PositiveThe Wall Street JournalMr. Alexander is an admirably thorough researcher ... This groundwork allows him to bring us deeply into [his subjects\'] worlds, probing their motivations, backgrounds, flaws and virtues, writing with authority not just about public perceptions but also about private moments ... The book is not without its flaws. Some of the author’s profile choices seem arbitrary (he acknowledges leaving out many of the prime movers of the period because they’ve been much written about elsewhere), and, taken together, the portraits never quite cohere into a master story of the period ... Also, while Mr. Alexander’s energetic prose drives the book steadily along through its many disparate parts, it also partakes of the excesses that seem endemic to much online journalism ... Despite such infelicities, the book provides an entertaining and informative picture of the American restaurant scene over the past dozen years. Just dipping in and out of it pretty much guarantees learning something new.