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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.


I actually think that you can draw the line from Alice Walters, Jeremiah tower, gramercy tavern, Patrick o'connell and Barber to what you are calling haute barnyard. That group began he project of applying old world principles to a development of a new distinctly new world cuisine. In particular, a lighter cuisine derived from rustic Italian cooking and applying nouvelle cuisine principles, to seasonal and local American product. They were the progenitors of "farm-to-table".


Right. And I DON'T think there's a line to "haute barnyard" from Quilted Giraffe et al. I think that "New American" style kind of dead-ended.

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I respectfully disagree on both counts. A restaurant can be "farm-to-table" without labeling itself as such. Indeed, the best ones don't. If a restaurant says it's "farm-to-table" at this point, I'm suspicious of it. It's resorting to shtick.*

I think we are actually agreeing, as I wasn't trying to suggest that a restaurant needs to use that label, to be recognizably a part of the movement.


On the second point, Adrian isn't talking about the "New American" style that developed in the '80s (which in many ways was mainly the application of Nouvelle Cuisine to American food and thus might have more accurately been called French/American fusion). He's talking about a style of American cooking that has arisen along with the "farm-to-table" movement. Wilfrid has called it "American bistro." Adam Platt memorably called it "Haute Barnyard". I think it's hard to deny it's congruent with the "farm-to-table" movement.


Well, nothing stands still for 35 years, but as noted by others in this thread, you can draw a line from 1980s "New American" to today, even though they are not the same thing. I agree that farm-to-table and Platt's "Haute Barnyard" are different words for the same concept.

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I finally got around to reading the Freek's Mill review and (I'm sure the world cares) I thought it was one of his very best.


Historical parsing aside, he made all the right critical points about The Way We Eat Now (including my particular bugaboo, share plates), while managing not to hold them against this particular restaurant.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Oh, come on, Pete, can't you give their Zalto Denk'Art glasses a shout-out by name? It's not like they're some obscure restaurant-only brand that interested readers can't buy on their own.

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