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Wilfrid1

The Platt Thread

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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.

 

As I've told you before, the five dimensional + many discrete dimension rating system of tabelog (cooking, service, value, atmosphere, drinks) solves nearly all of those issues (in context of Japanese dining) and could easily be replicated in nyc. 

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Next thing you’ll be saying that Americans could make a credible “Godzilla” movie.

Baby steps.

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Throwing out old magazines, I found the 2006 issue of New York in which Platt inaugurates the 5 star system demanded by his editors with a numerical ranking of the city's top 101 restaurants.  Two things struck me: the top echelons are all formal; the first restaurant I'd count as informal (and the first, not counting sushi, with a focus on bar dining) is Casa Mono at number 37.  Things would look different now.

 

The second is that David Chang hadn't quite yet happened. Momofuku Noodle Bar, a good place for pork buns, is the last restaurant on the list.

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It used to be that get even three stars in The Times you had to be formal.  (It was a big scandal when Ruth Reichl gave three stars to udon spot Hanmura On -- which by today's standards looks pretty fancy.)  It's almost hard to remember.

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Throwing out old magazines, I found the 2006 issue of New York in which Platt inaugurates the 5 star system demanded by his editors with a numerical ranking of the city's top 101 restaurants.  

He never awarded 5 stars. So in actuality, it was a 4-star system.

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I think Le Bernardin was the sole five star in that first list, but I’ve now thrown it away.

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I think Le Bernardin was the sole five star in that first list, but I’ve now thrown it away.

Le B & Masa both got the five. But then for whatever reason he demoted them both later.

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it was cost, wasn't it? I didn't google but I (hope I) rememberer reading his justification.

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I think Le Bernardin was the sole five star in that first list, but I’ve now thrown it away.

Le B & Masa both got the five. But then for whatever reason he demoted them both later.

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Even reading those descriptions of Le B and Masa it sounds like they come from a completely different time.

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