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Jung Sik Dang


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#61 oakapple

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 05:46 PM

I didn't see anything about that - he was complaining that the place looks like some unremarkable hotel restaurant (I haven't been yet, but that's what most critics have been claiming). . . .

Because of the rather uniform sameness of the NYC critics, the fact that most of them have said something proves nothing, except that they have said it.

If indeed it looks like an unremarkable hotel restaurant, I would invite you to take a look inside (you don't even need to order food), and then tell me which NYC hotels it resembles.

But beyond the falseness of it, why do we not hear the same complaint about the hundredth locavore restaurant they've reviewed? After all, many of them start to look the same, too. The answer, I think, is that the locavore restaurant puts them in a milieu they like, and the (purported) hotel restaurant does not.
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#62 Lex

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 05:49 PM

But beyond the falseness of it, why do we not hear the same complaint about the hundredth locavore restaurant they've reviewed? After all, many of them start to look the same, too. The answer, I think, is that the locavore restaurant puts them in a milieu they like, and the (purported) hotel restaurant does not.

I think you're on to something.

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#63 Orik

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 06:17 PM


I didn't see anything about that - he was complaining that the place looks like some unremarkable hotel restaurant (I haven't been yet, but that's what most critics have been claiming). . . .

Because of the rather uniform sameness of the NYC critics, the fact that most of them have said something proves nothing, except that they have said it.

If indeed it looks like an unremarkable hotel restaurant, I would invite you to take a look inside (you don't even need to order food), and then tell me which NYC hotels it resembles.

But beyond the falseness of it, why do we not hear the same complaint about the hundredth locavore restaurant they've reviewed? After all, many of them start to look the same, too. The answer, I think, is that the locavore restaurant puts them in a milieu they like, and the (purported) hotel restaurant does not.


Straw man - there is no argument against sameness of high-end restaurants, there is an argument against cultural irrelevance/impropriety - you want to call that being in the wrong milieu - fine, but that seems like an obvious part of what restaurant reviewing is about. Again, I don't want to make this about JSD because I haven't been - you may be perfectly right about the falseness of the reviews.

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#64 Wilfrid

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 06:57 PM

Ya think he'd have liked the "white linen table cloths" if they hadn't boxed off the windows, or the "Edwardian service" if it had come more naturally?

#65 oakapple

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:04 PM

I'll allow the possibility that "Edwardian" service, done the wrong way, could be pretentious and off-putting. I just don't trust these guys (Platt, Wells, et al) to correctly tell me when that is the case.

It seems to me far more likely that it's not their cup of tea, no matter how well done. They have a grandfather's exception for places like Daniel and La Grenouille that were doing it long before they became critics. No one new gets that benefit.
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#66 Orik

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:41 PM

Ya think he'd have liked the "white linen table cloths" if they hadn't boxed off the windows, or the "Edwardian service" if it had come more naturally?


Maybe. I know I like Edwardian service if it comes naturally but I feel like I really don't want to be in places where what he describes is taking place. Sifton did give Per Se many stars after all, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Wells doing the same for JG... so we're not talking about full blown linen allergy here, just allergy to new places that try to offer this type of environment with very little success.

oak - yes, places have exemptions when they serve as museums. You don't go to the Louvre and complain that what's on display is outdated, but a new artist is measured by current standards.

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#67 Sneakeater

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:46 PM

The waiters seem like guys who are pretending to be waiters in a three (NYT)-star-type restaurant.


Now this was in October, so maybe things have improved. But you have to have experienced it to see how inept and awkward it was.

I'm not justifying Wells. I think it's clear that he held this restaurant's pretensions against it -- even though, aside from service, in my opinion most of those pretensions are realized. I just want to point out that he might have gotten this one thing right.

This review makes it a little more impossible for anybody new to open a real fine dining restaurant in New York.
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#68 Wilfrid

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:48 PM

We're overthinking it. There's an automatic adverse reaction to anywhere that's not what passes for NYC-casual 2012. No point pretending something more subtle is going on (how well the table cloths are laid, or something).

#69 nuxvomica

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:48 PM

we went in early January and i guess i never got around to posting about it but two stars seem about right. It did look and feel like they were aiming at 3 (but didn't quite hit it, at least for us).

I didn't find it too formal or starchy and we were lucky to have a very enthusiastic (although not quite Danny Meyer at North End Grill level) server. He knew the food well, made helpful suggestions, generally was around when needed, etc.

There were some service issues like waiting forever for bread (food in general) and wine, which I'm not even sure made it before the apps (wine also was a younger vintage and served without mentioning the change - and yes, i do care if it's 2006 or 2009, esp. at that price) but at least they decanted the second bottle right away. There was some confusion with dishes at other tables (we had plenty of time to watch). It was clear they were understaffed - the restaurant was fairly busy with the private room in the back occupied as well - the hostess was pulled routinely from the front to serve food in the private room.

While i enjoyed most of the food - it was good, interesting and different - it didn't blow me away. Nothing made me want to go back more although most dishes were good to very good: mushrooms with dashi and egg, strong fish course (cod & arctic char), the pork belly - i can't remember what the other meat dish was, short rib maybe? Found the noodles the weakest - the sea urchin ok, too little to make any impact flavor-wise; don't really remember much about the one with foie. The Birthday Meal and the bibim with tomato and basil sorbet were lost on me. The numerous canapes were most fun and creative - almost as lovely as EMP's (the sweatbread one is probably my favorite ever). Artfully plated, some lovely tableware.

I liked how serene the dining room was.
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#70 oakapple

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:34 PM

Maybe. I know I like Edwardian service if it comes naturally but I feel like I really don't want to be in places where what he describes is taking place. Sifton did give Per Se many stars after all, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Wells doing the same for JG.

Though the two places I mentioned (Daniel and La Grenouille) are older, Per Se and JG benefit from the same grandfather clause: they earned their stars before Sifton or Wells got the job. A new place along the same lines wouldn't get the same benefit.

Now, I wouldn't mind if someone came along and served the same quality food in a more casual setting. But at Il Buco A&V, I believe you would agree, more has been lost besides just the "Edwardian"(*) service. To say that's one of the top fifty or so(**) restaurants in the city—even if judged on its food alone—is just ludicrous.

If you are going to argue that something like Jungsik is outmoded, you need to make a compelling argument that something else has replaced it; and Wells can't, because nothing has, except in certain infrequent cases that are nowhere near common enough to get you to fifty.

(*) I didn't really find the service at Jungsik "Edwardian"; it was obviously trying to be somewhat formal and elegant by today's standards, but not to the extreme degree that one would infer from Wells's description of it.

(**) Fifty being approximately the number of three-star NYT restaurants at any given time.
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#71 Adrian

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:23 PM

Orik is right - the biggest sin a fine dining restaurant can commit (to recent reviewers) is looking like an unremarkable hotel restaurant in (pick one of) Dubai/Dallas/Toronto/etc. Places like JG and EMP do not feel like that.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#72 oakapple

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:29 PM

Orik is right - the biggest sin a fine dining restaurant can commit (to recent reviewers) is looking like an unremarkable hotel restaurant in (pick one of) Dubai/Dallas/Toronto/etc. Places like JG and EMP do not feel like that.

My argument is that Jungsik doesn't, in fact, look like that at all. But even supposing it does, it appears to me that the limitation is the critic's, not the restaurant's.
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#73 Adrian

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:34 PM


Orik is right - the biggest sin a fine dining restaurant can commit (to recent reviewers) is looking like an unremarkable hotel restaurant in (pick one of) Dubai/Dallas/Toronto/etc. Places like JG and EMP do not feel like that.

My argument is that Jungsik doesn't, in fact, look like that at all. But even supposing it does, it appears to me that the limitation is the critic's, not the restaurant's.


Sure. But you've really can't do anything that could look like generic hotel restaurant these days. Whether restaurants should be criticized on this count is another issue but investors and designers have to avoid that look.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#74 oakapple

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:41 PM

Sure. But you've really can't do anything that could look like generic hotel restaurant these days. Whether restaurants should be criticized on this count is another issue but investors and designers have to avoid that look.

I have been to generic hotel restaurants. This just didn't seem to be one, and if it didn't strike me that way, I suspect it didn't strike them either.

Had I been hired as a consultant, I would have warned them about the tablecloths and the prix fixe format, two obvious turnoffs for current critics. That it would be compared to a hotel never would've occurred to me. I think that's just wrong.

Beyond that, we need to hope that people will keep opening things that defy what the critics want—because what they want is generally not very good.
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#75 Sneakeater

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:41 PM

I actually think JG DOES look like a generic hotel restaurant.
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