I asked about this on Facebook yesterday (because that way people could comment) but yes, the Sandwich Shop Paragraph of Doom is yielding a great deal of… stuff, some of it possibly more reflective of critics than of Brooks.
I maintain that many of them are missing the point, in “stupid or liar?” fashion.
I dislike James Warren, but anyhow, one “Rich Neimand, a brainy Washington consultant,” apparently emailed him this, which reflects my own reaction pretty clearly, except for the implicit suggestion that having “lunch with a columnist from The New York Times” is some kind of aspirational life milestone:
“I was once that person who Brooks took into a deli. I came from a working class family and busted my ass to become intelligent and sophisticated so I could live a better life. I was fortunate to live in a society at the time that wanted that to happen for me if I was willing to want it and work for it.” (…)
“I saw how important it was to read, keep up on food trends and try to evolve as society evolved. Now I am supposed to feel bad because someone is intimidated by the term mortadella and can’t take a chance on finding out that it’s a fancy ass name for Oscar Meyer bologna? Someone who can’t risk an upset stomach to have lunch with a columnist from The New York Times?”