Chris Webber's Steak Kerfuffle

Apparently former NBA All-Star and current NBA commentator Chris Webber was involved in a bit of a kerfuffle over steak. TMZ, which is basically a bitchy celebrity gossip site for men, caught up with him at LAX and asked him a couple of questions about steak kerfuffle. Next thing you know, Colin Cowherd is talking about it on ESPN Radio and Chris Webber is tweeting a defense of his taste in steak.

Chris Webber walked out of a steak house because they didn't have steak sauce. That's what he said, and we'll take him at his word. I can easily imagine a scenario in which he asks for steaks sauce and is told very rudely that there is none, in which case you would walk out not because there was no steak sauce, but because the staff had been rude to you. The issue is, apparently, the lack of tomato-based tangy-sweet mojo.

On his radio show, Cowherd asked the same question the TMZ folks asked, who is being arrogant? Restaurant for not being willing to serve steak sauce, or Webber for not being willing to try things this restaurant's way? Cowherd contended that a restaurant has a right to have and maintain its own culture. He gave the example of a friend in Vegas who had an Italian restaurant and wouldn't serve spaghetti and meatballs, because "he doesn't want the spaghetti and meatball crowd." Somehow, amazingly, I know exactly what that means.

The establishment of a restaurant's "culture" brings to mind a recent post regarding the banishment of children from some places of business. Here, as in the "no kids" post, one feels that there's a bit of an overreaction taking place. Sure, you want to differentiate yourself from a Perkin's or a Texas Roadhouse sort of steak. I can only agree that that's a worthy goal. But if the appearance of A1 Steak Sauce at one of your tables is enough to upset years of work establishing an identity, maybe you should change your identity. If your restaurant is full of people who would never put A1 sauce on their steak (like me), they will merely raise their eyebrows, perhaps sneer a bit like the waiter, and go back to enjoying their naked steaks.

If you're acting like a diva, it's because you're insecure. Let's imagine I own a pub (what a beautiful dream). There's nothing like Bud Light on tap there. There's probably nothing like that in a bottle either. But if some good old boys wander in asking for Bud Light, I make them feel as comfortable as possible, I sit them down, and I suggest something I think they'd like. They probably never come back. But I make sure they enjoy themselves as much as I can. If I don't stock Bud Light, I make sure I stock something that crowd will like, even if I don't love it: Grolsch, or Cristal, or Tsing Tao. I can think of several friends of mine who would sneer a bit at that, but I'm too awesome to let the haters get me down (and after all, it's an effin' beer). Price alone would deter 95% of those folks from coming back. And if one of those folks were Chris Webber, and didn't care about price, I'd be honored to have him drinking Grolsch every weekend at my place.

My judgment, which I know you've been waiting for, and which I have authority to deliver without being a busybody: Webber was a bit arrogant for not being willing to try things the restaurant's way, and the restaurant was a bit arrogant for not having some A1 hidden way in the back, where it would take the busboy four minutes to dig out, thereby discouraging its request on future visits.

Done. Let the issue rest, o tiny interwebs. Like a perfectly medium-rare steak ought to rest once removed from the grill.

Let's not even talk about the fact the Webber wanted his steak well done. *shivers up the spine*


  1. I'd like to be the voice of reason and say it's folly to claim arrogance from either party.

    Whoever Chris Webber is, I presume he went into a steakhouse with the intent to buy a specific kind of meal that he likes, not knowing that the end product he would receive would lack a (to him) crucial ingredient. Upon discovering this, he apparently decided to leave.

    Naturally the establishment is entirely within their right to choose not to serve a particular product. However, it's worth keeping in mind that Mr. Webber wasn't simply invited into some person's home and offered to partake in a meal that was specially prepared for him free of charge out of hospitality, in which case it would be pretty rude to not at least give it a try.

    He paid for a product, it didn't turn out to be what he expected, he chose not to eat it.

    (By the way, that donation button on the right doesn't seem to work. I've tried it several times and it only ever redirects me to the paypal front page or my own account page after logging in.)

  2. Conroy, thanks for the heads-up on the button, I'll check it out.

    "Arrogance" is a strong word, it was the word TMZ and then Cowherd used, maybe I shouldn't have. Both parties were definitely well within your rights. I guess the biggest thing I'm trying to say is that for both parties, it's not that big a deal. It's not that big a deal, stock some sauce. And it's not that big a deal, enjoy your steak without sauce!

    Of course, it'd be hard to do that well done. :-)


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