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oakapple

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Everything posted by oakapple

  1. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Rich, I know you hate the Times, but I'm having trouble figuring out what was purportedly wrong with the article. It's true that Frank Bruni and other Times writers already cover the NYC restaurant industry. Bruni just had an article about two months ago that listed (in his opinion) the 10 best recently opened restaurants in NYC. That article didn't need a re-do. The premise of this article was to look at restaurants outside of NYC. Sounds reasonable to me. Every restaurant critic I've ever read, whether at the Times or elsewhere, writes in the first person. I don't see a problem wit
  2. Against that, however, is Bruni's article last week noting that there are actually more "traditional" high-end restaurants opening this year than there were last year. He noted, though, that many of them were planned several years ago, when economic conditions seemed rosier than they are today. Actually, I think one tends to over-spend at small-plate restaurants — that is, you end up spending more than you would at a traditional restaurant with comparable prices. This is because you're never quite sure how many of the small plates you need. The server cleverly suggests 5-6 of them fo
  3. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    It's just a meme. I wouldn't over-analyze it, and I doubt the average reader will either.
  4. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I just don't see how that could ever be done. If Bruni is going to report on restaurants outside of New York, he's going to have to depend on recommendations to whittle the set of candidates down to a manageable list. What you really seem to be saying is that you wish the article had never been written, because I don't think he could have examined a much broader range than he did. But if Bruni didn't write it, he would continue to be as insular and ill-informed as he has been for most of the last four years. Most of his past out-of-town trips have been almost complete wastes of time. For
  5. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    And rather than being the top ten from a broad range of contenders, he just went to fifteen places and chose to list ten of them instead of all fifteen. I think. In other words, it's his top ten from those fifteen. That would be the bit that had me scratching my head. What exactly is so complicated about it?
  6. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    And rather than being the top ten from a broad range of contenders, he just went to fifteen places and chose to list ten of them instead of all fifteen. I think. In other words, it's his top ten from those fifteen. Yes, but there was clearly a selection and narrowing-down process to arrive at those fifteen in the first place. I don't have a problem with that.
  7. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    It's not the first time Bruni has claimed to spot a trend that was old hat.
  8. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Could we have hit a turning point in the Bruni experiment? He takes nationwide tour in search of the best new restaurants. And the verdict? I have to put it in boldface, because it is so remarkable: Several of them are French (or French-influenced), and none are Italian!!!! This is a marked improvement from the Bruni who got a cross-country airline ticket from his employer last year, and all he could write about was a pizzeria.
  9. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Not only that, I recall past BruniBlog posts in which he recounted an incident, but didn't name the restaurant. He said at the time that he wasn't sure the incident was typical, and he didn't feel it would be fair to the restaurant. Bruni understands the impact of what he writes. He knows that he is not merely describing isolated incidents, but giving the distinct impression that the restaurants he named routinely operate that way. The fact that he gave the correction such a prominent placement suggests that he realized the original post was unfair.
  10. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I don't dispute that Bruni had the experience he referred to, and that it was roughly contemporaneous with the review. He wanted to stress the theme that the restaurant was struggling to find its footing. I might not have stressed that theme, but in terms of journalistic fairness he was within his rights to bring it up. I agree that he ought to have checked with Casa Mono whether they really operate that way. We have no way of knowing whether he did, but it's a safe bet the management would complain if he got it wrong. If no correction is posted, I'd assume that he either got lucky (
  11. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    reread. he didn't say that was the current policy at Freemans. he said that such an incident occurred when he dined there. which is correct. past tense. no claim that it is the current policy. he wasn't even obligated to post that it's no longer the policy at Freeman's...cause he never said it was. This one's a no-brainer. Bruni was obligated to check whether Freemans still worked that way. If it didn't, he was obligated, either to choose another example (best), or at least to note that the policy had changed (acceptable). That Bruni issued a rather prominent correction tells me t
  12. oakapple

    Little Owl

    It wasn't on the menu the other day.
  13. I remember talking to the bartender about this when I visited, not long after they opened. None of the major reviews had come out yet. They said that the community board was awfully skittish, having agreed to liquor licenses at places that were supposed to be restaurants, but turned out to be more like bars or nightclubs. At this point, I think A&D has proved that it truly is a restaurant that serves liquor, not a bar that serves a bit of food.
  14. oakapple

    Little Owl

    Technically, I don't think it's PR — that is, I don't think there's a publicist sending out press releases every weekend. But certain places become popular, and it feeds on itself. Sometimes, it lasts for years—Union Square Café is an example. As far as I can tell, Little Owl is still pretty good, but over time there is a danger of menu stagnation. The Pork Chop remains their signature item, so it'll probably be on the menu indefinitely, but what does Campanaro do for an encore? The sliders also received a lot of adulatory press when the place opened, but as Daniel noted, there's nothing all t
  15. oakapple

    Grayz

    Frank Bruni wrote that when he called for dinner reservations, they said, "We don't serve dinner." That's not just weird publicity. It's stupidity. Hopefully they're not still doing that.
  16. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    the same is true of the two-stars. but any restaurant at any aspiration point that is newsworthy enough will get a review. The difference is that I don't think Bruni would willfully skip a restaurant that he believed was worth two stars. He might overlook it inadvertently, or might not have enough time to assess it properly, but if he knew it was a two-star restaurant, it would almost certainly be reviewed. Obviously, I am referring only to those restaurants where he has a choice to make. A new Vongerichten or Boulud restaurant will be reviewed no matter what.
  17. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    That's well put; what I meant to say. I think that comment is far too Manhattan-centric. To give but one example, consider The Riverdale Garden. It so happens it's on the verge of closing, so it's on my mind this week. It got the usual FloFab write-up when it opened. The chef had worked at Lespinasse, Aureole, and Bouley. In Manhattan below 86th Street, it's highly probable this place would have been reviewed in the Dining section, and would have earned at least a star. Because it's in the Bronx (though only about 2 blocks from the subway), it was reviewed in the Travel section, wher
  18. oakapple

    Little Owl

    I stopped at The Little Owl around 6:15 p.m. last night and got a seat at the bar. I was just in time: by 6:30 the bar was fully occupied. I wasn't that hungry, so all I ordered was a plate of the sliders. There's nothing revelatory, but they're fun, and that's what I told the server. "They're perfect!" she replied, almost looking offended, as if merely "fun" wasn't good enough. I also had a glass of a lovely 2005 shiraz. I noted that the wine list offered several half-bottles, which was a nice touch at a place that's so well suited to solo diners.
  19. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I haven't done any research to prove this, but this is my hypothesis: Bruni reviews 100% of the 3 and 4-star restaurants that he knows about, and 100% of the restaurants that aspire to that level (even if they don't ultimately reach it). It is highly improbable that such a restaurant could open without him noticing. Bruni aspires to review 100% of the 2-star restaurants, but because the standards are considerably lower, he could very well have missed a number of them. I mean, The Little Owl is pretty good, but could it honestly be true that there are no restaurants at that level anyw
  20. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    This highlights the different treatment of the outer boroughs. I cannot recall a zero-star outer-borough review. If it ever happened, it was a long time ago. I also cannot recall a three-star outer-borough review, except for Peter Luger. I haven't looked at it systematically, but I think the odds that a "reviewable" restaurant will actually be reviewed are much higher in Manhattan below 86th Street than they are anywhere else. Manhattan above 86th Street is, for all intents and purposes, as much of an "outer borough" as Queens is.
  21. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    The only real difference here is about the translation of motivation into a reviewing decision. The Times is motivated to attract readers, and so is Bruni. His view about what is newsworthy is one factor—though it is not the only factor—that informs what he writes over the course of a year. But I don't think the editors micromanage his reviewing slate (or that they manage it at all), or that he makes individual week-by-week decisions based on what he thinks will attract the most readers. And because he has wide latitude, some of his individual decisions are based on little more than whim,
  22. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    This is probably not so. I agree that there are plenty of Brooklyn neighborhoods with just as much interest in fine dining as their Manhattan counterparts. But Manhattan restaurants—even mediocre ones—attract considerably more business and tourism clientele than almost any restaurant in the outer boroughs. This may not be fair (to the restaurants or the boroughs), but it is a fact, and the exceptions are rare. Now, recall how we got into this discussion: it was the claim, which I believe is manifestly wrong, that Bruni is choosing his review targets with a view to maximizing eyeballs on t
  23. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I think we are in partial agreement. Yes, I am fairly certain that the choice of an amateur critic with plebian tastes was very much motivated by the perceived interests of the readership. But having made that choice, I believe they turned him loose, and that he chooses review targets as he sees fit, based on his own personal interests and biases. Obviously he is a professional reporter, and like any reporter, he wishes to be noticed, and he wishes to make news. But on a week-by-week basis, I do not believe he is being pressured by the management to review this or that restaurant and/or n
  24. oakapple

    A Voce

    I found both the space and the service mediocre, and the food decent but overrated.
  25. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I have no idea what other Times readers think, but obviously Bruni believes that re-reviews are important, because he invests time in them, while there are new and apparently review-worthy restaurants that he passes over. ....in your opinion. Maybe not in the target audience's opinion. I was simply responding to your earlier view that the target audience prefers reviews of new restaurants to re-reviews, which is clearly not substantiated by the review targets he chooses. If you've changed your mind, then obviously the response is no longer relevant. Are you referring to Moim i
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