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The Pete Wells Thread


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#316 yvonne johnson

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:21 PM

I thought that had been recently reviewed, but, was it Platt?
It was not a new dish, as I recognised my tooth marks. Wilfrid

#317 Sneakeater

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:25 PM

Whoever it was, it wasn't the Times.
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#318 oakapple

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:34 PM

Adam Platt gave Jungsik one star:

Scratchpad: Three stars for the ambitious cooking, minus one for the dreary space and another for the awkward and expensive prix fixe setup.


Sifton slammed it in his final "Hey, Mr. Critic" column:

I wish I could send you back to Chanterelle, which closed in 2009. The restaurant occupied a wide-windowed space on the corner of Harrison and Hudson Streets in TriBeCa that was among the most beautiful dining rooms in New York City. Now it is a strange and untested haute Korean restaurant called Jung Sik, which most closely resembles an airport lounge. It is early yet, so Jung Sik may rise to great heights in the Manhattan ecosystem, but as of last weekend it was still puttering around on the runway, serving lush plates of not particularly interesting (and not particularly Korean!) food.


Now, at that point the place was VERY new (as in, a couple of weeks old), and I would argue that Sifton's comment verged on unfair. But the room hasn't changed, and we know enough now to say that Wells is in the Platt/Sifton/Bruni mold. I think they'll be extremely fortunate to get out with two stars. We know what Pete Wells thinks a three-star restaurant looks like, and this ain't it.
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#319 Wilfrid

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:35 PM

I went to a Papaya Dog last night, but I can't get 300 words out of it.

#320 oakapple

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:37 PM

I went to a Papaya Dog last night, but I can't get 300 words out of it.

You clearly aren't with the program. You need to go 12 times. After at least one of those visits, put an unfinished Papaya Dog in your pocket and travel to a dozen other hot dog joints for comparison.

After that, 300 words (or far more) will come easily.
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#321 Sneakeater

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:44 PM

Is that a hot dog in your pocket, or . . . .
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#322 Sneakeater

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:56 AM

So I'm just back from a dinner at Empellon Cocina. Based on this one (truncated, cuz I'd been to a cocktail party beforehand) meal, I'm about as excited about this place as Wilfrid is.

But say I'm the Times reviewer, responsible for bestowing stars. Do I give it three, because I'm so excited?

Hell no. This is a one-star place that gets bumped up to two, maybe, because I think everything is so good.

So let's go back to IBA. Don't forget: I like IBA. But I think a stronger three-star case could be made for Empellon Cocina than IBA -- and Empellon Cocina is a restaurant that never in a million years could be deserving of three stars. Awarding three stars to IBA, just because the reviewer happened to enjoy it a lot, is a mockery of the star system.
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#323 oakapple

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 02:29 PM

Yup. I think IBA has now displaced Bar Room at The Modern as the most egregious critic error, at least in the Bruni-Sifton-Wells era, and offhand I don't recall a bigger error from any earlier critic.
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#324 Wilfrid

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:14 PM

It's hilarious to suppose that IBA is better than Empellon Cocina (based on my limited experience, blah, blah...).

#325 Orik

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 04:47 PM

Yup. I think IBA has now displaced Bar Room at The Modern as the most egregious critic error, at least in the Bruni-Sifton-Wells era, and offhand I don't recall a bigger error from any earlier critic.



We had very late dinner at IBA last night. I want to tell you a few things about it - first, as FoodDabbler has pointed out, they're out of 'cruterie because unlike Katz's that has a magic pastrami factory in the basement, or Murray's that have the password to the affinage caves of Ali Baba on Bleecker, they probably never planned to produce enough for 200+ covers a day (I'm guesstimating here but on their busiest days it might be 400 covers from breakfast to dinner).

The FOH fires everything at the same time still, and the kitchen won't pace it. Everyone is clueless if well meaning... actually not everyone is even well meaning. I saw the coffee bar woman give one of the busboys a beer she'd poured with about 50% head. He told her it was too much so she tapped it against the bar a few times (to no effect except making the beer flat, of course) and told him to deal with it, she should be fired. The food is really much better than neighborhood Italian - if you want to put it on a relative scale then let's say if Rouge & Blanc is two stars under the current regime, then IBA is 1.5 stars, or maybe 1.75 if everything worked (like, last night, they ran out of anchovies so the pasta with anchovies was simply made without them, no comment offered by the restaurant). Three stars is plain silly and implies they've reached where they may want to go one day - their non existent cold cuts are up there with the best, the pastas are second to none.



However, I have a feeling that just as you claim Wells is biased against posh places, even if IBA would be fully functioning - friendly waiters navigating the tight spaces, a solicitous barkeep compensating in pours and advice what's lacking in elbow room, a wine guy with an agenda, Roscioli's deli counter, perfect pastas, etc. - you would still claim it can't be a three star place just as you were doggedly against such high ratings for Ssam Bar in its glory days even though the food was substantially better than Rouge & Blanc, for example, and the room seemed tranquil and well controlled compared to IBA. Posted Image


I'd be surprised if EC gets more than two stars, actually even two stars is borderline given my limited experience.
I never said that

#326 oakapple

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 05:04 PM

I have a feeling that just as you claim Wells is biased against posh places, even if IBA would be fully functioning - friendly waiters navigating the tight spaces, a solicitous barkeep compensating in pours and advice what's lacking in elbow room, a wine guy with an agenda, Roscioli's deli counter, perfect pastas, etc. - you would still claim it can't be a three star place just as you were doggedly against such high ratings for Ssam Bar in its glory days even though the food was substantially better than Rouge & Blanc, for example, and the room seemed tranquil and well controlled compared to IBA.

As long as one rating needs to encompass food, service, and ambiance, I do not think Ssäm Bar or IBA can ever (correctly) receive three stars.

Ssäm Bar, at least, served three-star food at one time, or so people say. I never managed to be there when it happened, but people I trust say it did, so I accept it as true. Nobody but Pete Wells thinks that IBA is sending out three-star food.

Regarding Pete Wells and posh places, I think he is similar to Bruni. He will occasionally have to give good reviews to some of them, but he feels instinctively uncomfortable. The restaurant has to win him over, and most won't. In a casual space, it is the opposite: he is in his element, and to get a bad review, the restaurant has to screw up.

I'd be surprised if EC gets more than two stars, actually even two stars is borderline given my limited experience.

I can see a two-star restaurant hiding in that space. It wasn't two stars when I went, but it was only a week or so old. If I had to guess, it's the sort of place likely to eventually reach its potential.
Marc Shepherd
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#327 oakapple

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 09:06 PM

Pete Wells dines anonymously at Roberta's.
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#328 nuxvomica

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 12:13 AM

Pete Wells dines anonymously at Roberta's.

and what a difference it makes
“Eat me,’’ it says. “Eat me and die.’’ -- Jonathan Gold

Everything is always OK in the end. If it's not OK, then it's not the end.

#329 Sneakeater

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 09:16 PM

Enough, enough.
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#330 irnscrabblechf52

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 09:23 PM

Enough, enough.


They have several clever ideas at RedFarm. First, the menu has been tailored for a Western palate, with none of the bland and slippery specialties that non-Chinese eaters find so enigmatic. It also seems designed for the age of Yelp, when the entire world can be split into either Nothing Special or OMG. RedFarm’s cooking runs hard toward OMG.


2 stars? enough said.
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