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The Platt Thread

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Here's an example of the restaurant economics for the neighborhood guys. An owner was explaining the situation to me, that their revenue has basically stayed equal, but their profits have dropped close to 50%. And the prices of the food can't go up anywhere close enough to make up for that difference, or people will basically stop going there.

 

The familiar dilemma. Restaurants that can't start charging $45 for an entree are instead serving beef neck instead of short ribs, and so on, to squeeze a profit out of $35 entrees. It's a story with no obvious happy outcome.

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*Young people are always going to want to go out for brunch. I wish I had a time machine to take you back to DC circa 2006 to check out what a brunch scene looks like in the absence of any mainstream interest in food.

 

Hungover kids always wanted to go out for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, no? The Diner?

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Here's an example of the restaurant economics for the neighborhood guys. An owner was explaining the situation to me, that their revenue has basically stayed equal, but their profits have dropped close to 50%. And the prices of the food can't go up anywhere close enough to make up for that difference, or people will basically stop going there.

 

The familiar dilemma. Restaurants that can't start charging $45 for an entree are instead serving beef neck instead of short ribs, and so on, to squeeze a profit out of $35 entrees. It's a story with no obvious happy outcome.

 

 

But you know what? If you keep the lamb neck interesting, it's better than serving yet another roasted pork shank with white beans.

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I love the cheap cuts and offal. But restaurants are serving them for the same reason Colicchio reduced protein portions at C & Sons. At least he didn't spout some line about health, or the "way we eat now."

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I love the cheap cuts and offal. But restaurants are serving them for the same reason Colicchio reduced protein portions at C & Sons. At least he didn't spout some line about health, or the "way we eat now."

 

Right on. Off cuts are great, but I think about a place like Gabriel Kreuther serving two matchsticks of pork neck when they opened and how it stuck out for all the wrong reasons (but hey, the 4-course was $98).

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I love the cheap cuts and offal. But restaurants are serving them for the same reason Colicchio reduced protein portions at C & Sons. At least he didn't spout some line about health, or the "way we eat now."

But this is sort of fighting two years' ago's war, right?

 

The thrust of this discussion is that now, further motivated by the same factors that had caused them to embrace offal (and lie about their motivations), many restaurants are abandoning "interesting" menus (featuring, e.g., offal) altogether, and simply serving boring cheap food for higher prices.

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Usually, the discussions of the merits and demerits of the star system end up in the current Times critic thread.  But it seemed silly to link Adam Platt's essay explaining New York/Grub Street's new replacement of stars with 0-100 numerical grades anywhere but here.

 

I've always found Platt's explanations of his star ratings particularly silly in their absurd apples-and-oranges overprecision.  (Two stars because of a particular dish minus one star because there was a smudge on the wall?)  I'm not sure I see how this numerical system will be better, though.

 

For one thing, 0-100 ranges always turn out to be illusory, because raters almost never go below 60.

 

For another, while I obviously applaud Platt's recognition of the problem of comparing unlike items (a pizza place and an expensive tasting menu place), I'm not sure that giving both of them a 90 is going to be any more sensical than giving them both three stars.  I guess we have to see how the ratings play out.

 

One piece of great news is that the ratings in New York's restaurant archive will supposedly be at least occasionally updated from those in the published reviews.

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Usually, the discussions of the merits and demerits of the star system end up in the current Times critic thread.  But it seemed silly to link Adam Platt's essay explaining New York/Grub Street's new replacement of stars with 0-100 numerical grades anywhere but here.

 

I've always found Platt's explanations of his star ratings particularly silly in their unbelievable overprecision.  (Two stars because of a particular dish minus one star because there was a smudge on the wall?)  I'm not sure I see how this numerical system will be better, though.

 

For one thing, 0-100 ranges always turn out to be illusory, because raters almost never go below 60.

 

For another, while I obviously applaud Platt's recognition of the problem of comparing unlike items (a pizza place and an expensive tasting menu place), I'm not sure that giving both of them a 90 is going to be any more sensical than giving them both three stars.  I guess we have to see how the ratings play out.

 

One piece of great news is that the ratings in New York's restaurant archive will supposedly be at least occasionally updated from those in the published reviews.

 

Why basic math literacy should be a requirement also for English majors. 

:rolleyes:

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