If you believe what you read in trend pieces, separate checks, perhaps the ultimate in dining gaucheness, is apparently becoming more acceptable in Chicago. Will this “I only had water while you downed five $15 glasses of wine” craze hit NYC?
While I think separate checks are juvenile, I have never found equal check splitting to be fair. I don’t think it’s tacky for everyone to pay for what they consumed and only what they consumed. And I still can’t believe that the only polite and socially acceptable way to handle a group birthday dinner is for the guest of honor to treat (must be the same people who have second homes and destination weddings. I don’t know these people). At least according to the Times, who irked me by not only disallowing comments on the Social Q's column but removing all old comments–there were originally quite a few in favor of the host as benevolent payer. Serious Eats commenters seem split on the concept.
Group birthday dinners are an awful beast worth avoiding at all costs anyway, and yes, I’ve had a few. I’ve literally ended friendships over them.