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The Pete Wells Thread


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According to Eater   Let the grumbling begin.

Even now when everybody has seen pictures of all the major reviewers, there's hope for anonymous restaurant reviewing.

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Adrian, I don't think a review of the River Cafe is unreasonable, irrational, outrageous, a scandal, a crime against public morals, or tantamount to palfrey prigging.

 

People often say, "I didn't think that was worth reviewing." But I am a magnet for controversy.

 

I do think my objections are reasonable, and I am satisfied that responses have involved pointing to natural disasters, Larrt Forgione, and the importance of reading Wells alongside a 12 year old review. I have a case. But I am not Henry Fonda, I don't have to persuade everyone.

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Just moved and getting internet through my phone, but OMG, you guys love talking about nothing...

 

(just skipping through random posts from the past 10+ pages here and on the other thread)

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Adrian, I don't think a review of the River Cafe is unreasonable, irrational, outrageous, a scandal, a crime against public morals, or tantamount to palfrey

 

I do think my objections are reasonable, and the importance of reading Wells alongside a 12 year old review. I have a case. But I am not Henry Fonda, I don't have to persuade everyone.

Okay.

 

But you're still privileging stars. We reference grimes to show change (because you have to show before to show after). Its the same as referencing the old star rating. It's funny that you think changing a number between one and four is more important than a change in the substance of the review.

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If I'm late for the ballet because of the time it took to move all those posts, I'm gonna fucking hit someone.

I nominate Steve R.

Thank you Sneak, although a real clean up would mean that you'd never see a ballet again (or daylight for that matter). Appreciated.

 

Wilfrid - it wouldn't be necessary if you & a couple of others would just get a room... or at least police yourselves & use new threads for your tangential discussions. Like I'm doing here.

 

Now, where were you all? Something about should Sifton support Wells in a review about a place where Forgione, Palmer & Burke once cooked if the building floods & is shut down for a year, then re-opens? Yeah, right... I'm the one that needs the slap.

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It's funny that you think changing a number between one and four is more important than a change in the substance of the review.

 

Straw man.

 

Your hypothetical case of a change in star rating with no change in substance behind it would simply provoke a different complaint.

 

And as I've said three, maybe four times, "stars" is just short-hand precisely for some kind of substantial change in an important restaurant being worth a re-review.

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Do I think that Vongerichten leaving Jean Georges, dramatic changes to the menu, and a tangible decline in standards of food and service would warrant a re-review, even if the critic didn't dock them a star.

 

Well yes, but...er...?

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Look, two stars is an awfully broad category. The biggest single category out there. And the River Cafe is an iconic restaurant, one of the last of the "romantic" restaurants, and one of the most popular restaurants in NYC (TripAdvisor is a good proxy for this, River Cafe's got significantly more reviews than Babbo or Jean Georges or One if By Land) and it's just been through a major catastrophe. Wells went there and thought he had something very new and very refreshing to say about the restaurant and, if you want to push it, modern dining in general. As a commentary about the restaurant (and not just the food), this was very different than what Grimes had to say. The problem is, it's still a two star restaurant, even if it's a two-star restaurant that now has a very different place in the NYC restaurant pantheon than it used to. Wells thought that this was a good time and place to say that and to ever be able to explain that case, he's got to be able to review important two stars and not move the rating. oakapple and I think that reviewers should have some leeway to say that from time to time. Caricature this position all you want (there's an irony in calling my last post a "straw man" given your prior one), but I think most people here recognize that it's valid even if you find it unconvincing.

 

You place a much firmer emphasis on food and on changes that would move a star rating. That's fine. I get that. I don't think it would be useful to call out Wells if he took your perspective on the column, nor do I think it's particularly useful to call him out if he takes mine.

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mitchells, and all the lurkers who are cheering me on from the sidelines.

Sneak is now going to audit my posts on this thread.

 

Back to Tavern on the Green. It made an attempt to be a real restaurant with the hiring of Patrick Clark and the NY Times took note and reviewed it because the thought was it could potentially be a lot different than it was pre-Clark. So if there was some reason to think that River Cafe was different than it was in 2002 it would be worthy of a full review. But all of the pre-reopening press let people know that this was a painstaking approach to recreate what existed before, except for a new and enhanced kitchen. Nothing I saw in the press even hinted that change was coming.

 

Here are some important facts that point toward nothing being different:

 

O'Keefe took major steps to make the place look like it did before.

The staff is still wearing tuxedos

Men still need to wear jackets

They have the same chef who still is serving some of the same food served in 2002

They have the same lighted driveway

Lovers are still proposing at the restaurant

They aren't serving New Nordic cuisine

It is in the same exact location

 

If they had 4 stars in 2002 (Stop focusing on the stars, they say!) , I could see a re-review to reaffirm the four stars previously given. But to Wilf's point, this is still a place where both tourists and NYers go to get engaged and have a pretty good restaurant experience in an iconic NY restaurant.

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Adrian, I've answered all that ten times. You don't have to agree with me, but my answers haven't changed.

 

If you have to read a 2002 review to get the juice out of this week's review, that's a sure sign something's wrong.

 

If he had something new to say about the food or cooking at the restaurant, please paste the quote in your reply.

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