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The Bruni Thread


Guest Aaron T

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right. and I find it almost morally offensive to think that Tia Pol can't be reviewed on the same scale as Per Se.

I don't see the moral dimension. I'm am not saying that casual and ethnic restaurants are beneath scrutiny. Merely that ranking them with more formal places makes little sense. It's like trying to measure weight with a ruler.

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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."

No. But someone looking for a special occasion meal would. Conversely, someone looking for a more relaxed meal would know to go for Hearth.

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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)

Bastard.

... 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").

We don't always agree. For instance, I thought our meal here last night was superb. She thought is was just very good. We are agreed it was much better than a pastrami sandwich.

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Guest Aaron T
if i may be so bold as to participate in a conversation about big city ways: the discussion seems to revolve around genre. one school of thought says that the ny times food review is by and large restricted to a particular genre of restaurant (not cuisine, but restaurant). it is irrelevant what the actual quality of food served at the restaurant is; if you're in the genre you're in the review pool. if you're not in the genre then your food should be exceptional to get you in. because it is after all a review. if your claim to genre transcendence is historical importance, then you should be in a feature essay.

 

carry on.

 

I agree with Mongo! :ph43r:

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if i may be so bold as to participate in a conversation about big city ways: the discussion seems to revolve around genre. one school of thought says that the ny times food review is by and large restricted to a particular genre of restaurant (not cuisine, but restaurant). it is irrelevant what the actual quality of food served at the restaurant is; if you're in the genre you're in the review pool. if you're not in the genre then your food should be exceptional to get you in. because it is after all a review. if your claim to genre transcendence is historical importance, then you should be in a feature essay.

 

carry on.

 

I agree with Mongo! :ph43r:

 

I also think Mongo has given a very accurate description of, as he says, "one school of thought" in this discussion. I'd quibble a little with those holding this view, since I wouldn't be so sure that this is what the NY Times thinks it's own Review section "is" (see bolded area of Mongo's post); I'm more of the opinion that this is just what this MF member school of thought thinks the NY Times Review section should be.

 

That being said, I think that a more important part of the back and forth here (for me, at any rate) has to do with the definition, within this "school of thought", of the "genre" and what it includes and excludes. My take on Yvonne's notes & GJ's notes (and it's just my reading of them... maybe I'm wrong), is that they define the genre a lot more narrowly than Wilf does or Sneakeater does or I do. And certainly more than Nathan does. The examples given by the posters give a clear indication of how widely this definition varies.

 

No need to continue beating the very dead horse, but I can accept that a place has to fit into a genre to actually be a restaurant review... I just cant accept a definition that somehow puts a place like Sri (or even Ali's Kebab Cafe) closer to the edge of this genre than Hearth or Ssam Bar.

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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.

 

To the extent the star system makes sense at all, all restaurants are reviewable on it

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Again, the language problem. If, by restaurants, you mean to include taco trucks and chain burger joints and sandwich counters, I disagree: or perhaps you just mean they all get zero stars, which is hardly helpful and would make for tedious reading - and is tantamount to acknowledging that no, they don't fit into the system because the system can't tell you anything useful about them.

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I don't really see the point here. Getting one star from the times means you're serving pretty crappy food. At least restaurant with a non-American/French FOH (which is really what this all boils down to) are spared the indignity.

 

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No need to continue beating the very dead horse, but I can accept that a place has to fit into a genre to actually be a restaurant review... I just cant accept a definition that somehow puts a place like Sri (or even Ali's Kebab Cafe) closer to the edge of this genre than Hearth or Ssam Bar.

 

Just to be clear, I am not excluding any restaurant you mentioned. If I want to exclude places, it's Denny's and Applebee's and McDonald's (I know, Sokolov...), also anonymous tacquerias and lunch-time "gourmet" sandwich shops, and the typical street cart (not Nathan's hypothetical street cart serving better cuisine than Gagnaire), also ordinary diners like the Morning Star and Moonstruck (and I can't remember the names), also pubs even if the food is decent (Telephone B&G, Old Town Bar), and also your ordinary average deli - Ben Ash, Stage.

 

You've told me 2nd Ave Deli has better food than the average deli, and I can't argue because you've been more often than me. I humbly submitted that it never crossed my mind that it was a one star restaurant based on my experiences: it was just Ben Ash or wherever, but with a much more interesting history.

 

I have no interest in excluding Sri. I thought the Katz's review was worthwhile.

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I don't really see the point here. Getting one star from the times means you're serving pretty crappy food.

 

And that's the practical problem with attempting to stretch the system in a downward direction. Either you give a perfectly decent taco truck two stars or you give it none and people will assume it's shitty.

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I don't really see the point here. Getting one star from the times means you're serving pretty crappy food.

 

And that's the practical problem with attempting to stretch the system in a downward direction. Either you give a perfectly decent taco truck two stars or you give it none and people will assume it's shitty.

 

If you can assume that your readers know what a good taco truck is supposed to be like, then you can score it for what it is. If you assume all your readers want to know about (which has been the traditional position at the times) are French/New American restaurants, then you do end up with meaningless scores, because so few of them deserve any score compared to the benchmarks.

 

 

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