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The Bruni Thread


Guest Aaron T

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My bathroom break helped me to understand what Nathan and Sneak are after. They are actually content with the status quo, and would hate to see the Times critic reviewing the same places a Jim Leff would review. But they want to draft the principles behind what the critic is doing (anyway) such that it doesn't appear the little guys (or girls) are discriminated against.

 

It took you that long to see THAT?

 

(But seriously, I do think that the way you state it affects results in marginal calls. And I REALLY am sick of seeing arguments, everytime a place like Sripraphai is reviewed, that an offense is being committed against the Holy Star System. And when a place like the 2nd Ave. Deli is reviewed, I want the argument about whether the review was appropriate to be over whether the place is notable enough, not whether delis are restaurants.)

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But don't you also think we both have our noses too close to the small print, and that the reality is that the marginal calls are made without reference to the kind of drafting points we've been arguing about?

 

Probably have more to do with the critic's mood that morning.

 

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But don't you also think we both have our noses too close to the small print, and that the reality is that the marginal calls are made without reference to the kind of drafting points we've been arguing about?

 

Probably have more to do with the critic's mood that morning.

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.

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I'll say that anonymity is the most primary deterrent to a starred review.

 

I was thinking you meant the critic - but maybe you mean the restaurant being not anonymous but unknown? :huh:

 

critic

 

The Waverly Inn was a mandatory review actually

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I'll say that anonymity is the most primary deterrent to a starred review.

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

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I should also add the point that Nathan and I were both quite clear in stating our belief that we were arguing in favor of the status quo, and that it was the other people (more the Drs. Johnson than you) who were arguing for what we saw to be a change.

I think perceiving groups of members arguing jointly for this or that causes much confusion. I think Yvonne's point of view was flat out misinterpreted (and is similar to mine). G.Johnson seemed to be suggesting that a line be drawn under "proper" restaurants, but even he wasn't saying - as some implied - that Ssam Bar, for example, is not a restaurant.

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I'll say that anonymity is the most primary deterrent to a starred review.

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.

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I think Yvonne's point of view was flat out misinterpreted (and is similar to mine). G.Johnson seemed to be suggesting that a line be drawn under "proper" restaurants, but even he wasn't saying - as some implied - that Ssam Bar, for example, is not a restaurant.

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.

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I'd suggest reading yvonne's posts. She was advocating something quite radical

 

That was the approach I took. She said there was no point reviewing restaurants which it made no sense to rate under the Times star system. Uncontroversial, if anything. People who didn't read her posts thought she was suggesting only four star restaurants, or those with four star aspirations, should be reviewed.

 

No. No. My point is not "that only 2 star and above restaurants should be reviewed". No star and one star have meaning. My point is that only restaurants that can be meaningfully placed on the star continuum be judged. Bruni's reviewing a deli is akin to assessing a 3 yr old and an adult with a standard IQ test. It's a pointless exercise.

 

How radical.

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I think Yvonne's point of view was flat out misinterpreted (and is similar to mine). G.Johnson seemed to be suggesting that a line be drawn under "proper" restaurants, but even he wasn't saying - as some implied - that Ssam Bar, for example, is not a restaurant.

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.

 

Yes, simple as that. Bruni's remarks in the Q&A quoted earlier seem to suggest he thinks history or some other factor might be sufficient in itself. I just happen to disagree, but it's really no big deal. This particular case happened to be a pointed one because he dealt with the history in such a cursory fashion, and then - on the blog - linked to the fairly recent Alex Witchel piece which did it properly. I'm delighted when the paper covers restaurant history - great subject. Myself, I don't think it should command a slot in the Restaurants column. I don't think Le Veau d'Or* or Rao's or the Bridge Cafe much need to be reviewed, for example, although I'd love to read features about them.

 

*Oops. Great subject for online food writers. :blush: I mean it.

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