090308rat.jpgThe Times published their fat fall restaurant preview today, and it features a long report from Frank Bruni on how the weak economy is changing the city's dining experience. The good news? It's easier to book a reservation during the popular 7 p.m. time slot; the bad news is that restaurateurs like Donatella Arpaia are overbooking to make sure they don't have empty tables due to no-shows. “I’d rather have people wait at the bar and buy them a free drink than not get them in the door," she tells Bruni. Other restaurants demand credit card info when you make a reservation and threaten a cancellation fee. Bruni says the key to getting a table these days is to affect a French or Italian accent when calling in, which is sure to "brand you as a potentially bigger spender." (And worse tipper.)