It isn’t quiet eating out anymore. It used to be. You could carry on a conversation about relationships, entertainment, food and wine favorites, remembered meals, politics, religion, or life and death. Conversations would resemble the animated give-and-take in that delightful film “My Dinner with Andre.”

Recently, when we complained about the noise level of a popular Italian hot spot in the North Loop, the hostess told us that the rock-star chef liked it that way. OK. It makes sense that he gets off on the clamor of high-energy kitchens as chunks of veal and porcini mushrooms flip through the wood-smoked air. But for us lesser beings out there in the din of the dining room, those of us who have read reviews waxing rhapsodic on the artistry of the latest “in” place, it’s not the sound of one hand clapping, it’s the sound of 75 voices straining to have a pleasant conversation (“Losing our appetite for noise,” Variety, April 15). It’s no longer pleasant to visit these places and lay out a lot of money for dinner. It’s painful.

Ken Stewart, Roseville