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Sammy's Famous Roumanian Restaurant


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That's the secret of enjoying Sammy's. Eat as little as possible.

Ketle (sic) One vodka? More like Shtetl One, amirite?

Go with a group.. Its the type of place where if you are eating with 2 people or 6 people you will order the same amount of food, the bar tab is the only thing that will change.   I will speak stri

I take a one star to be a measure of excitement - Wells had a great deal of fun at Sammy's, here's a star. The Shake Shack review puzzles me, because for a star I'd figure he'd have to nostalgically love the joint. In some sense I guess the Louro rating is a failure, though I guess the counter argument would be that the star still connotes "good" and there are a lot of restaurants that don't get ranked at all and that "good" needn't just mean "serves good food" but can also mean "is an immensely enjoyable experience".

 

Unfortunately, no system can do anything about outright errors. Shake Shack and Louro were errors.

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But this is why I think, conceptually if not in execution, the Michelin system is the best.

 

I prefer this far more than your "critic's picks and maybe gives the four star equivalents a special designation."

 

 

That's fair. The problem is that the Michelin system doesn't give us a way to recognize Katz's (if it was actually good) or Russ and Daughters (Cafe or whatever).

 

I guess that's like the Bib Gourmand system, but I would envision something like:

 

Stars: Restaurants that no one goes to and are for tourists, Le Bernardin, Jean Georges, etc.

 

Critic's Picks: Russ and Daughters, Sripraphai/Ayada/whatever, high performing non-starred type places of particular value, Gramercy/Blue Hill, restaurants of particular import, Peter Luger Carbone, that kind of thing.

 

You have to read it: everything else.

ETA: re: errors - for sho. what I'm saying is that we can imagine a system where one star for Shake Shack is justified by the review (best burger joint ever) even if it's in error (it's not the best burger ever).

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I take a one star to be a measure of excitement - Wells had a great deal of fun at Sammy's, here's a star. The Shake Shack review puzzles me, because for a star I'd figure he'd have to nostalgically love the joint. In some sense I guess the Louro rating is a failure, though I guess the counter argument would be that the star still connotes "good" and there are a lot of restaurants that don't get ranked at all and that "good" needn't just mean "serves good food" but can also mean "is an immensely enjoyable experience".

 

Unfortunately, no system can do anything about outright errors. Shake Shack and Louro were errors.

 

 

As is one star for Sammy's Roumanian. If based on the ambience, which I assume it was, he's wrong about the ambience.

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In the now pricelessly rare Eating the Apple, volumes one and two, I just put a star next to places people should pay attention to, for one reason or another.

 

I've never been able to see a solution to the ranking problem, unless you just restrict yourself to ranking comparable restaurants. For years, in France, Michelin was pretty much able to do that: it was ranking restaurants making French food. Of course, the world has changed for Michelin, like everyone else.

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I take a one star to be a measure of excitement - Wells had a great deal of fun at Sammy's, here's a star. The Shake Shack review puzzles me, because for a star I'd figure he'd have to nostalgically love the joint. In some sense I guess the Louro rating is a failure, though I guess the counter argument would be that the star still connotes "good" and there are a lot of restaurants that don't get ranked at all and that "good" needn't just mean "serves good food" but can also mean "is an immensely enjoyable experience".

 

Unfortunately, no system can do anything about outright errors. Shake Shack and Louro were errors.

 

 

As is one star for Sammy's Roumanian. If based on the ambience, which I assume it was, he's wrong about the ambience.

 

 

Did you read it? Wells on your comment:

 

 

But if you need stars to tell you what to think of Sammy’s, I’m not sure I want to share my seltzer charger with you. I’ll give it to those nice North Korean Jews instead.

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("Did you read it?" -- Why do you type stuff like that?)

 

What does that sentence have to do with my comment? Sammy's ambience is widely loathed--including, before anyone asks, by many people for whom it's supposed to have nostalgic appeal.

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I'm going to entertain myself on this sunny Friday lunchtime by compiling comments about the food at Sammy's, many from people who post here (and if it matters, almost all from Jewish folks).

 

While I found the idea of the food interesting because of nostalgic associations, this was not an exemplary rendition.

 

The food was abysmal. I have prepared and eaten almost all of the offerings and even with my limited talents, my own preparations are SO much better that it boggles the mind.

 

I hadn't been there in 16 years...now I remember why.

 

The food ( Chopped liver aside, though not smooth enough for the little goy in me ) was pretty nasty,

 

(T)he food can only be described as mediocre. It's not all bad, it's just amazing how bad some of it is.

 

I wish I could find the comments on the ambience which I recall (maybe they got wiped), but certainly there are people who find the schtick insulting. Anyway, those remarks are much more valuable than Wells' review.

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Because the review essentially said that the star was based on the ambiance. It was like "food mostly terrible, but it was so much fun". So it wasn't clear that you read the review. Wouldn't be the first time someone has commented here without reading the piece they're commenting on.

 

But is the ambiance widely loathed? It's fuller than other places with less loathsome ambiance. Is he "wrong" about it? How can you be wrong about how much fun you had? Wells has fun. He described the kind of fun you would have there, if you are the kind of person who finds that kind of "fun" fun. And it's clear from the review what that kind of "fun" entails. So what role should the fact that Wells had a great time play in the review? It's hard to slot "awesome time" into a star system. But if you're going to do it - and why shouldn't Wells write about a restaurant he thinks is fun - the whole thing seems pretty accurate.

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Yes, the ambiance is widely loathed. Not universally, but widely. It's a controversial ambience.

 

I mean, by all means add a star to River Cafe or The Four Seasons, or wherever, for the ambience. You'll never get everyone to agree, but it's reasonable to say they're lovely places.

 

The Sammy's schtick is aversive to many people, and predictably so, and Wells seems oblivious to that.

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Yes, the ambiance is widely loathed. Not universally, but widely. It's a controversial ambience.

 

I mean, by all means add a star to River Cafe or The Four Seasons, or wherever, for the ambience. You'll never get everyone to agree, but it's reasonable to say they're lovely places.

 

The Sammy's schtick is aversive to many people, and predictably so, and Wells seems oblivious to that.

 

Sure. The aversive nature of it is a more interesting question. Certainly, we could say that the ambiance at many old guard restaurants is "widely loathed" - stuffy, fussy, staid, stiff. This may be "wrong" but plenty of people feel it.

 

At the same time, there are plenty of "hip" places where the ambiance is "widely loathed". There are whole classes of people who refuse to go to Ssam Bar because it's loud, course, uncomfortable, crowded, crass.

 

More problematically, I think, are places like Mission Chinese, Grand Electric up here, maybe Carbone, and maybe Sammy's, which can be interpreted as appropriating sincere cultural imagery and traditions into an ironic hipster tropes.

 

I think people tend to avoid engaging with the last issue unless it is egregious and the cultural appropriation is very obviously inappropriate.

 

But I don't know how to deal with those issues in the context of a review or, really, whether the honesty of one's enjoyment can obviate the last issue.

 

ETA: "hipster" in the modern sense may be the wrong word, but the point is the same.

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Yes, the ambiance is widely loathed. Not universally, but widely. It's a controversial ambience.

 

I mean, by all means add a star to River Cafe or The Four Seasons, or wherever, for the ambience. You'll never get everyone to agree, but it's reasonable to say they're lovely places.

 

The Sammy's schtick is aversive to many people, and predictably so, and Wells seems oblivious to that.

 

Don't forget the cost of that barely adequate meal.

 

Sammy's Roumanian - the Jewish Ninja.

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those remarks are much more valuable than Wells' review.

 

 

Why are those remarks "more valuable" than these remarks?:

 

 

 

I wasn’t asked how I wanted a broiled veal chop. It was seared on the outside and raw inside, the way other places serve tuna.

 

 

 

The fried kreplach are grenades of dough with a tiny core of chopped meat that tastes like dough, too. The latkes are flavorless and textureless, but not weightless.

 

 

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Sure. The aversive nature of it is a more interesting question. Certainly, we could say that the ambiance at many old guard restaurants is "widely loathed" - stuffy, fussy, staid, stiff. This may be "wrong" but plenty of people feel it.

 

 

You're eliding an important distinction. Sure, there are some people who prefer more casual places to formal places, and vice versa, and nobody will ever agree on what makes for perfect dining ambience.

 

The Sammy's thing is something quite different (I assume you haven't been). There bottles of booze on the tables, very drunk customers, and entertainers and staff going out of there way to be--or charitably, appear--obnoxious. If you take a look, you'll find that for all the people that love Sammy's, there are many people who are sincerely offended, and find the schtick insulting--and for some, a travesty of their heritage.

 

This is in a whole different category to the kinds of preference you're talking about, and if you're going to award a star exclusively for ambience (which I think we all agree Wells just did), you have to make some convincing argument against that groundswell of opposition.

 

Hence, an "erroneous review," although not necessarily erroneous about the food.

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