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oakapple

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Everything posted by oakapple

  1. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I do think that the Times should break out food, service and ambiance, while also giving an overall rating. I can't see a downside, and I think it would give the ratings a lot more clarity.
  2. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I'll tell you what. I would entirely be for a rating scale for ALL restaurants that rated them on food quality alone. There are good reasons why the current NYT rating system munges food, service and ambiance together. It's the same reason why there has never been a "McDonald's version" of Le Bernardin. People who are interested in that quality of food, are also generally interested in the refined service and ambiance that go with it. There are people who feel differently, but not enough of them to justify a fundamental shift in the paradigm that most restaurants employ.
  3. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I suspect that, even today, the owners of La Grenouille would say that they are aiming to present the absolute best of classic French cuisine. Whether they still succeed or not, that certainly counts as an ambitious goal indeed. Our current NYT critic, and critics generally these days, tend to pooh-pooh that type of restaurant, but the cuisine at La Grenouille requires a considerable amount of skill. I see Café des Artistes as a restaurant that started out with ambitions very similar to La Grenouille and restaurants of that ilk. Even at its best, it probably did never reached the hei
  4. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    It's easy to forget, but foodies were absolutely flocking to Landmarc when it first opened in TriBeCa. Someone on eGullet at the time likened the Landmarc craze to the early adoration of Blue Hill. Unfortunately, Landmarc has been basically phoning it in the last couple of years, making it seem like more of a $25-and-under place with a wonderful wine program tacked on. But in terms of what it started out to be, Landmarc was absolutely a serious restaurant.
  5. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    As several people noted, you have an extremely narrow definition of "ambition". I have no problem seeing every restaurant you listed as "ambitious", though they show their ambitions in different ways. Anyhow, if you take the long view, Aaron's definition would encompass about 90% of the restaurants Bruni reviews anyway. It's only about 1 in 10 reviews (maybe even less) for which there is any issue whatsoever. The point several people have made is that Bruni doesn't cover the "non-traditional" territory very well. For instance, no one would claim that the starred reviews have offered anyth
  6. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Perhaps you would. But I would be more sympathetic to your argument if a significant number of chefs who received favorable ratings said they felt demeaned by it. It's one thing for us to feel demeaned on their behalf, but it's another thing for the actual recipients to feel that way.
  7. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I keep saying I find star ratings demeaning. Did Thomas Keller feel demeaned when he got four stars? I suspect not. Gordon Ramsay may have felt that way when he got only two. But that's the nature of a competitive business: not everyone can be a winner.
  8. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I think that WD–50 follows the "standard model" that Dr. Johnson referred to, a model that also includes Hearth and Le Cirque. Tailor is harder for me to evaluate, because I haven't been there since they revamped the menu. In terms of ambiance and service, Tailor seemed pretty upscale to me, aside from the lack of tablecloths, but as you pointed out, even Perry St. doesn't have tablecloths.
  9. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    it depends upon the price point... Only in the very loosest way. I doubt that even Bruni himself is all that scientific about it, except on those occasions when a place is priced ridiculously out of proportion to merit.
  10. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Differences notwithstanding I'd say that Hearth and Le Cirque are both in the quite formal restaurant with a decent wine list where you'd expect to spend a couple of hours over a full meal category. I'm very confused as to what makes Hearth formal in the slightest. and furthermore, when I sat at the table and did a "full meal" (which it is by no means necessary to do)...it still took no more than an hour. If you squint and look at both from a distance, there are some surface similarities between Hearth and Le Cirque. Both are in the standard appetizer-entrée-dessert model with serious w
  11. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    In the World of the Bruni, however, one star pretty much always means "disappointing to mediocre". Second Avenue Deli was one of the few one-star reviews that did not mean that. Now, Bruni practically always finds a few good dishes. Even his zero-star reviews usually aren't all bad. So it is quite possible to go to those restaurants, and if you order the right stuff, still have a decent time, especially if your expectations are low.
  12. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I'm not sure what the phrase "two star experience" means on a scale that accommodates Spicy & Tasty and Le Cirque with identical ratings. But I do know that a two-star rating supposedly means "very good," yet when you read the text of Bruni's first Le Cirque review, the sense you get is "not very good".
  13. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I am leaning towards "not", mainly because I don't think Bruni is doing a good enough job of covering the restaurants that are unquestionably his territory. For instance, he skipped BLT Market, Market Table, and Gilt under Chris Lee (essentially a brand new restaurant), so that he could review Max Brenner, Katz's, and now 2nd Avenue Deli. As long as there's only one guy doing the main review, he's just not going to have the bandwidth to cover the whole restaurant spectrum. He's clearly spending 90% of his time in higher-end places anyway, while occasionally skipping clearly reviewable pla
  14. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I'd rephrase: "if money means anything to you, then one-star for a cheap restaurant means its pretty good while one star for an expensive restaurant means that it's bad........but, you can have the same quality meal (or even better) at the expensive restaurant as at the cheap restaurant...its just going to cost you a lot more" That seems a bit simplistic to me. Katz's and the Russian Tea Room (both one star) are just not comparable, despite falling on the same rung of the star system.
  15. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Well, Platt gave it one star (despite actually loving the place), but the Times relegated it to $25 and under (Meehan loved it too). I gave it two stars on my blog, which was the best I felt I could do on a NYT-style rating scale. I don't mean where it falls within the star system. I mean, do you think it would warrant a starred review in the Times? I think it presents the same problems as Bruni's review of 2nd Avenue Deli. He would probably give it one star. It would be the Times's only starred barbecue joint. You wouldn't really know if that's because all the others are worth ze
  16. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    they still use it. they just don't review the hollow star restaurants as often as the others. the hollow stars are given by different reviewers - the food editors of the magazine My point was that if you have this system, and then review Hill Country on the "haute cuisine" scale, then someone at New York is asleep at the switch.
  17. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Well, Platt gave it one star (despite actually loving the place), but the Times relegated it to $25 and under (Meehan loved it too). I gave it two stars on my blog, which was the best I felt I could do on a NYT-style rating scale.
  18. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    well, since it does...yes. It depends what you mean by "incorporates". Yes, historically there has been no floor on the type of restaurant that could get a starred review (i.e., McDonald's, Chock Full o' Nuts). But historically, those exceedingly casual restaurants seldom did. And after $25-and-under was introduced, it became rarer still. So I think you could show that the NYT's star system really doesn't incorporate those places, except only very rarely.
  19. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    The best alternative star system I've seen is one that New York magazine proposed, but apparently didn't follow through on. The idea was to use "solid" stars (zero to five) for restaurants, and "hollowed-out" stars (zero to five) for casual dining. But they seem to have abandoned the idea. On the casual scale, Michael Psilakis's Kefi got five casual stars. But then Adam Platt awarded one solid star to Hill Country, though by any rational measure Hill Country is more casual than Kefi. And it's not that Platt didn't like Hill Country. He loved it, and even placed it on his 2007 top-10 list.
  20. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    That is entirely irrelevant. All I want to know is the relative quality of a restaurant. I want to know whether Little Owl is better or worse than Hearth (not whether it's better or worse than Le Bernadin, usually). Because restaurants of that genre are rated on a four star scale, there is sufficient flexibility to draw significant conclusions from star rating. If the rating is the same they're of similar quality (not identical, of course). However, when all delis are rated one star because that's all that they can reasonably aspire to I have no way of knowing that Katz's is significantly bett
  21. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    that's not quite true. he liked most of the food...and complimented Robins as a chef (as well he should).....it was primarily the FOH....which was awful (and proof positive that Bruni is not always recognized) Offhand—and this is without re-reading the review—I recall Chicken Kiev that tasted like airline food, and there were at least a couple of other really horrible items.
  22. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    What is worse, while Bruni is hostile to classically formal restaurants, he is still following the old system to a considerable degree. If he had given four stars to Momofuku Ssam Bar, then we'd really have something to argue about. But while that review was about as ecstatic as Bruni has ever been about any restaurant, he still gave it just two stars.
  23. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    What makes it even clearer is if you read the words. While Bruni may have given one star to the Russian Tea Room, and one star purportedly means "good", the actual words he wrote said "not-so-good". I doubt that there are many people (aside from us) who are comparing prices week to week, but anybody knows a pan when they see it, and RTR was panned.
  24. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    How, then, do you explain Masa (****), Sushi Yasuda (***), 15 East (**), Geisha (*) and Ninja (zero)?
  25. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    No. But someone looking for a special occasion meal would. Conversely, someone looking for a more relaxed meal would know to go for Hearth. My point is that, to the extent anyone relies on NYT stars to make dining decisions, no one would compare Le Bernardin and Hearth directly. Someone looking for a very fancy upscale meal might compare Le Bernardin (4*) to Gilt (2*). And someone looking for a relaxed meal might compare Hearth (2*) to Perilla (1*). But despite using the same nominal scale, no one would directly compare Le Bernardin and Hearth. Of course, that's merely one of many such
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