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Everything posted by oakapple

  1. Yes, exactly. Although inelegantly phrased, that's what Gordinier is likely getting at. Keller himself has a similar comment in the T&C piece linked above: A good restaurant staff should recognize any diner who makes repeat visits, regardless of who that diner is.
  2. I am sure that is the reason. Chang's reaction doesn't come across very well; but frankly, very few people do, when the subject is an unfavorable review of their restaurant. It's very rare that they are able to come out and say, "Let's face it, we sucked." ETA: After all that, Pete Wells gave it a star, which is the lowest number that Chang has ever received, but still allegedly means "good".
  3. If I'd been lauded the way he has been, it would be tough for it not to go to my head. I well remember the posts here and on eG, shortly after he broke on the scene, and for the next few years thereafter. For a while, people wrote as if he were the Messiah. Jesus Himself could only have dreamed of so many fawning admirers.
  4. It should be noted that almost every Mimi Sheraton review covered two restaurants. Only for "very important" restaurants (usually 4*) would the entire review cover just one restaurant. But one need not go back to Mimi Sheraton. When Frank Bruni started, he wrote a review every Wednesday; plus a "Diner's Journal" on Fridays; plus a "Critic's Notebook" every other month, or so. Those "Critic's Notebook" pieces did not take the place of starred reviews: the weeks they appeared, there generally was a starred review, too. Partway through Bruni's tenure, the DJ column transferred to a blog,
  5. The Times has made its strategy pretty clear: no guesswork is required. They want to be the national paper. A couple of months ago, they introduced a feature called California Today. It is probably not a coincidence that Pete's first starred review outside of NY Metro was in California. I expect that Pete's non-NY reviews will only appear occasionally, and he will only cover restaurants making a claim (even if it's a "failed" claim) to national attention. Westchester restaurants, in contrast, almost never state a claim to importance outside of the local people who visit them. Nothing preve
  6. Today, Pete Wells awards three stars to Cassia in Santa Monica, CA — the first time the paper has bestowed a starred review on a restaurant outside of the New York metro area. It's another step in the direction of, "I write about whatever the fuck I want to write about."
  7. When you are limited to one review a week, you have to decide what constitutes "news". The fact that JoJo is no longer a three-star restaurant is news to no one. It's important, only if you feel the NYT has a moral obligation to keep all of the stars consistent and correct, a duty it relinquished long ago. But ironically, the renovation will probably accomplish what Wilfrid's begging did not: he most likely will review it now.
  8. I don't think so. Whereas we are past the point where formal restaurants can compel their patrons to wear ties, we are not at the point yet where it will feel right to wear shorts.
  9. But when he said that, it was in relation to the typical state of restaurants in NYC 30 years ago.
  10. Per Se is the youngest of them, and it opened 12 years ago.
  11. Isn't that what Sneak said was new about Chanterelle decades ago? I wonder about Montrachet and Bouley too. Not to mention WD-50. Restaurants change. WD~50 never became "formal" the way The Modern is formal, but it moved steadily in that direction, over the years I visited. Bouley today (the version that is about to close) is more formal than Bouley in its previous location, and just might be more formal than the original Bouley (in the space now occupied by Scalini Fedeli), which I never visited. Chanterelle at Harrison street was definitely formal by today's standards
  12. Jacket-only is now so rare, that you have to say it's practically a thing of the past. But restaurants with tablecloths still open with some regularity.
  13. I don't agree with Wilfrid. No tablecloths and jackets are not required, so not formal. The "jacket required" list is down to about 5 places, and it's possible there'll never be another one. And most of those were "jacket and tie," at one time.
  14. I am neutral, since I haven't been there. From the photos alone, I would agree that it seems to fall on the "formal" side of the divide, at least by the standards of restaurant openings in the last 10 years. But I fully understand that the vibe of a place cannot entirely be conveyed by a photo; and there is also a question whether the definition ought to be shape-shifted, just because the last decade has been so hostile (in general) to that type of place.
  15. Calatrava didn't waste billions of dollars. His client did.
  16. I read that earlier and was thinking of posting it but wasn't sure where to put it. Maybe it deserves its own thread? Perhaps this thread, or this thread.
  17. oakapple


    I think that demographic is few and far between, certainly not large enough to keep all the hot restaurants going. Which is precisely why the vast majority of "cool" restaurants don't stay cool for very long.
  18. oakapple


    Restaurants have to be cool for the audience they're meant to serve — even if it's an audience for whom "cool" isn't in their vocabulary. Peter was cool for SoHo in 1990, and his audience grew along with him. As I said, 21 years is a remarkable run. When you open a new place, the credibility of the old place doesn't automatically come along for the ride; it has to be recreated, and sometimes that's harder than it looks. This applies whether you're Charles Masson, going from La Grenouille to Chevalier; David Chang going from Momofuku to Ma Peche; or Peter Hoffman going from Savoy to Back Fo
  19. oakapple


    Savoy was open for more than 20 years, a longevity that puts it in the upper 0.1%, maybe even the upper 0.01%. He has nothing to be ashamed of. When it closed, Hoffman's explanation was that the neighborhood had changed, and it was no longer suitable for that sort of restaurant. (Of course, chefs' explanations for their own closures are always at least somewhat self-serving.) But Savoy had something unique. Once he turned it into Back Forty, it was just one of many restaurants of that particular type, and with none of the history or built-up goodwill with Savoy's customer base. And yeah, a
  20. oakapple


    We don't seem to have a Back Forty thread, so this is as good a place as any to note that Back Forty West, which occupies the former Savoy space, will close on July 15, and chef Peter Hoffman will exit the restaurant business. The original Back Forty in the East Village, which opened while Savoy was still in business, closed a couple of years ago.
  21. I think the NoMad bar would be uncomfortable for anyone dining alone. In what way was this the restaurant's fault? Unless I have missed it, no one has put the Nomad in the "stuffy/fussy/pretentious" category purportedly patented by Chevalier. Has the NoMad bar done something wrong, because cool folk eat there?
  22. oakapple


    My wife and I dined here last week, in honor of our 2nd anniversary. They offer a $135 sushi omakase or a $175 "sushi kaiseki", prices that are (surprisingly) unchanged, at least from the date of Pete Wells's three-star review almost a year and a half ago. The restaurant seems to be full steadily, suggesting A variety of optional extra dishes, none of which we ordered, can push up the price of either menu considerably. I do have some sympathy with the complaint that the chefs are taking the word "kaiseki" in vain. We ordered the lower-priced menu, and therefore steered clear of that heresy
  23. There...fixed it for you. I agree. But equally so, I think it's important to distinguish service that is actually bad, from that which may simply be contrary to the diner's preference or experience. We had a lengthy discussion a few years ago, about real diners who apparently feel uncomfortable about a coat check — an amenity I do not consider especially formal. If people are put off by that, you can imagine all the other things they might dislike in an actual formal restaurant, where the staff has done nothing wrong whatsoever.
  24. The general rule, is that restaurants by out-of-town chefs tend to fail in New York, unless the chef moves here permanently. There have been exceptions — as there are to most rules — and Le Coucou could very well become one of them. I don't recall any such "rule" about restaurateurs. What's odd about Starr is that his first two NY restaurants, if I recall correctly, were Morimoto and Buddakan. Neither failed, but neither was considered a serious restaurant either. He has done much better with Upland, the Clocktower, and now this.
  25. This is more of a statement about you than the restaurant. I mean, to regular patrons of Daniel, that seems "effortless," simply because it is what they know and have always been comfortable with.
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