Jump to content

The Pete Wells Thread


Recommended Posts

To be more specific - were nyt 4 stars really serving "o-toro" in the late 1980s to 1990s or something that looks pretty, well, dated now (if so, really: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yrj5tK9Y4rc) ?

 

Eta: like, ask if what's in that video would pass at Brooklyn fare or ko right now? now, replace that with some fatty kandai and its fine.

 

Eta 2: like, imagine the tuna ribbons at Jean George passing as a flagship dish at a new fine dining opening today? 10 years ago t was a clear legacy dish.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 5.4k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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]

Why would you stop eating tuna? there's another 20 years to go, so if anything you should eat twice as much...

 

Adrian - all you're saying here (after learning that tuna has always been a thing in places where there is tuna, except weirdly not in nyc and promptly changing the argument from 3 star to nyt stars) is if a new place opens it won't serve food that looks like it's from 20 years ago. That has exactly zero correlation with the idea that food is improving.

 

eta: like, if you're asking me if I'd rather dine today at the original Daniel or at EMP, I'm pretty sure the former would be better, even without adjusting for everything that's improved since (tech, access to ingredients, etc.). (and let's exclude Brooklyn Fare because (to avoid arguments about what is western) from the bespectacled horse's mouth I know it is a Japanese restaurant with Japanese ingredients and Japanese technique, and nothing else, so not western)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Why would you stop eating tuna? there's another 20 years to go, so if anything you should eat twice as much...

 

Adrian - all you're saying here (after learning that tuna has always been a thing in places where there is tuna, except weirdly not in nyc and promptly changing the argument from 3 star to nyt stars) is if a new place opens it won't serve food that looks like it's from 20 years ago. That has exactly zero correlation with the idea that food is improving.

 

eta: like, if you're asking me if I'd rather dine today at the original Daniel or at EMP, I'm pretty sure the former would be better, even without adjusting for everything that's improved since (tech, access to ingredients, etc.). (and let's exclude Brooklyn Fare because (to avoid arguments about what is western) from the bespectacled horse's mouth I know it is a Japanese restaurant with Japanese ingredients and Japanese technique, and nothing else, so not western)

But think about saison. The problem is not serving tuna tartar it's that now you've got to use the fatty belly of kandai and can't just hack up some bright red ahi. Or I doubt that the reason that Peter Lugers steak seems so mediocre (versus when people treated it as the steak temple) now is solely because Lugers beef isn't as marbled as it once was - it's that people have been exposed to better steaks from better producers. My experience, in a relatively short period compared to those on the board, has been a general uptick in North American ingredient quality, both in terms of protein and vegetable quality. That's even probably true outside of the western tradition. Based on your post, I don't think you disagree (i.e. "Adjusting for everything that's improved since"). Now, As to whether emp is better than old Daniel, I have no idea. My guess is that boulud is a better chef than humm never concerned himself with sp rankings that didn't yet exist and so it probably was. Though I do think that the beef in the duo would probably be less impressive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I doubt that the reason that Peter Lugers steak seems so mediocre (versus when people treated it as the steak temple) now is solely because Lugers beef isn't as marbled as it once was - it's that people have been exposed to better steaks from better producers.

 

There is only so much prime beef to go around. It is amazing that it took others so long to start cloning Luger, and once they did, it was inevitable that Luger would no longer seem so good. Steakhouses have the lowest entry barrier of any expensive restaurant, because the experience is so easy to replicate. Besides the various "Luger clones", you've got high-end non-steakhouse restaurants offering large-format steak dishes, which wouldn't have been the case 20–30 years ago. (Even Marea feels obligated to offer a massive Creekstone Farms rib chop that could feed a family of four.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Certainly it's done a great deal to help, but I think we're ready to move beyond "local" and toward something more as a general thing.

How about "good"?

 

There are several related trends at work here:

 

1) A focus on sourcing, particularly at the mid level; and especially, the belief, whether justified or not, that local is always better. Remember, Shaun Hergatt was criticized for not being local enough.

 

2) A focus on sharing the provenance of the ingredients with the customer, whether they are local or not; which creates a legion of customers conditioned to believe that some farms are better than others, whether true or not.

 

3) A focus on "creating a story" around the ingredients and the chef, rather than just letting excellence speak for itself. This extends to the wines, as well: sommeliers will tell you the biography of the winemaker, as if that mattered.

Link to post
Share on other sites

[ADMIN NOTE: Personal Attack Deleted] I think we can say that:

 

1. It's much harder to assert that the high end has gotten better in some absolute sense. The food might be more diverse and tweezer-y, but it'd be hard to assert that the best restaurants now are much better than the best restaurants 20 years ago, perhaps. And I think for Adrian-eque reasons, New York is going to continue to lag substantially for top-level restaurants, and our dumb food media isn't helping here.

 

2. Nevertheless, at the mid level, things have improved dramatically, and over much less than 20 years. Maybe only from "terrible" to "mediocre" by Orik-ian standards, but for someone who lives here and mostly eats out at the mid level, that's a very welcome change.

 

3. This connects to broader trends like the ascent of the cosmopolitan dinkyuppie set. In other words, more money was going to go into restaurants anyway, which one should hope would have led to an increase in quality no matter what. So in that respect it's not clear whether the tail is wagging the dog here; consumers tend to love narratives, and narratives sell. Like maybe this focus on sourcing was going to happen anyway because that's what needs to happen as a bunch of yuppies start dining out and at least some of them care about quality, and the story just came up to fill in the void, given how much narrative abhors a vacuum and all.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Certainly it's done a great deal to help, but I think we're ready to move beyond "local" and toward something more as a general thing.

How about "good"?

 

There are several related trends at work here:

 

1) A focus on sourcing, particularly at the mid level; and especially, the belief, whether justified or not, that local is always better. Remember, Shaun Hergatt was criticized for not being local enough.

 

2) A focus on sharing the provenance of the ingredients with the customer, whether they are local or not; which creates a legion of customers conditioned to believe that some farms are better than others, whether true or not.

 

3) A focus on "creating a story" around the ingredients and the chef, rather than just letting excellence speak for itself. This extends to the wines, as well: sommeliers will tell you the biography of the winemaker, as if that mattered.

 

 

I agree completely. Your post nicely summarizes much of the criteria being used to evaluate restaurants over the last 4 or 5 years.

 

My point is whether limiting the criteria to those 3 dimensions is enough. All of them could be printed on a score sheet but none of them measures how the food tastes. They may accurately reflect the quality of a restaurant or they may not. Ultimately there's no substitute for actually tasting the food.

 

Those 3 criteria are shortcuts. Pretty good ones but by no means definitive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure that the 3 criteria are even good shortcuts. I'm just not convinced that any of them could be "blind tested" for taste & overall satisfaction with any predictability. For example, if it turns out that Daniel Rose is using fish from the Gowanus Canal for his quenelles (I trust that it won't, but still, if...) do you think that most of our MF posters would have been able to discern that after going to Le CouCou & eating their great meals? Do you think everyone would come back saying "great technique, etc but don't you think the fish itself tasted a little different than the good shit we buy at Eataly and cook at home"? Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying that better, fresher ingredients shouldn't be used or that "they" are all lying about their material. I'm just going a step further and questioning whether or not local, well sourced material is even an advantage in many cases or can be discerned by most consumers to better the result.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree completely. Your post nicely summarizes much of the criteria being used to evaluate restaurants over the last 4 or 5 years.

 

My point is whether limiting the criteria to those 3 dimensions is enough. All of them could be printed on a score sheet but none of them measures how the food tastes. They may accurately reflect the quality of a restaurant or they may not. Ultimately there's no substitute for actually tasting the food.

 

You can't sell taste: "Come to my restaurant, it tastes good" isn't a marketing plan. Ultimately, the biography of the pig won't make you a return customer if the pork chop isn't tasty, but they have to get you in the door first.

 

I don't think very many people are actually evaluating restaurants based on these criteria, any more than I evaluated the Chardonnay I had the other night from the heartfelt father–daughter story the sommelier told before pouring it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I agree completely. Your post nicely summarizes much of the criteria being used to evaluate restaurants over the last 4 or 5 years.

 

My point is whether limiting the criteria to those 3 dimensions is enough. All of them could be printed on a score sheet but none of them measures how the food tastes. They may accurately reflect the quality of a restaurant or they may not. Ultimately there's no substitute for actually tasting the food.

 

You can't sell taste: "Come to my restaurant, it tastes good" isn't a marketing plan. Ultimately, the biography of the pig won't make you a return customer if the pork chop isn't tasty, but they have to get you in the door first.

 

I don't think very many people are actually evaluating restaurants based on these criteria, any more than I evaluated the Chardonnay I had the other night from the heartfelt father–daughter story the sommelier told before pouring it.

 

We're basically in agreement except that I think that the story that gets them in the door also affects their experience and then their evaluation afterwards.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I don't think very many people are actually evaluating restaurants based on these criteria, any more than I evaluated the Chardonnay I had the other night from the heartfelt father–daughter story the sommelier told before pouring it.

We're basically in agreement except that I think that the story that gets them in the door also affects their experience and then their evaluation afterwards.

 

 

There is undoubtedly a psychological effect, at least for some diners, and it's hard to really measure the impact: "Oh, it's Niman Ranch, is it? Must be good."

Link to post
Share on other sites

More agreement. People buy the buzz. Actually going to the restaurant is almost unnecessary.

 

I'll give you another analogy on the low end. Ten years ago you might read or hear about a place selling a good burger. You went and tried it to see how it stood up to your other favorites.

 

Then along came Pat LaFrieda and within 2 or 3 years it became virtually impossible for a new restaurant to get any burger traction unless the were serving a LaFrieda blend. (Lets not even get into the voodoo of the "special custom blends.") The old burger standbys like Molly's and the Corner Bistro were grandfathered in but it was nearly impossible for a new place to gain approval without the LaFrieda badge.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure that the 3 criteria are even good shortcuts. I'm just not convinced that any of them could be "blind tested" for taste & overall satisfaction with any predictability. For example, if it turns out that Daniel Rose is using fish from the Gowanus Canal for his quenelles (I trust that it won't, but still, if...) do you think that most of our MF posters would have been able to discern that after going to Le CouCou & eating their great meals? Do you think everyone would come back saying "great technique, etc but don't you think the fish itself tasted a little different than the good shit we buy at Eataly and cook at home"? Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying that better, fresher ingredients shouldn't be used or that "they" are all lying about their material. I'm just going a step further and questioning whether or not local, well sourced material is even an advantage in many cases or can be discerned by most consumers to better the result.

 

I missed this. I agree again.

 

Is all this agreement against the guidelines?

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I'm not sure that the 3 criteria are even good shortcuts. I'm just not convinced that any of them could be "blind tested" for taste & overall satisfaction with any predictability. For example, if it turns out that Daniel Rose is using fish from the Gowanus Canal for his quenelles (I trust that it won't, but still, if...) do you think that most of our MF posters would have been able to discern that after going to Le CouCou & eating their great meals? Do you think everyone would come back saying "great technique, etc but don't you think the fish itself tasted a little different than the good shit we buy at Eataly and cook at home"? Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying that better, fresher ingredients shouldn't be used or that "they" are all lying about their material. I'm just going a step further and questioning whether or not local, well sourced material is even an advantage in many cases or can be discerned by most consumers to better the result.

 

I missed this. I agree again.

 

Is all this agreement against the guidelines?

 

No but, in the small print, it clearly states that agreement on one thread is ok if offset by major disagreements elsewhere (sometimes resulting in kitten & puppy pictures). Its like our tax code where you can income average. :blush:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...