Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:08 PM
Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:10 PM
Oakapple once said that he didn't think price should factor into restaurant ratings. I never thought he really meant it. Hakkasan proves that wrong, right? You can't really rate it without taking the prices into account.
Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:22 PM
Perhaps the context of Oakie's comments was the fiasco of Bruni's Modern reviews. Price shouldn't be the determining factor, to the extent you rate a restaurant with worse food above a restaurant with better food.
Why live your life when you could curate it?
At the Sign of the Pink Pig
Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:29 PM
Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:30 PM
Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:55 PM
Yes, those were the cases I was thinking of. It's actually quite common that a restaurant gets a rave review, and promptly raises its prices. A great chef is probably going to remain great, but prices can change as quickly as you can run a new menu through the laser printer.
Since it's more fun to speculate about what Oakapple meant rather than waiting for him to explain it himself, thinking back, I think what he might mainly have meant is that price can't be a controlling positive factor. Because when a place gets a high rating for excellent food at lower-than-expected prices, the prices often go up in the wake of the review. Think of Country.
Of course, anything could change after the review is written. But of all the things that could change, the price is the most easily and frequently modified. I therefore have concerns about that being the main reason for giving a restaurant extra stars, above what it would get if it were "normally" priced.
In a blog post several years ago, I gave several other reasons why price shouldn't be taken into account. If you're going to subtract a star for being over-priced, I think it needs to be really egregiious, and if any restaurant fits that description, Hakkasan does.
Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:00 PM
Pete Wells hasn't yet written a truly "good" one-star review, by which I mean, a review that the reader would perceive as mostly positive. Sifton and Bruni did write a number of those, but so far Wells has not.
But taking price into account explains why Pete Wells's one-star review was a pan. Sure, one star means "good". But "good" isn't good enough at these prices.
Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:27 PM
Posted 25 June 2012 - 03:10 PM
I note this only because I'm getting pissed off in general. The same thing is happening with Brasserie Pushkin. You get these restaurants that are branches of international chains, charge too much for their food, and have tastelessly overelaborate decors -- and reviewers refuse to evaluate the food on its merits, but instead dismiss the place outright.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend either of those places (well, I'd kinda recommend Pushkin, if you're in the mood -- Hakkasan certainly not) -- but it's just wrong to say they out-and-out suck. They just don't.
Posted 25 June 2012 - 03:33 PM
Posted 25 June 2012 - 03:54 PM
Truth is, I like the food. I almost actually love most of what I tasted in two visits. It’s the perfect place to go when your son the Hedge Fund genius is treating or if your best friend is dating a Russian oil oligarch.
My translation is "good but ..."
She also mentioned that on her 2nd visit she was there with Michael Tong, owner of Shun Lee Palace, and whether one or both of them was recognized. Surprise. She liked her 2nd visit more.
So you can say my Hakkasan outing is privileged. Clearly we’re getting the full chili blast out of respect while The Post’s anonymous Steve Cuozzo and the Times Pete Wells, under some nom de forchette, were served dumbed-down versions deemed safe for ghost-people palates.
We agreed we’d probably never come back but thought maybe tourists would, especially those for whom 43rd Street is not that far from their hotel. So, you might ask, what was I doing there months later with Michael Tong? He’d reported eating there once and liking the food. I thought the place deserved a second bite.
“It’s good for people to see that Chinese food can be expensive too,” Tong observed. He insisted it was his turn to pay. I guess my secret for a happy outing at Hakkasan might seem frivolous. Persuade the captain you want it spicy. Don’t miss the steamed dim sum. Be sure it’s the other guy’s turn to treat.
“I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.”
"One of the Evil Twin beers I tried smelled like a foot." - LiquidNY
"I don't have time to point out all the ways in which you're wrong" - irnscrabblechf52
Posted 25 June 2012 - 05:41 PM
"Good, but" is different from "sucks".
Posted Yesterday, 04:34 PM
The food was its usual not-bad-but-expensive self.
What I want to state publicly is the horrible scam the sommelier pulled. The kind of thing that shows you why it's best to avoid tourist restaurants.
She came over to our table and cheerily announced, "I'm the sommelier! Can I help you?"
"I think we have things in hand," I answered. "Give us a few more minutes."
"I can help you!" she chirped. "It's what I'm here for!"
"What are you looking for?" she went on.
"A very light red," I said.
"I think you'd like this Barbaresco," she said, pointing to a $250 bottle.
"I don't think we want something that grand," I said.
"Oh, so maybe this [proprietary Veronese wine]," she said, pointing to a $200 bottle.
"We're staying more in the neighborhood of $50 tonight," I said. "Give me a few more minutes with the list and I'll tell you what we want."
"We probably won't have what you order," she said. "We're in the middle of transitioning our stock."
"Wish me luck," I replied.
Upon her return some minutes later.
"This Xinomavro is what I had in mind," I said.
"Have you ever had a Xinomavro?" she asked. "That's my most returned bottle. People say it tastes too much like rose."
"Yeah, that's kind of what I wanted," I said. "What would you recommend instead?"
"This Turkish wine," she said, pointing to a bottle that thankfully was in the same price range as the Xinomavro. "It's got lots of toasty fruit and deep chocolate accents."
"That's what I DON'T want," I said. "I think it would overwhelm your food. We'll be brave and stick with the Xinomavro."
Which was perfect, if I say so myself.
The point here is that the somm seemed to view her job as, first, foisting expensive bottles on customers she assumes are on NY vacation budgets and too meek not to live up to her apparent spending expecations, and then, second, protecting customers she assumes to be unsophisticated from wines outside the mainstream International Style. The first one is a scam; the second one is probably a justifiable experience-based variation on what recently happened to Daniel in that Sichuan place. My point is, who wants to subject themselves to this?
Posted Yesterday, 04:42 PM
you should have bought the barbaresco and returned it as flawed - and if she complained said something like
"oh - I guess you aren't very sensitive to TCA. What a blessing in a job like yours"
then bought the Xinomarvo
Posted Yesterday, 05:24 PM
I don't remember ever thinking that Xinomavro was too close to a rosé.
If you enjoy it, who cares? -- taion, October 29, 2013
notorious stickler -- NY Times
deeply annoying and nitpicking -- Molly O'Neill, One Big Table