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Everything posted by oakapple

  1. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Ditto to that. Bruni has reviewed four restaurants that had four stars before he arrived, keeping two and demoting two. He awarded two stars to Masa, but Amanda Hesser had already written that the experience at the counter deserved four stars. That leaves only Per Se where his judgment was not, to at least some degree, informed by what a previous NYT critic had written. But Per Se was a near-exact clone of the restaurant (The French Laundry) widely believed to be the best in America. If that didn't warrant four stars, then what would? So I'd say there just isn't enough positive evidence o
  2. oakapple


    It's a fascinating comparison. The opening concept at Grayz was highly problematic. Despite a very long gestation (just like Café Gray), Kunz got an awful lot of things wrong (just like Café Gray). Given the state of the restaurant when Bruni reviewed it, I felt that one star was correct. But Grayz clearly has the potential to be better than it started out. Given the talent involved, you had to figure it would indeed improve. Bruni's two-star rating for BRSB&G was hard to comprehend, even by his standards. Unlike Grayz, BRSB&G doesn't have much potential to improve. If anything, i
  3. oakapple


    I tried the electronic menu on Monday night, and I had the same troubles with it that Sneakeater did. I'm an I.T. professional with an affinity for gadgets, but I gave up. So did other people I spoke to. Although the Ducasse team may tweak it, I suspect the electronic menu will never be good enough that the average patron will prefer it to a printed list. People coming to a bar—especially the clientele that this kind of place is likely to attract—don't want to learn a new technology before they can order. Though I didn't look at anything like the whole wine list, I thought that the prices
  4. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I thought the trend was towards smaller plates but perhaps larger portions are more profitable. Oh, I don't think so. Restaurants make good money on smaller plates, because by the time the diner orders enough of them to make a meal, the bill is higher than for a traditional appetizer & entrée. It's also a system that promotes uncertainty, and gives servers a chance to upsell — do two people need six plates, or is five good enough? How about four? I don't really know if the small-plates trend is on the wane. The two examples Bruni cited were Ilili and Tailor, and both have indeed
  5. Even by Bruni's standards, two stars for this place was incomprehensible.
  6. I'll have to add the Keens pub (for the burger) to my list. I've dined in the main restaurant three times, and I've not been especially impressed with the steaks. But I love the mutton chop, which is all the more notable because no other restaurant offers it. They also have a good prime rib, which most steakhouses do not offer these days.
  7. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I don't get any sense that Bruni has interests in that direction. He did take a "molecular gastronomy tour" (El Bulli, Alinea, etc.), but that was about it. On most of his out-of-town trips, he seems to stay within his comfort zone, instead of trying to learn something. By the way, thanks to all for the words of welcome. I've been reading the site off-and-on for about a year, but hadn't bothered to register till this week.
  8. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I think that what you're saying there, though, is that there's plenty of three-star dining left in the City. Except for Gilt, Gordon Ramsey, and maybe Le Cirque -- and Del Posto as a sort of twisted parody -- none of the places you list is the kind of hyper-luxurious place that traditionally got four stars.* If Cru got four stars, for example, that would be a sort of change in the typology, to my mind. I think Del Posto, Gilt, GR, Le Cirque, The Modern, and possibly Country, offer luxury at more-or-less four-star levels. At least a few of them (if not all) sincerely considered themsel
  9. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    As the Times has historically defined it, a four-star rating indeed implies both "type" and "quality". That's why there has never been a four-star taco stand, even if the tacos were extraordinary. My point about Bruni is that if he wants to claim that traditional luxury no longer defines excellence, then he needs to tell us what does. I think it's a myth, or at least an exaggeration, that luxury dining is in any kind of coma. Although 2007 was a slow year, quite a few luxury restaurants have opened during Bruni's tenure, such as Alto, Country, Cru, Del Posto, Gilt, Gordon Ramsay, The Mode
  10. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    Well, all four stars means is, "extraordinary". I hope you're not suggesting that, in a city of 20,000 or 30,000 restaurants, nothing is extraordinary. The meaning of this will, of course, change over time. Forty years ago, no one would have conceived of a place like Jean Georges. But at any given time, something is the best. Bruni did review Stone Barns (three stars). I believe that's the only time the paper has ever awarded stars to a restaurant outside of the five boroughs. The Times does review restaurants in the broader NY region, but other writers cover those beats, and they
  11. oakapple

    The Bruni Thread

    I don't think he's in any rush to re-review Daniel, as it poses a bit of a problem for him. He would almost certainly demote it to 3 stars, as he's made clear that he doesn't really like the place. But that would leave only four 4-star restaurants, which I believe would be an historical low. Now, there's no magic number of 4-star restaurants that the city must have, but it makes the category seem moribund if he takes more restaurants out of that level than he is putting into it. Time and again, restaurants aspiring to the top level have opened, and Bruni hasn't liked them—or at least, he
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