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marcus

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About marcus

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  1. OK, I'll bite. This is a sincere personal statement, and I have no agenda. I am a lifelong NYC resident, born in Brooklyn, schooled at Columbia, and no youngster. Our recent trip across Northern Spain from Pamplona to Santiago helped clarify what I find compelling in a restaurant. This region is not known as one of the world's great food areas, nor were any of these restaurants among the best in the world. However in some, not all, of the restaurants, such as Echaurren in Ezcaray, Estella del Bajo Carrion in Villoldo, and Casa Marcelo in Santiago, excellent raw materials were treated with respect and the dishes provided bright and clear flavors and simple pleasures. It made me recognize why I don't appreciate Hearth with its muddy flavors. Nowhere did I see the extreme overuse of garlic which destroyed a number of the dishes that we had at Landmarc this past Friday evening. Cooking was also accomplished without dousing with sugar, a very common NY restaurant practice; I might even call sugar NY's secret ingredient, e.g. the caponata at Otto. I have reached the point where, except for some ethnic restaurants with tasty food and prices so low that one has limited expectations, there is no restaurant in NY that I consistently find exciting, or excellent, or even worth going to on a regular basis. I have had some very good meals at Bouley, once in a while, and at Le Bernardin, but not in recent years, but this is saying very little, considering NY's international restaurant reputation. Of the restaurants that I've been to that have been mentioned on this thread as "not on your list", I can agree with just about every one. So my bottom line is that I've reached the point where I just don't find that there is anything worthwhile to discuss. It is a fairly pointless exercise for me to go to restaurants that others may recommend, and explain why I don't like them. I do understand what other people see, and why I see it differently. I make no claim to being objectively correct.
  2. La Broche is the other 2 star restaurant in Madrid. I didn't seriously consider it, as recent buzz has not been very good, and it is Adria inspired, which is not a plus. I have eaten once at Can Fabes in 2003, and enjoyed it quite a bit, better than the meal reported on this thread. I considered it a solid 3 star, probably in the 3d quartile of quality, as compared to the French 3 star places. I really have very little dining opportunity in Madrid, as we will be leaving on Monday, and absolutely nothing serious is open Sunday evening.
  3. It has 2. We're having dinner there this Saturday.
  4. Second the rec. We had two meals there last year. Quite reasonably priced for both lunch and dinner. Across the street from Four Seasons George V I had an awful meal there more recently than you two, I think. Whatever you do, don't do the tasting menu. She is a very well known provencale chef. I only ate in her original Olivades restaurant in the 7th. The food was simple, but good. Perhaps she is overreaching. The other question is tasting menus. Although there are exceptions, in my experience ordering a la carte in Paris yields a significantly better meal in four out of five restaurants.
  5. There is a fine line here before the board approaches sterility.
  6. Their meals at Trio were in part amazing and in part significantly flawed. My impression is that based on those meals, they felt that Achatz had great potential, and they expected him to realize that potential at Alinea. The issue is not what he is capable of producing, which is evidently at a very high level, but what he actually does produce, which in the case of the meal described, was quite poor. One must distinguish between potential, expectation and realization. However, "the level of chefg's cuisine" must ultimately be measured based on realization.
  7. There is no personal hostility in the actual restaurant review, so having it available on the public blog should solve the issue regarding access to the dining information.
  8. Um, why? Not being flippant, but I'm interesting as to how you figure this... If one assumes, that the recent extraordinarily negative reviews are largely valid, which I think is quite likely.
  9. We've heard this from you many times before, that one can only have a valid opinion when one experiences something oneself. This is nonsense. Beliefs are formed from many sources of information, and personal experience is only one and not necessarily the best. I could go into this further, but it really should be apparent.
  10. I personally find this very convincing, as they are very experienced diners, and clearly went into the meal prepared and expecting to love it. Of all of the early reviews that I have read so far on the various food boards, this is the only one that doesn't strike me as being, at least in part, agenda driven. My guess is that the restaurant is in deep trouble, and it will be interesting to see what develops after the initial wave of early adopters finishes washing over.
  11. marcus

    Max

    Only if you go with the most limited expectations. Il Bagatto is much better.
  12. marcus

    Per Se

    There is clearly a trending down in the majority of reviews of Per Se, even without considering the ones that are totally negative. I wonder whether this is due to any real decline, or to people getting over their initial enthusiasms and becoming more objective.
  13. marcus

    Per Se

    I think that what you are doing is setting up a straw man, and using it to assert that anyone who seriously criticizes Per Se doesn't know what they're talking about. I would agree that Lander's review was far out and kind of absurd, but many other more or less negative reviews have been quite credible. In addition, stating that one doesn't agree with Keller's culinary philosophy regarding small portions, is not imposing a framework, it is an independent judgment. One may be fully open minded, and just determine that one doesn't enjoy that approach. With regard to reviews by people who are knowledgeable about haut cuisine, Ardoise once stated his evaluation: "for ingredients I will give 15 and virtuosity 17" I would average this out at 16, perhaps 16+. Although I would not characterize this as negative, it is not particularly positive for a restaurant with its aspirations, and looking at gastroville, it is positioned far from the top among leading restaurants of the world.
  14. marcus

    Per Se

    I don't believe that this is a fair comparison. Gaijin approach a Kaiseki meal as something foreign and exotic. They might enjoy it, or not, but they wouldn't presume to critique the format itself, as they wouldn't view it as being within their sphere of experience and expertise. Per Se is an American restaurant, and it is perfectly valid for some people to categorically criticize the format of very small portions, and for others not to. After visiting Per Se once or twice, those who dislike the format will probably stop going. As long as there are enough tourists and people who like the format, the restaurant will continue to thrive. In all fairness, Keller has been quite clear about stating his philosophy of dining, that less is more. I personally am of the school that more is more, and believe that one appreciates a dish more as one delves into it, and a small dish that may start off exciting, may show its shallowness and flaws if served in a larger portion. I think that the appreciation of wine is very similar, and most of us would agree that one appreciates a great wine more as one continues to drink it.
  15. marcus

    The Bruni Thread

    Credible well consructed review. Leaves me not wanting to go to the restaurant or the bar room either.
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