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The Bruni Thread


Guest Aaron T

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Which restaurants do you see more of opening today? restaurants like Ssam Bar or Gottino or Tia Pol or restaurants like La Grenouille.

 

I'm hardly the only one to notice this trend. in fact, it was Bruni that said "it's the way we want to eat today"....

 

and "we" in this case happens to be the majority.

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.

 

dining used to be a special occasion thing for a much larger percentage of the population than it is today.

 

Statistics, please.

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He has angrily slapped down the notion (as "shit", I believe) that genre/cheap/casual dining options get equal consideration with somewhat more formal dining options when the Restaurants author chooses what to cover.

 

huh? I do think that genre/cheap/casual restaurants get equal consideration.

 

more formal restaurants have more money behind them....thus often having better staff, kitchens, locations, PR etc. so they're far more likely to be notable. but that's not a difference in kind when it comes to eligibility for a review.

Nathan, I think it would enlighten me greatly if you could refer to this post, and help me to understand what you mean, then, by:

 

ah....Bruni said exactly what I said. thanks for the evidence.

 

and no one said shit about "equal consideration"

 

emphases added

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but the 2nd Avenue Deli is a sit-down place!

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."

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I really want to emphasize Nathan's last point.

 

Do you want to explain it? Not translate it, I understand the Latin. But what's the application in this context?

 

It's one thing to say, "The purpose of this section is to review mainstream sit-down restaurants, at least of a quality our critic deems warrants evaluation, and those cheaper or less prepossessing places that are of exceptionally high quality or otherwise newsworthy."

 

It's another thing to say, "The purpose of this section is to review mainstream sit-down restaurants with wine lists where you're expected to linger a while. Reviews of cheaper or less prepossessing places will be permitted only when those places are of especially high quality -- but they will be very rare exceptions."

But this, as I suspected, is to transform my empirical observation that they are exceptions to the norm (with which Nathan agrees) into a prescription. Feel free, but it's not my intention. As a matter of fact, anyone interested knows that such places have been exceptions, and can easily explain why. There's no need to have a rule in place.

 

ETA: In fact, if you refer to the italics, you'll see that your own account of the de facto version incorporates the very understanding that only "exceptions" will actually pass muster. The alternative is to give equal consideration to any type of dining option, which I thought we'd all agreed doesn't and can't happen.

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Okay! I'm going out to get some lunch, after wading through a 93 page document with exceedingly small type and transcribing the data into an Excel spreadsheet. My project for the past two days and significantly more hellish than making sense of a convoluted argument on the paradigms of data.

 

Have fun in the meantime.

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But this, as I suspected, is to transform my empirical observation that they are exceptions to the norm (with which Nathan agrees) into a prescription. Feel free, but it's not my intention. As a matter of fact, anyone interested knows that such places have been exceptions, and can easily explain why. There's no need to have a rule in place.

 

That's just YOU. There are other people participating in this discussion (who are married to each other) (and doctors of philosophy) (at least one of whom comes from Wales) who give the impression that they thought the Sripraphai review was an affront to the star system, and should never have been permitted. It even seemed like the propriety of the 2nd Ave. Deli review was not arguable ("is it good enough as a deli to warrant a starred review?"), but rather unconditionally to be written off ("it's not a restaurant").

 

ETA: In fact, if you refer to the italics, you'll see that your own account of the de facto version incorporates the very understanding that only "exceptions" will actually pass muster. The alternative is to give equal consideration to any type of dining option, which I thought we'd all agreed doesn't and can't happen.

 

As I keep saying, it's a matter of emphasis. But I think the emphasis is important.

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Which restaurants do you see more of opening today? restaurants like Ssam Bar or Gottino or Tia Pol or restaurants like La Grenouille.

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 Grenouille don't come along very often.

 

It also bears repeating: in the past 4 years, more luxury restaurants have opened than closed. The claim that the luxury segment (of which La Grenouille is a part) is shrinking is demonstrably false. Obviously the new luxury restaurants aren't exact clones of La Grenouille, but they're the modern equivalents of it: expensive sit-down, dress-up, take-your-time, white-table-cloth restaurants.

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It is just me (unless you are talking to Taliesin).

 

But it's ME who keeps getting "shit" thrown at him, even though it is hard to see any position distinct from mine being clearly articulated on the thread.

 

I mean, forgive me, but how much hangs on the difference between:

 

places that are of exceptionally high quality or otherwise newsworthy

 

and

 

only when those places are of especially high quality -- but they will be very rare exceptions
?

 

By all means prefer the first formulation, but let's not pretend there's a substantive difference. It already raises a hurdle for those other places.

 

 

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Which restaurants do you see more of opening today? restaurants like Ssam Bar or Gottino or Tia Pol or restaurants like La Grenouille.

 

I'm hardly the only one to notice this trend. in fact, it was Bruni that said "it's the way we want to eat today"....

 

and "we" in this case happens to be the majority.

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.

 

dining used to be a special occasion thing for a much larger percentage of the population than it is today.

 

Statistics, please.

 

I hardly thought that was controversial.

 

but here goes: in 1998 47% of food dollars were spent away from home...as opposed to 30% in 1965. http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/foodr.../frjan2000d.pdf

 

and yes, restaurant dining even went up between 1981 and 2000:

 

http://www.restaurant.org/rusa/magArticle.cfm?ArticleID=138

 

this is fascinating btw:

http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/foodr.../frjan2000g.pdf

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It is just me (unless you are talking to Taliesin).

 

But it's ME who keeps getting "shit" thrown at him, even though it is hard to see any position distinct from mine being clearly articulated on the thread.

 

I mean, forgive me, but how much hangs on the difference between:

 

places that are of exceptionally high quality or otherwise newsworthy

 

and

 

only when those places are of especially high quality -- but they will be very rare exceptions
?

 

By all means prefer the first formulation, but let's not pretend there's a substantive difference. It already raises a hurdle for those other places.

 

 

I know it's bad form to quote myself, but in case this post got lost in the hurlyburly:

 

The point is that if to review cheap places only when they are notable IS the "general practice", then the reviews, when they appear, are not "exceptions" to the "general practice" but rather are part of the "general practice."

 

The reason that this is more than just semantics is that one way of stating it is inclusive and the other way is exclusive.

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I honestly think you are building your house on sand there. If cheap places get reviewed only when exceptionally high quality or notable or newsworthy, then the general practice is to treat them differently than "proper" restaurants.

 

And we can see this in practice: a restaurant with a "pedigree" might get reviewed, and zero-starred if it's bad. Ask El Chod.

 

A taco counter on Roosevelt Avenue will not get reviewed if its crap.

 

The difference is inherent in the system,

 

(Cue Mongo: Look at the violence inherent in the system.)

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But you yourself said it was "shit" to claim that anyone suggested all dining options should be given equal weight by the Restaurants critic. Now you want it to be a level playing field. Which is it?

 

 

what are you talking about?

Sheesh, Nathan, you haven't yet read the post where I explained it. #3469.

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