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The Platt Thread

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We may not have Bruni to kick around much longer, and it's not like we've overlooked Adam Platt in the past, but maybe it's time he had his own thread.


From his review of Table 8:


Nowadays, we prefer to anoint humble artisans (David Chang, April Bloomfield) who have slaved for suitable periods of time in anonymous kitchens around town.


link (emphasis added)


Around town? Bloomfield's only U.S. gig before the Spotted Pig was at Chez Panisse. Maybe "around town" includes Berkeley.


Anonymous? Pre-empire, Chang cooked at Mercer Kitchen, Craft and Cafe Boulud.


Think before writing? Hell, no!

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We may not have Bruni to kick around much longer, and it's not like we've overlooked Adam Platt in the past, but maybe it's time he had his own thread.   From his review of Table 8:     lin

I think they were trying to avoid the kind of response that Dave Santos got on that reprehensible Chowhound thread: don't bully a baby.   (As I posted on CH: a BABY charging $160 a meal!!!!!)

Why? You've already been to Rebelle.

Adam Platt is the worst critic in town, based on incompetence multiplied by influence. Restaurant Girl is less capable in the absolute sense, but her perch at the Daily News is much less visible than Platt's at New York. Everyone I've ever spoken to in the industry considers Bruni & Platt the one–two punch of NYC reviewing.


Bruni, at least, has a solid background in journalism. He has made the occasional error, but he's Woodward or Bernstein compared to Platt, whose writings are full of howlers almost every week. The other distinction is that Bruni, at least, does find things to cheer about. I don't always agree with his choices, but at least when Bruni is excited, he leaves you with no doubts about his enthusiasm. Platt never seems to like much of anything.


Quite apart from his poor writing, his world-weariness, and his abominable sense of style, Platt, like Bruni, comes to the job with no particular background in food or the culinary arts. He also shares with Bruni very little interest in traditional luxury dining. So it's unsurprising that their verdicts are very highly correlated, although Bruni's reviews are practically always better written. It very rarely happens that Bruni loves a place that Platt hated, or vice versa.

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if he keeps saying stuff like this, he'll do just fine:


Aspiring chefs who arrive in New York with dreams of fame and fortune tend to plot their paths to greatness in one of two ways. Most slink into town anonymously, at a relatively young age, and work their way up the greasy kitchen pole, from commis to sous-chef to restaurant chef to superstar. Then there are those poor deluded souls who attempt to ride into the city from the provinces in mid-career, with their reputations preceding them and all guns blazing. The second path, as out-of-town chefs from Alain Ducasse (from the province of Paris) to Gordon Ramsay (from the province of London) have discovered, is infinitely more precarious.
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Perhaps I need to re-read Platt more closely. I've always thought of him as Bruni without alliteration and less Italy-centric.


I also don't read him as frequently.


PS. Marc/Wilf -- I need to add your blogs to my daily reading list. I always say I have to but then it slips my mind. :angry:

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It's nice to see you have a transition plan but I suspect that Platt alone won't provide enough grist for the mill.


Frank will be hard to replace.

Barney or Bruni - or Barney Bruni?


Wait wrong thread - I thought I was posting on cool couples. :blush:

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  • 2 weeks later...
Prior to Jean-Georges, Mario, and the rest of the preening super-chefs of the recently concluded go-go years, great cooks rarely opened more than two restaurants in a lifetime, and usually both were in the same town.


Marea review


I salute the author's versatility. This is not merely wrong, but could be wrong in a number of different ways, depending on what he means.


The "recently concludes go-go years" is a marvellously elastic phrase, but of course it's not commensurable with the careers of Vongerichten or Batali in any meaningful way. They have each been "preening super-chefs" for something over ten years now, and their careers reach back further - during which time the economy has circled through several booms and recessions. But taking the broadest view, Platt is suggesting that chefs rarely opened more than one or two restaurants prior to the mid-1980s, which is just not especially true. It is true that customers took less notice before the 1980s.


And then, of course, there's "opened." Simple enough, surely, but does he mean literally opened, or does he mean owned? Because if the former, professional chefs have been opening successive restaurants (often in different countries) throughout their careers since at least the time of Escoffier.




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Josh Ozersky has a delicious take-down of Platt and his dumb review. This cannot have been easy for Ozersky, because his job is about relationships, and he seldom rats on the people who give him access. Here he had to choose between his friend Michael White and his friend Adam Platt, and he decided to throw Platt under the bus.


Everything Ozersky says about Platt is entirely correct, although it is long overdue. Platt has been an embarrassment from the day he arrived:


A critic is in a difficult position; take it from me, I used to be one. You can’t just write about how peas taste every week. You need to come up with a story, a moral, an overarching narrative. Frank Bruni comes up with a different one each week, creating sociological sketches out of the dining scene. Platt has the same one every week, blowing taps for the great restaurant tradition of the past.

Ozersky is giving Bruni a tad more credit than he deserves. Some of his review memes are awfully contrived, and he too is no fan of traditional luxury dining. But Bruni at least is able to recognize these places when they are done right (e.g., Corton), a talent Platt has not mastered.


I have to admit that I don't think Marea is the second coming of Le Bernardin (my blog review here), so in some ways I am sympathetic to Platt's conclusion, if not the way in which he reaches it.

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RG no longer writes her own reviews. It's either that or she practiced really really hard and got lots better. Maybe if I practice really really hard I could play point guard in the NBA.

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