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Everything posted by oakapple

  1. That's exactly what I have been trying to say.
  2. I have never observed a large number of "young foodies" at JG, unless they were remarkably well disguised. I am also fairly sure that if JG opened today, its odds of success would be pretty low. As I've noted multiple times, EMP did not open as the restaurant it is now. It was something else entirely, and then re-made itself (several times over) after the rave reviews poured in. I have not been to EMP in its latest incarnation, but is there a huge number of young foodies regularly enjoying its $225 menu, including waiters who do magic tricks? Surely nowhere near as many as those who gave H
  3. But, of course, I know what oakapple will say to this. LoftOpera, et al., are like the very good Brooklyn restaurants: amazing for what they are, but incapable of approaching the technical reaches of the Met, or fielding a full orchestra that is one of the best in the world, or presenting spectacle and star singers. For that, you need the Met (or expensive fancy restaurants). That's quite true, but it's not what I was going to say. Rather, it's this: Although you've strongly urged changes to the standard presentation format for classical music—and have supported those changes with
  4. It opened with two stars in 1993, and was upgraded to four the following year. Yes, Boulud did have four stars previously at Le Cirque.
  5. Aquavit is precisely what we are saying is non-existent nowadays: a successful luxury restaurant that was not a particular chef's brand extension. Aquavit did not get three stars immediately, but it was always "that kind of place". It was opened in 1987 by a Swedish hotelier, but they had no other New York restaurants.
  6. I get the fact that there's a set of things, taken together, that send a particular message, which anyone is entitled not to like. But there's nothing offensive about that, any more than Ssäm Bar's uncomfortable stools are offensive. It's a perfectly normal restaurant that's not to some folks' taste. It might be a bad idea to build a restaurant that's unappealing to a large swath of the dining public. But that's not offensive. It's just stupid.
  7. Yes, JG could be described as an extension of an existing brand, as he had both JoJo and Vong at the time.
  8. Jean Georges opened with four stars, right out of the gate. It's true that Daniel did not open with four stars, but it was always a luxury restaurant. It's not like the cases I've mentioned, where a restaurant was originally much humbler, and then started adding the trappings after the great reviews poured in.
  9. Surely you can see that there is something fundamentally different between Paula Deen and "presenting butter to diners in tight little volutes shaved off a block with the warmed edge of a spoon." The latter is utterly inoffensive, even if the average person wouldn't see the reason for it.
  10. If that is offensive, what is your term for Paula Deen?
  11. Brooklyn Fare was originally much humbler and far less expensive than it is today (see Richman's review). Like a number of places we have been discussing, it didn't open as a luxury restaurant. It gradually became one as the rave reviews started to pile up.
  12. And even if we do count Jungsik (it's a marginal case*), it's not serving Western cuisine, and is therefore not part of the culture we have been discussing. * On the one hand, Jungsik is still open, so you can't exactly call it a failure. However, in order to stay open, they had to retrench from the original prix fixe-only format. The à la carte options aren't cheap eats, but you can get out of there now for a lot less than the $80 minimum when Wells reviewed it in 2012.
  13. oakapple

    Peter Luger

    Even for USDA Prime beef, the odds of getting the best product at Luger are a lot less than they used to be. I would be surprised if the aging process is the reason for it. Whether USDA Prime is even the best anymore is a whole other question: most of what are considered the better NYC steakhouses continue to serve it. I have never been a fan of the Creekstone product, though that may be a matter of what one is accustomed to.
  14. I don't think Atera is what Adrian meant, when he referred to "that style of restaurant".
  15. Here's something I've never seen before — no doubt old news to the rest of you, but bear in mind I seldom visit no-resy restaurants. I give them my cell number, and they text me instantly (while I am still standing there), to ensure they copied the number correctly. In the text is a link to an app called "The List", which takes about a minute to download and install. After signing on and providing my cell number, the app shows me exactly how many parties are ahead of me, and crosses them off the list as they get seated. I'm never going to visit such restaurants with any frequency, but
  16. oakapple

    Peter Luger

    The one time I went, the steak was alright, but certainly not worth the schlep out to Williamsburg. But fundamentally, it's more about biology than the skill of the restaurant. Nature is capable of producing only so much prime beef, and there's more demand for it than ever. I doubt that the Toronto restaurants have somehow identified a better source that Luger is innocent of; or that they know how to broil it better than Luger does. But with demand being what it is, the odds of finding the best steak at Luger are a lot lower than they used to be. Meantime, the prices keep going up, and Lug
  17. I am not even sure that Betony is an exception. On its originial menu, every entrée except the Lobster was $29 or less. They've amped it up quite a bit since then (currently $95 PF), but that of course was a response to favorable reviews. It didn't open like any of the places Adrian is thinking of. ETA: Come to think of it, I cannot name a successful new luxury restaurant in Manhattan in the last ~5–7 years, that wasn't part of a multi-restaurant brand extension. Of course, there are some for which the jury is still out, Chevalier being an obvious example. I might be missing one or two
  18. Even if you ignore Masson, Gallante had a Michelin star at Cru. And unlike Hergatt's last restaurant, the Times liked Cru. I heard through the grapevine that Bruni was seriously considering it for a fourth star, before it fell apart in the financial crisis. The Times also liked Ciano (Sifton). Normally, a new restaurant from a chef the paper has liked in the past, is granted a review when he opens a new place. The non-review of Juni shows that there are exceptions, but normally you would expect a review, Masson or not.
  19. Walked in at 6:45 last night, and waited 45 minutes. I'll bet the bar next door is really happy that Mission Chinese came to the neighborhood.
  20. That would be my interpretation too, but it's a bit crazy to give four stars for what something could become, or to give extra stars because the dining options there were formerly dismal.
  21. Here's Ben Leventhal's "9 Habits of Highly Effective Restaurants".
  22. The Modern opened as a two-star restaurant. That would almost certainly have been a death sentence, except for: 1) It had a captive museum audience; 2) It had a casual bar room attached; 3) It had a major restaurant empire behind it, that could afford to wait for critical consensus to catch up (as it eventually did). Eleven Madison Park opened as a two-star restaurant, and was largely off the food media radar for many years, before Danny Meyer changed chefs, and only very gradually ratcheted it up to what EMP is now. I will reiterate that sensible people ought to recognize shallow obje
  23. Where is Adrian to decode that when you need him?
  24. The Post's Steve Cuozzo gives a whopping four stars to Le District. I like Cuozzo for his willingness to buck the conventional wisdom, but this one's a head-scratcher. He concedes that Le District's only currently-operating full-service restaurant is Beaubourg, to which he'd give two stars if he were reviewing it alone. Where he finds the other two is a bit of a mystery. I mean, he obviously likes it, and that's fine, but nothing he says (even if all of it is assumed to be true) sounds remotely like four stars.
  25. I think all of us understand that perfectly well. A couple of us are questioning whether that really ought to matter to sensible people who care about food, assuming we stipulate that the food is as good as we (most of those who've been) say it is. See what I wrote above about the reverse-Ssäm analogy. Obviously, at the end of the day the decision is yours, and can be made for whatever reasons you choose, rational or otherwise. No one is going to drag you, kicking and screaming, into an expensive dinner you hate. But there clearly is a role for those seeking to challenge your biases, just
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