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oakapple

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Everything posted by oakapple

  1. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    and yet 99% of the restaurants reviewed fall into a particular genre--you think that's coincidence? What is the genre that you think 99% of the reviewed restaurants fall into?
  2. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I'm pretty sure she was saying that restaurants like 2nd Avenue Deli should not be reviewed. Her reasons were tough to grasp—I, at least, was unable to grasp them—but her bottom line was clear enough. My understanding of your view is that you think a place like 2nd Avenue Deli might be a legitimate review target if the food were good enough. But you don't think 2AD's food is good enough.
  3. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I'm not so sure about that, because there are plenty of places Bruni reviews where he is recognized every time—any Vongerichten or Boulud restaurant, for example. But he reviews them anyway. he's still formally anonymous I think he can be "formally" anonymous anywhere—that is, as "anonymous" as he is at Jean Georges.
  4. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Actually, I think Bruni devotes quite a bit of thought to how the 52 reviews per year should be allocated. Any review requires multiple visits, and therefore advance planning. Obviously he has the right to just toss the rules and review something because he feels like it. In practice, I suspect that rarely happens. Maybe 10% of the time I feel like he wasted a slot. But when I say so, invariably someone will say, "No, he didn't." So it's not that clear cut.
  5. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I'm not so sure about that, because there are plenty of places Bruni reviews where he is recognized every time—any Vongerichten or Boulud restaurant, for example. But he reviews them anyway.
  6. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I just don't see it in Bruni's column. The Times gives space to much more than just Bruni's weekly "star system" reviews, and I could very well imagine them covering a supper club in that format. Just not as a "restaurant review".
  7. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    That's right...it doesn't. We agree.
  8. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Are you referring to establishments like Bite Club? The title of Frank Bruni's column is "Restaurants". As good as Bite Club is, it's not a restaurant. for the record, I know for a fact that it's not that simple. [i'm hesitant to say more in a public forum about what were essentially private communications.] I know that. I was making A) the descriptive statement that Frank Bruni doesn't review supper clubs; and B) the normative statement that I don't think he should. Maybe he will someday (he does a lot of things I disapprove of), but for the moment his actual practice (for whatev
  9. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I think you've forgotten a piece of the reviewing criteria. When $25-and-under places get a full review, it's practically always because they're notable for food. Whatever other notability they may have is secondary. But Waverly Inn isn't a $25-and-under place. It's one of those middle-ground places I mentioned, where many factors besides the food figure in the decision to review. Masa, of course is in the $60-and-over category, and there is no actual decision about such places: it will be reviewed.
  10. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Are you referring to establishments like Bite Club? The title of Frank Bruni's column is "Restaurants". As good as Bite Club is, it's not a restaurant.
  11. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Absolutely not, because notability should be restricted to food. Note: my opinion, not my attempt to state Times policy. I think you're mixing up policy and judgment. Though he has never directly said so, I believe Frank Bruni would agree with you that a place like 2nd Avenue Deli is review-worthy only if it's notable for food reasons. He believed that 2AD met that requirement. If he's wrong about that, it's not a policy error, but a judgment error—the kind of thing you cannot expect the Times ever to correct until they get a new critic.
  12. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    It may make a big difference, but aren't both statements true?
  13. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Clearly they don't, since Bruni has reviewed only two delis in over 3½ years on the job. 1. that simply doesn't follow at all. all that it says is that there aren't very many notable delis. well, yeah. I was simply giving an example of the principle that "$25-and-under" places get starred review only if the critic thinks they're notable, but $60-and-over places are guaranteed a review no matter what. There's a middle ground where you can practically guarantee that Bruni at least tries the place, but he might skip reviewing it. To be more specific, you can be sure that Bruni has (
  14. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Clearly they don't, since Bruni has reviewed only two delis in over 3½ years on the job.
  15. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Yes, I think that is a close-to-accurate statement of the system. I don't think the main critic has ever actually reviewed a taco stand (or any place that doesn't actually have seats). But yes, in general the extremely casual places aren't reviewed unless the critic feels at least one star can be justified, whereas a Chodorow restaurant will be reviewed whether it's bad or good. There are also exceptions to nearly every rule. Bruni reviewed Freemans (one of his many borrowings from the $25-and-under segment), only to give it zero stars. I thought that review was one of the most pointless
  16. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    La Grenouille is a once-a-generation restaurant. Even in 1962, when it opened, such places were rare. Even then, casual restaurants (as casual was defined at the time) greatly outnumbered the formal French. You seem to have this mental picture that, in 1962, everyone dining out was going to La Grenouille, or some place like it. It's just not so. dining used to be a special occasion thing for a much larger percentage of the population than it is today. This is probably true. But if you do the research, I think you'll find that, no matter what decade you look at, restaurants like La Grenou
  17. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Short hand for "sit down place with reasonably long wine list where you'd expect to spend a couple of hours over a full meal" which is more or less what I posted originally. Are you seriously suggesting that 2nd Ave. D. is a similar restaurant to Hearth, say? It's clearly not. But even among restaurants that everyone agrees are "reviewable", direct comparisons are impossible without further categorization. It's highly unlikely that any diner would say, "Hmm...which shall it be tonight? Hearth or Le Bernardin? Well, Le Bernardin has four stars, which means it's better, so let's go there
  18. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    La Grenouille is a once-a-generation restaurant. Even in 1962, when it opened, such places were rare. Even then, casual restaurants (as casual was defined at the time) greatly outnumbered the formal French. You seem to have this mental picture that, in 1962, everyone dining out was going to La Grenouille, or some place like it. It's just not so. Bruni's "the way we want to eat today" is nonsense. It's the way Frank wants to eat, and he just assumes that everyone (or everyone smart) agrees with him. It's just not so.
  19. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Yes indeed. In my view, if Bruni files a blog post or "dining brief" that explains his lack of enthusiasm, then we need not look for a deeper explanation for why he didn't review it. That doesn't mean he got it right, only that his reasons—such as they are—don't require any further speculation. True, but they're also consistent with it being, quite simply, a very good restaurant. The only review so far that really raises eyebrows with me is Adam Platt's three-bagger. It was so far out of character for him that one is tempted to seek other explanations. Still, it might just be that go
  20. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I'm not sure any more what point you're trying to prove. Bruni doesn't review every "reviewable" restaurant. We know that. I'm sure there are UWS restaurants he has skipped. Your original statement was: I don't see how any of your comments have demonstrated this to be true. Maybe Dovetail will be reviewed because it's good. How could your observation ever be proved true, short of Bruni saying, "I wouldn't ordinarily have reviewed this, except that it is located on the Upper West Side"?
  21. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Which is why I mentioned that Brasserie Ruhlmann is pretty much a formula restaurant. It's the same reason why many steakhouses (regardless of neighborhood) don't get reviewed. If it's just following a formula, and not doing it with any particular distinction, then it's not worth reviewing. Oh, Sneak, Sneak...that word, "fussy". It's too Bruni-esque.
  22. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Fives and The View both opened more than five years ago, and Brasserie Ruhlmann is a formula French brasserie (the UWS has those, too). After finding that at least three of your seven examples didn't meet the criteria of Sneak's question, I didn't bother to research the remaining four.
  23. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    why? there are plenty of restaurants at that price point and level of ambition that don't get reviewed. midtown is absolutely riddled with them. The best indication of the critic's view is what s/he says. No critic said, "Well, there's nothing very important about this restaurant, but it's worth reviewing because it's located in a restaurant wasteland." The first review of the restaurant that would become Compass—it was called Marika at the time—was William Grimes's zero-star review on March 28, 2001. In both that review and a Diner's Journal seven weeks earlier, the décor was what g
  24. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    It got reviewed the first time because it was brand new. It got reviewed the second time because a well known celebrity chef (Katy Sparks) joined the kitchen. The third review may well have been a coincidence. Bruni lives on the UWS. One day he found himself hungry and without a reservation. He wandered into Compass because he knew he could get in, and he was surprised at how good it was. (I'm paraphrasing, but that's basically what he said.) Katy Sparks was long gone by then. There have been other Bruni reviews in other neighborhoods that seemed like that—he just wandered in on
  25. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Oh, I think there is. The pattern just isn't as "absolute" as some people make it out to be. There's very little doubt in my mind that Bruni has venerated the casual to an extent none of his immediate predecessors did. This is one of many things Leonard Kim admits he cannot track, because there is no measurement for it.
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