I borrowed this from another place I visit.

Whine and Dine
By: LINDA STASI
Syndicated From: NY Post


WHO'D imagine that TV could turn me into a zen master - and I'm not talking about watching reruns of "Kung Fu."

I'm talking about cheesy reality TV that has forced me into asking cosmic questions like, "What is reality, really?"

Is reality washing my workout socks out in the sink, or is it being stuck on a desert island with 10 fat-free bartenders who can get eight weeks off, no problem?

Yes, Grasshopper, I'm here to say that I, a TV reviewer, am now part of a reality show. And I didn't act real.

Let me explain. NBC is filming a reality show called "The Restaurant" in, yes, a Manhattan restaurant - or more precisely, a flashy celeb joint opened by handsome, celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito a few days ago and called, appropriately enough, Rocco's. The show, which starts airing next month, will be a kind of real-life "Upstairs/Downstairs."

Soon as I got there, I knew I was in the middle of a reality show. Everyone was thin, no one had cellulite, there were a lot of bartenders, and I couldn't' get a drink out of any of them.

Let me say right off, that if I hadn't been invited I would never have gotten in (not underweight or under 30). But once in, I wouldn't have wanted to stay.

Rocco's is very big, very bright, and so loud that you literally have to scream at the person sitting next to you. This is not a negative in New York.

The Italian food is very good however (being a certified Italian I know good Italian food), even if our first course was served piping cold.

I was told a guy proposed in there that night. I hope he brought his own sound system with him.

And since he's apparently not fabulous, he wouldn't have gotten in the place either, one of the producers told me. But he promised he'd propose on-camera. So much for reality.

Me? I had invited three friends to dinner that night -a group I figured would relax in front of the cameras. As exec producer Mark Burnett himself told me earlier in the day, sooner or later everyone forgets that cameras are there. No.

Maybe later, but not sooner especially if you're there for one night and the camera crews are lurking about like armed terrorists.

In fact, when the cameras showed up at my table, I felt forced to be clever - and failed miserably I might add.

My Love Interest, attorney Sid Davidoff, got fed up with the noise level and asked if he could vote some of the patrons off the show.

Radio talk show host Mark Simone, with whom I do a TV show on NY1, didn't have the patience for any of it - starting with being forced to sign releases outside in a tent in the rain, and ending with not being seated - so he split.

Zarela, my friend, a celebrity chef herself and owner of restaurant Zarela, was the only one who kept her cool - and actually evaluated the food. "If it can taste good cold as we had it," she said, "I imagine it will be delicious once it's served at the right temperature and pace - without camera crews around."

Don't count on the pace slowing down, although I assume the meatballs will be heated up sometime in the future.

I doubt if my reality in the future will include another visit to Rocco's. For one thing, I'll never get in again. And for another, this is one of those places where thin people eat pasta and drink Martinis and never get fat or run out of (sorry) dough.

It's not my scene, but everybody will want to be seen there.