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.
"None of you get it." - Wilfrid (on the Beatles)
"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".