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oakapple

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Everything posted by oakapple

  1. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    One could assume, in a broad sense, that they are satisfied. But I don't think one can assume that they're micro-managing his agenda: "Frank, we didn't get very many hits on the website when you reviewed Ici. Our advertisers don't like one-star family restaurants in Brooklyn. We need more restaurants with chefs that have been on the Food Network."
  2. 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.
  3. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I don't think a "business sense" explanation can really account for Bruni's choices of review targets. If you look at his "discretionary" reviews — those not mandated by events beyond his control — he's really all over the map. He sometimes chooses obscure places in out-of-the way neighborhoods that had no buzz, that most Times readers had never thought about and would probably never go to. In a broad sense, the Times employs a restaurant critic because the paper believes that the reviews attract readers. But I don't see the evidence that Bruni is making his week-to-week reviewing decisio
  4. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    That's really not true. Many reviews remain substantially accurate for very long periods of time. Certainly for the major restaurants there is no good reason why they couldn't be kept up-to-date. People who post here tend to think that La Grenouille hasn't gotten a new client since the Johnson administration, but that's an over-simplification. When I dined there, I saw numerous tables with young people (i.e., appearing to be under 40) — and I don't mean people dining with their parents or grand-parents. The average age was definitely higher than at Momofuku Ssam Bar, but even a grand
  5. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Actually, you are right: two stars. But for some reason, the restaurant search box does not find it (the paper's main search engine does).
  6. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Besides that, they don't list it on their website as a one-star restaurant. You'd have to do a very deep archive search to find the old review. I'm not sure how far back their "statute of limitations" goes, but it's somewhere around the Bryan Miller or Ruth Reichl era. As far as I can tell, restaurants reviewed by Sheraton or Sokolov, and not reviewed since, no longer have their stars. A search for Cafe des Artistes returns no results. A search for Le Veau d'Or returns a Ruth Reichl blurb (without stars), and it even has a date (4/98)! I am pretty sure that Reichl never reviewed Le Veau d
  7. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    (snip) That would be a valid response if, in fact, the star ratings were presented as "snapshots." The problem is that they clearly aren't. Dating them would not, alone, be sufficient to render them nonmisleading. I agree with you, because people don't read disclaimers. Adding dates, however, would be helpful at the margin. If the blurb notes that the Times has not visited the restaurant since 1996, there are at least some readers who would figure out that the information ought to be taken with a grain of salt.
  8. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    The Oceana review would be just as outdated, even if they removed the stars. Whether a review is outdated has nothing to do with whether stars are awarded at the end of it.
  9. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I don't think they do, either. But Bruni and his predecessors have said, at various times, that they take the assignment of stars quite seriously. Ruth Reichl, for instance, said that it really pained her that she was not able to find a four-star restaurant that owed nothing to French tradition. I don't think anything or anyone stood in her way, except for the fact that she took her assignment seriously, and couldn't honestly award four stars to any such restaurant. Likewise, I assume that paper's other critics take their various beats seriously—notwithstanding the fact that the reas
  10. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    But you also said numerous times that you don't think very many people look at the website anyway, and that those who do probably aren't New Yorkers, and therefore don't rely on it for restaurant advice. What was the point of that observation, if not as a justification for the website's inaccuracy. If you had some other reason for repeatedly making that point, then what was it?
  11. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Both Bruni and his predecessors have said that they have pretty wide latitude to decide what to review. There was no great public demand to review Second Avenue Deli. It's a niche place, well afield of his usual territory. As others have noted, the paper had a pretty good backgrounder on the place fairly recently, and Bruni added little. My sense of Bruni is that if he were spending his own money, and even if money were no object, a good pastrami sandwich would be far more appealing to him than the best meal La Grenouille is capable of serving. He wrote multiple blog posts, as well as a f
  12. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    We don't know the details, but after Sheraton and Miller had been doing it that way for at least a decade between them, Ruth Reichl just stopped cold turkey. Then, all of a sudden, Frank Bruni re-introduced the double review, though he does it a lot less often than Sheraton and Miller did. I prefer not to infer some vast conspiracy. I think it is just reviewer preference. But to reitarate something I said above...I am not suggesting that all of the reviews need to be kept updated. That is unrealistic. I am suggesting that, without much effort, Bruni could keep the four, three, and "wannab
  13. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Given that there is no realistic chance that the star system will be abolished, I prefer to suggest ways that the paper could do a better job of keeping its ratings up-to-date. It's true that each review is a snapshot-in-time, but I think many of them stay current for an awfully long time. Frank Bruni has written 22 three-star reviews and 4 four-star reviews in 44 months on the job. I'll bet that a majority of those reviews—probably an overwhelming majority—still provide today a reasonably accurate portrait of what's going on at the restaurant. I'm sure there are three-star reviews from t
  14. oakapple

    Dovetail

    I didn't have a strong feeling about this one. It got three stars from Adam Platt, but because Platt so rarely awards three stars, it's hard to get a baseline on what he thinks that means. It got three stars from RG, but...don't get me started. I loved Fraser's work at Compass too, but that netted him only two stars. There are weeks when I have a very strong feeling about the probable outcome, but this wasn't one of them.
  15. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Which restaurants do you think it would exclude? You previously posted a list, and everyone said, "No, he clearly didn't mean that." So which are the restaurants that would be excluded, as a result of which the system wouldn't work?
  16. oakapple

    Little Owl

    For what it's worth, I walked into Little Owl with a party of 3 at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday evening, and they couldn't seat us—even at the bar. We then walked 5 blocks to Market Table and were seated at the bar immediately. The two restaurants are extremely similar, but apparently the dining public has rendered a verdict as to which is better. I found Market Table not quite as good as L.O. (though I've paid only one visit to each), but Market Table is a more pleasant place to eat. I am more likely to go back to Market Table, simply because it doesn't require as much advance planning to get in.
  17. oakapple

    Little Owl

    I think you may be exaggerating what the typical cook out of cooking school can do. I think nearly every neighborhood has a restaurant with similar ambitions to The Little Owl. Most of them just aren't as good. Heck, the same owners opened Market Table, a place just a few blocks away with practically identical ambitions, and most observers don't think it's quite as accomplished as The Little Owl. It's a difficult thing to do.
  18. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I think you'll find that it is very difficult to separate the discussion of Bruni from the discussion of the rating system he uses.
  19. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    and this has what to do with Dining & Wine? (other than proving that online readers of the NY Times outnumber print readers 10-1...and it stands to reason that most of them aren't in NY (at least 136 million to be exact) and therefore aren't likely to be looking up NY restaurants) That, as they say in the law, is assuming facts not in evidence. I know plenty of New Yorkers who regularly read the Times online (I am one of them). I don't know where you'd get the idea that 90% of the online readers are out of town.
  20. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Aaron T can defend himself, but I didn't interpret him that way at all. I am quite sure that his criteria were meant to include places like CdA and La Grenouille. He never explicitly eliminated them. He merely used the word "ambitious", and you decided that these two restaurants (along with a boatload of others) could never qualify. I'm sure he didn't mean that.
  21. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    In the first place, I agree with Wilfrid and Sneakeater that the Times has a duty of care to publish accurate information, whether traffic is high or low. Besides that, you're treating the "paucity of traffic" as a demonstrated fact, with no evidence of that whatsoever. In fact, I believe you stated upthread that this was just a "feeling" you had, with no data behind it at all. We're long past the Web 1.0 days, when people made huge investments in websites because of the mere hypothetical possibility of traffic. The Times website is a very expensive undertaking. They sell adds based
  22. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    true. but Yasuda is a three star restaurant because it is that good. not because the Times has made any effort to reaffirm it. the inherent stability of many restaurants is irrelevant to the shelf life of stars. again, I think we misspeak when we say a restaurant "has three stars".... it's accurate to say that a restaurant "received three stars".....but not more than that. You're making a mighty fine distinction that I doubt anyone else would make. The Times continues to list Yasuda as a three-star restaurant, which suggests to the average reader that the information is meani
  23. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Actually, I think many restaurants are fairly stable over long periods of time. For instance, Sushi Yasuda is carrying three stars from the William Grimes era. I suspect Grimes's verdict—not just his three-star rating, but also the discussion behind it—remains largely, if not totally, as valid today as it was then.
  24. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Your "ambitious at the time of the review" formulation seems to me incorrect. Let me rewind a bit: this started out as a discussion of the types of restaurants suitable for full reviews, and which are suitable for the "$25-and-under" reviews (or something of that ilk). In any era, Café des Artistes would have been a "Restaurants" review. Let us suppose that it was never any more ambitious than it is today. Nevertheless, it would not have been relegated to a "Casual Dining" section. It would always have been a full "starred review" candidate.
  25. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    According to Steven Shaw's research, restaurants are specifically designed with a certain number of stars in mind. Daniel Boulud doesn't think that Bar Boulud deserves three or four stars, and he won't be disappointed with two. I believe the whole Momofuku Ssam Bar team celebrated when their restaurnant got two. People in the industry aren't that naive about how the stars work. People care about stars because they're worth money. Chefs have incentive clauses in their contracts based on earning or retaining a certain number of stars. There is clearly a logic behind Bruni's choices. He
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