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The Pete Wells Thread


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5 hours ago, voyager said:

Of course restaurants are expected to be consistent and reliable.   But in fact they are not.    So a reviewer, a newspaper, is relevant only in so far as their writing and recommendation is current.   Which it seldom can be.   Seasons change; cadre changes, clientele change.   Historic reviews are interesting, indicative of what was but seldom of what is.   I've followed far too many friends with whom I have compatible taste and ultimate trust down more rabbit holes than I'd wished.   While I love referring to a past review, best not hitch my star to it.    (Did someone just say "star"?)

I think everybody understands that absolute consistency is impossible and that restaurants, like any enterprises, can have off days, even off stretches.

What I think most people don’t understand is that fairly near-term decline is now virtually part of a lot of places’ business plans. 

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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.

You're conflating two different issues that I made the mistake of including in the same post. 1. Stars are useful to some people. 2. I'd rather read mostly facts with a little opinion than t

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Begging the question, do you suggest that the Times is really still aimed at savvy readers?    It used to be where one looked for news and provocation.   But now?   One is lucky not to be diverted by the lack proof reading.

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The JoJo three star award persisting many years after the restaurant and its menu had been completely overhauled took up a lot of my head space.

I don’t disagree with much of what Sneak says, except why does a pork truck get three stars? Why?

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4 hours ago, voyager said:

Begging the question, do you suggest that the Times is really still aimed at savvy readers?    It used to be where one looked for news and provocation.   But now?   One is lucky not to be diverted by the lack proof reading.

I DID say this:

4 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

Lest I seem to be contradicting myself, let me state that my concern is that The Times’ restaurant section isn’t aimed at “savvy diners” like us but rather the general public.

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1 hour ago, Wilfrid said:

The JoJo three star award persisting many years after the restaurant and its menu had been completely overhauled took up a lot of my head space.

I honestly should have credited you.

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1 hour ago, Wilfrid said:

I don’t disagree with much of what Sneak says, except why does a pork truck get three stars? Why?

Because if all three stars now means is, "I think this is really exceptional", why not?

I've had food like that that I thought was really exceptional.

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To put it another way, if the star ratings now reflect no more than how excited you are to return somewhere, I'm more excited about going back to Elsa la Reina or Coszcal de Allende or Cielito or Taqueria Ramirez than to Mena or Le Gratin or Francie or even to Lodi, which I quite liked.

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(Of course, I think it's stupid to have stars reflect that.  But I think star ratings are stupid, at least in the absence of the kind of objective criteria that I deeply believe can no longer be applied.)

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(If there's anything that I hope comes through from my last series of posts, it's that I think the Elsa la Reina del Chicharron chain is really special, and I strongly recommend that everybody go to one [OK not @bloviatrix].)  (Although if three stars means you don't feel like you're going to keel over and die upon exiting, Elsa fails that test.  But that's just the nature of chicharron.) (And anyway my beloved Fulemule Etterem in Budapest, if it still exists, fails that test even bigger-time.  And I'd go back there, if it still exists, in a heartbeat [a word I use advisedly].)

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6 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

Because if all three stars now means is, "I think this is really exceptional", why not?

I've had food like that that I thought was really exceptional.

I think this is just what the stars ought to mean.

Like I wish he had starred Forever Jerk, which is in my mind, compared to any other jerk I've had here, a 3. Although i have to say, the music sucked. 

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6 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

To put it another way, if the star ratings now reflect no more than how excited you are to return somewhere, I'm more excited about going back to Elsa la Reina or Coszcal de Allende or Cielito or Taqueria Ramirez than to Mena or Le Gratin or Francie or even to Lodi, which I quite liked.

Right, exactly - and doesn't that make the stars more egalitarian in a way?

A former restaurant critic with whom we used to dine, would often ask after a meal, would you send your friends here?  With a 3-star such as Coszcal, I could pretty much answer yes without a thought. For a maybe 3-star Francie (I don't know how many stars Francie has, or even if it has any), I'd have to qualify that response.

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1 hour ago, joethefoodie said:

Right, exactly - and doesn't that make the stars more egalitarian in a way?

A former restaurant critic with whom we used to dine, would often ask after a meal, would you send your friends here?  With a 3-star such as Coszcal, I could pretty much answer yes without a thought. For a maybe 3-star Francie (I don't know how many stars Francie has, or even if it has any), I'd have to qualify that response.

There are no stars because it was reviewed in 2021. Reading the review again, I’m guessing Wells would have awarded three. 

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