Originally Posted by rwalters
OK... so it appears that the majority believe there is a difference, even if it is just a subtle difference...
That leads me to ask a few more questions then...
1) Why do high-end restaurants, that can afford the best of "setups", grill over gas?
Convenience and practicality over "best setup" A lot of restaurants use gas grills because they just have to light the gas and it is good for the night. If they want to keep a high temperature wood/charcoal grill, they will have to get the grill going much earlier and continuously feed it throughout the day to make it to closing.
Then at closing with a gas grill you just shut her down where a wood/charcoal grill it will take a longer time to ensure that the grill is no safe to leave unattended over night unless they pull all the coals out and extinguish them another way.
Add in clean up, where they can hit the grill with a nice wire brush/grill brick and then pull the drip tray vs having to do the above and also clean up coals (hot or extinguished) and ash.
There is a restaurant in Va Beach, VA called Fire and Vine. The concept is all woodburning appliance w/ a great selection of wine. Woodburning pizza oven, wood burning stove/oven, wood burning grill. The smell when you walk into that restaurant is amazing. However the amount of work they have to do to get the fires started as well as the clean up is much more labor intensive vs a normal kitchen with gas appliances.