Eater. I don’t think very many people took the original Midtown Lunch post very seriously, or the accusations of racism… until he tried to make a serious argument defending the restaurant against that photo.

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      I didn’t take it seriously until YOUR post, in which you said, because the guy was trying to defend himself, that you were “reconsidering” your half-hearted defense, and then went on to mock his self-defense.

      I didn’t even think CCG was serious until I read her actual post and then saw her continuing stream of slanderous comments on this website.

      If you don’t think he is a racist, then put a new post up saying so. Don’t stick it at the bottom of the comment section.

      • I’m starting to think that you have a secret crush on CCG and you’re just mad cuz she’s dating another dude.

        It’s OK bro, I was so mad when Ashlee started dating Pete that I burned all my Fall Out Boy albums. We’ve all been there.

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    A bunch of people are complaining that Oceana is being slandered by the blogosphere media, but they are not. This is not like Breitbart or something like that, because no one is lying about Oceana or intentionally misleading anyone.

    CCG and MidtownLunch reported on a set of facts (all Asian backroom, very white main room, management response, etc), along with some analysis from CCG (they’re racist), ML (they’re ridiculous), and commenters (various opinions). The point is that the basic facts are not in dispute. Oceana is NOT claiming that CCG’s facts are incorrect. So anyone who reads these facts is free to decide exactly what to make of them (and indeed, that is how this has played out). Frankly, I’d be happy if real journalism worked this way.

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      Not true. CCG is showing a photo of 4 tables and claiming that the whole restaurant was seated in such a way as to prove that the only explanation is racism. She is pretending that a photo of 4 tables represents all of the restaurant and is sufficient grounds to make a vicious accusation of racism. Breitbart pretended that a portion of the Sherrod video represented her whole talk and was sufficient grounds to label her a racist.

      CCG ALLEGED facts without providing proof. I don’t know how you can conclude she is not lying or intentionally misleading. You have no way of knowing that. Do you know CCG? Do you even know her real name? Do you have any reason to believe her rather than the GM – whose name you at least know, and whose restaurant anyone can go look at to see whether racist seating policies are in effect there?

      How can you say the basic facts are not in dispute? The basic fact in question is whether the guy is racist. Oceana does indeed claim that fact is incorrect. To say that the basic facts are not in dispute here is the same as saying the basic facts posted by Breitbart are not in dispute – Shirley really did say the things she said in that video, she does not deny that. The video is real, she does not deny that. What makes it a fraud – and a vicious one – is the lack of context. Same situation here. At least Breitbart uses his real name, while CCG posts accusations of slander under a psuedonym.

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