The much-ballyhooed N.Y. Italian restauranteurs Fernando and Gino Masci recently opened an outpost here in Washington, D.C. I tried to make a reservation on OpenTable.com only to find that Il Mulino seems to restrict its OpenTable bookings so that you can't book a table for dinner at any time after 6:00 or earlier than 9:30.
Who the hell eats dinner at 6 p.m. in Washington, D.C. unless you've got theater tickets that evening?
I posted on this topic a few months ago; it really annoys me when restaurants try to have it both ways. They think it's cool for their image to have "an online presence" so they decide to participate in OpenTable, but only in the most minimal and meaningless sense.
There is a word for this practice: obnoxious. I voted with my feet by choosing another restaurant. Il Mulino joins La Chaumiere as being among a select few, backward Washington restaurants that are unwilling to give diners the convenience of booking tables at any available time. They are now both off my dining list.
OpenTable.com is culpable too. It should not allow restaurants to play this restricted-hours game. OpenTable should require all of its participating restaurants to allow bookings at all hours that the restaurant is open.