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The Pete Wells Thread


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Another way to think about it is:

 

Teju's Cole's twitter story was a little bit great, but the Times shouldn't be trotting out Kakutani for a full Sunday spread. And yes, it will review a book this week that's worse than Cole's story.

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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.

[Deleted]

Before:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/dining/08pizza.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (Pizza, a type of warm open faced sandwich, nice but...)

 

Now:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/03/dining/restaurant-review-danny-meyers-marta-in-nomad.html (Pizza, it's some sort of cracker crusted art form, two stars)

 

Meh: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/dining/reviews/08rest.html?pagewanted=all

 

It's just star inflation.

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Look Soba - I'm not missing your point and the substance of your response makes it pretty clear you've got a grip on what we disagree about. I'm not really dismissive of what you're saying or I wouldn't even have written in (and yes I reloaded mouthfuls for the first time in a minute because of that Twitter threadbare). I just have a jocular tone and I like to argue too.

 

That being said, I didnt claim to read your mind so if you feel like I mischarcterized your position please enlighten me with the specifics - a quick thread leaves me feeling like I represented you accurately.

 

You're right that the readership of the times is more than millennials or Brooklyn or Brooklyn millennials. It's actually much bigger than New York as you are aware. Unfortunately it seems like both Brooklyn millennials and the rest of the world (based on where things are going culturally) have pretty much bought into Brooklyn millennials. I'm not saying I agree with it, but that's where the sensibility of the day seems to have converged. complaining about this is a bit like complaining that classics music isn't popular. And that's why it makes sense to me that the paper try to play a role in those trends. If they abandon fine dining altogether, that would be a different story but I think it's a wise move to roam from high to low and everywhere in between. And serious food writing has done this for quite some time too so it's not really overthrowing the establishment to do so.

 

As for hergatt - do we really care about Michelin stars here in NYC? Since when has that been the measure of what matters?

 

As for the other commenters here: well, I read what they write so I can only be so critical, but I have to say that there is an overly obsessive fixation on what stars mean and this notion of responsibility that the critic has. I've never been sure why it's so confusing or contentious.

 

I read MFF because I love the opinions and reactions to the food on the plate, and I have mad respect for all of your opinions in that regard. As for the rest, I sometimes wonder if I walked into a study group of first year law students, what with all the debate about semantics. Which misses the point.

 

Restaurants aren't really reducible in the way we want the star system or the name of the column to represent. But if we have to be quantitative about it, why don't we look at the average check price of the trailing X00 reviews in the time, and then see where they're located... I think we'd find that meat hook is an outlier, and one that clearly felt justified to Wells. This makes sense to me in 2015, when our dining culture is absurdly diverse.

 

What's so wrong with that?

 

Ps.

 

As far as the star system goes, I have no personal problem with the meaning of the stars being contextual to the restaurant and in particular its ambitions, which is how I tend to read the reviews.

 

Pps. How much power do critics really have? All the praise in the world can't save a liebrandt spot from disaster (I thought I was personally paying the rent at the elm at one point for how empty it was - and I worry weekly about Delaware and Hudson) nor can it doom the Nellos and Nobus of the world.

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Look Soba - I'm not missing your point and the substance of your response makes it pretty clear you've got a grip on what we disagree about. I'm not really dismissive of what you're saying or I wouldn't even have written in (and yes I reloaded mouthfuls for the first time in a minute because of that Twitter threadbare). I just have a jocular tone and I like to argue too.

 

That being said, I didnt claim to read your mind so if you feel like I mischarcterized your position please enlighten me with the specifics - a quick thread leaves me feeling like I represented you accurately.

 

You're right that the readership of the times is more than millennials or Brooklyn or Brooklyn millennials. It's actually much bigger than New York as you are aware. Unfortunately it seems like both Brooklyn millennials and the rest of the world (based on where things are going culturally) have pretty much bought into Brooklyn millennials. I'm not saying I agree with it, but that's where the sensibility of the day seems to have converged. complaining about this is a bit like complaining that classics music isn't popular. And that's why it makes sense to me that the paper try to play a role in those trends. If they abandon fine dining altogether, that would be a different story but I think it's a wise move to roam from high to low and everywhere in between. And serious food writing has done this for quite some time too so it's not really overthrowing the establishment to do so.

 

As for hergatt - do we really care about Michelin stars here in NYC? Since when has that been the measure of what matters?

 

As for the other commenters here: well, I read what they write so I can only be so critical, but I have to say that there is an overly obsessive fixation on what stars mean and this notion of responsibility that the critic has. I've never been sure why it's so confusing or contentious.

 

I read MFF because I love the opinions and reactions to the food on the plate, and I have mad respect for all of your opinions in that regard. As for the rest, I sometimes wonder if I walked into a study group of first year law students, what with all the debate about semantics. Which misses the point.

 

Restaurants aren't really reducible in the way we want the star system or the name of the column to represent. But if we have to be quantitative about it, why don't we look at the average check price of the trailing X00 reviews in the time, and then see where they're located... I think we'd find that meat hook is an outlier, and one that clearly felt justified to Wells. This makes sense to me in 2015, when our dining culture is absurdly diverse.

 

What's so wrong with that?

 

Ps.

 

As far as the star system goes, I have no personal problem with the meaning of the stars being contextual to the restaurant and in particular its ambitions, which is how I tend to read the reviews.

 

Pps. How much power do critics really have? All the praise in the world can't save a liebrandt spot from disaster (I thought I was personally paying the rent at the elm at one point for how empty it was - and I worry weekly about Delaware and Hudson) nor can it doom the Nellos and Nobus of the world.

I said nothing about the "definition" of a restaurant.

 

This is what you state:

 

Arguing whether something fits into a narrowly construed definition of the word "restaurant" is extravagantly besides the point.

In fact, I tweeted

 

16987748099_80652d4244_o.jpg

 

I have no idea where you got that from. IIRC, it was Wells who responded with the definition of 'restaurant' w/r/t Wilf's comment about the title of Wells' column. What I'm talking about is whether Meat Hook is, for lack of a better term, unique enough to qualify being slotted for review. That's what I mean about 'worthy'. I would say no because I'm Princess Sparkle Pony. :P

 

I apologize for being snippy.

 

Sourcing the finest meat, turning it into charcuterie, etc. It's just marketing BS. How is that more unique than other similar restaurants? Wells doesn't say; just that it's "good".

 

And based on the gushing on Twitter, you'd think he walked on water.

 

Hergatt's resume is significant because restaurants and fine dining. And yes, I get that Wells represents all tastes, but the trend of his reportage (hah!) is distinctly anti-fine dining, as evidenced by the places he chooses to write about over time. Oakie is better at big picture-analysis since that's his beat. That being said, I'm sure I'm not the only one on MFF with that takeaway.

 

And now I need to go cook.

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Before:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/dining/08pizza.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (Pizza, a type of warm open faced sandwich, nice but...)

 

Now:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/03/dining/restaurant-review-danny-meyers-marta-in-nomad.html (Pizza, it's some sort of cracker crusted art form, two stars)

 

Meh: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/dining/reviews/08rest.html?pagewanted=all

 

It's just star inflation.

 

 

That too.

 

It's just not a restaurant review anymore.

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The idea of the NYT as "the paper of record" is nonsense.

 

It makes quite a lot of sense, as long as you understand what that phrase stands for. As it applies to restaurant reviews, there's no question the Times review of a restaurant tends to dominate all the others. For example, every critic in town hated Gordon Ramsay at the London, but do you know which of its many terrible reviews made internationall news? It was the Times review.

 

Over and over again, I've seen restaurants' popularity blow up after the Times posted a rave. The NYT review is by far the most important that any restaurant gets, although, as others noted, it cannot save Paul Liebrandt from self-destructing.

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Look, I'm a guy who thinks that Hergatt serves the kind of cuisine anonimo that's best served in primary hotels in secondary cities (or, evidently, secondary hotels in primary cities) that mostly leaves you wondering why you just dropped $400 when you could have been eating at the hawker stand away from the shopping mall.

Please refresh my memory: how many times have you tried it before concluding that? Oh, right. I think I remember now. Rounded to the nearest ten, the answer is zero.

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For each restaurant he chooses to write about, some other establishment loses. This is two weeks in a row that he's published pointless reviews. First, a fish restaurant for the 1% that hasn't been reviewed in 20 years, and now, a sandwich shop that people will, ostensibly, "go to just for lunch". His words, not mine.

Irrelevance is a tricky thing to define. The main point of last week's review (I am pretty sure) was the new restaurant Limani, not the 20-year-old restaurant Milos. One percenters(*) are Times readers too, and occasionally "their" restaurants ought to be reviewed. The Times has reviewed Masa three times, and it is even more of a one-percenters' restaurant than either Limani or Milos.

 

* Anyhow, that's a severe exaggeration. I think my income makes me more of a five or ten-percenter, and I've been to Limani twice.

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