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The Pete Wells Thread


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#16 Lex

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 05:11 PM

I think the last thing SHO needs is another write-up by Wells. :lol:

Wells' review of SHO was a major miss (based on the contrasting opinions of people I trust.) I wonder how indicative that is of his taste for fine dining? Is he going to be Bruni redux?

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#17 Wilfrid

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 05:17 PM

Pete.. there are tens of thousands of restaurants in NYC. Present a plan to your bosses to visit a few a week.


He's cracked it!

#18 oakapple

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 10:32 PM

Just because I was looking for a way to waste a whole afternoon, I made a list of all the restaurants (still open, of course) that have now, or have had, a Michelin star or 3/4 NYT stars, along with their date of last review, if they had one. It gives a good idea of which "important" reviews are outdated, and to what extent.

Obviously, these criteria omit some important restaurants (i.e., those that have never had at least 3 NYT stars or at least one Michelin star), but at least it's an objective screen that pulls in a high percentage of restaurants that are now, or were at one time, considered "important" by some measure.

Of course, it also pulls in some that are now totally irrelevant (Patroon? Molyvos?) but I thought it was best to leave these in, rather than subjectively mucking with the list.
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#19 Wilfrid

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 10:36 PM

I am so glad you did this. I wasted some ten minutes just trying to pull the JoJo review and check the date, but I couldn't get the page to open. You are a public benefactor.

#20 Sneakeater

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 10:40 PM

Awesome.

Molyvos is funny. It seems to be irrelevant, but every time I eat there (you know where it is) I leave feeling pretty happy about it. I don't think it needs a Times re-review. I'm just saying that people shouldn't write it off.

(You, Wilfrid, and Stone will also want to know about the charming Russian barmaid.)
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#21 Wilfrid

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 10:44 PM

Most egregious: JoJo, Nobu and Next Door, ten to fifteen years without a re-review. (I should explain that I am cutting them slack with anything under three stars: it's just not possible to keep every rating up to date).

Technically KurumaZushi but I am confident in that case that there has been zero change.

But wait. Are you here to ruin my weekend by telling me that Sammy's Roumanian has held three stars for almost thirty years and still holds them today? :o

#22 yvonne johnson

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 10:51 PM

The same will happen with the permanent health/sanitation ratings. There for good.
It was not a new dish, as I recognised my tooth marks. Wilfrid

#23 Sneakeater

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 11:08 PM

But wait. Are you here to ruin my weekend by telling me that Sammy's Roumanian has held three stars for almost thirty years and still holds them today? :o


Not only that. It received held them over two or maybe even three reviews in a short period.
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#24 oakapple

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 01:03 PM

Most egregious: JoJo, Nobu and Next Door, ten to fifteen years without a re-review.

Frank Bruni reviewed Nobu 57 in 2005, while noting that it is basically the same as the other two. If he followed the rules, he'd have to pay 9 visits in total to demote them all.

Sifton pulled a similar trick at A Voce Columbus, giving it two stars, but leaving untouched the obsolete three-star rating that A Voce Madison earned under Carmellini.


But wait. Are you here to ruin my weekend by telling me that Sammy's Roumanian has held three stars for almost thirty years and still holds them today? :o

Not only that. It held them over two or maybe even three reviews in a short period.

Actually, no. Mimi Sheraton gave it two stars in 1976, two stars again in 1978, and three stars in 1982, its final review. She left the post in 1983, and none of her successors bothered to re-review it. That was probably an oversight, as all of the other three-stars have eventually been re-reviewed.

Sammy's was once a hot restaurant. Her final review mentioned: “the Cadillacs and Rolls-Royces are still double parked along the otherwise dark and deserted street,” with “the line of waiting customers spilling onto Chrystie Street.”

It should be noted that Sheraton routinely reviewed two restaurants per week, and occasionally more, which allowed for more frequent re-reviews. Though she obviously liked Sammy's, it wasn't the only restaurant reviewed that frequently. La Grenouille was reviewed in 1972, '75, '76, '80, '85, '86, '91, '93, and '97 (not all Sheraton, obviously). Then, nothing until 2009.
Marc Shepherd
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#25 Wilfrid

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 02:25 PM

Obviously I am not suggesting that a re-review necessarily implies a demotion. Maybe a full review wouldn't be necessary, if the rating stayed the same.

I don't know, there should be some easy way make the ratings more useful than a ten year old copy of Zagat - for the higher profile restaurants at least.

#26 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 03:57 PM

As I've said before, it seemed to my wife and me that Bryan Miller re-reviewed Lutece every three weeks or so. (Always a relief to see it retained its four stars.)
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#27 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 03:58 PM

Aside from the old critics' practice of routinely doing double reviews, maybe there were just fewer reviewable restaurants back then?
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#28 oakapple

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 04:47 PM

As I've said before, it seemed to my wife and me that Bryan Miller re-reviewed Lutece every three weeks or so. (Always a relief to see it retained its four stars.)

For the record, Lutece was reviewed in 1972 (4*, Sokolov), '75 (3*, Canaday), '77 (3*, Sheraton), '80 (4*, Sheraton), '85, '88, and '91 (4*, Miller), '95 (3*, Reichl), and '01 (2*, Grimes).

Aside from the old critics' practice of routinely doing double reviews, maybe there were just fewer reviewable restaurants back then?

I believe Steve Shaw has said this, and I have no basis to disagree. But even in the current thriving restaurant marketplace, a double review per week would be sufficient that no "important" place (Seäsonal anyone?) would ever be skipped, and you wouldn't have 3* places going years without re-reviews, even after a new chef is in place.
Marc Shepherd
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#29 Nancy S.

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 08:59 PM

My hope is that he permanently refrains from any "Cooking with Dexter"-type columns. I have no interest in reading about the precocious palates of other people's children.

#30 Lippy

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 09:58 PM

My hope is that he permanently refrains from any "Cooking with Dexter"-type columns. I have no interest in reading about the precocious palates of other people's children.


My big fear is that Dexter's opinion will get factored into the star rating.