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I see where Adrian is going with that, but there's a countervailing argument that I think he is overlooking.

 

I agree that Michelin and the NYT each provide a check against each other's errors. Though neither would ever explicitly admit cribbing from the other, there are plenty of examples where the NYT's recognition trailed Michelin's, and vice versa. Adrian's argument is that without Michelin, SHO would be just a mediocre hotel restaurant that failed, and there would be no reason to review another hotel restaurant from the same guy.

 

That strikes me as over-simplifying. Most people saw from the get-go that SHO was far more ambitious than your average generic hotel restaurant. Whether its ambitions were successful we could argue forever, but very few would have disputed their existence. This was before Michelin came along to confirm that perception. Well before Hergatt had two Michelin stars, people were wondering why the NYT hadn't reviewed it (the point was raised on Eater as well, not just on Mouthfuls). All of the food-board love for Hergatt came from somewhere, and food board people are not well known for trying out hotel restaurants.

 

Ten years ago, restaurants of comparable ambition were always reviewed, and there was no Michelin guide then. That doesn't mean the reviews were favorable. Bruni slammed a number of them, but they weren't ignored.

 

My point is more that SHO was reviewed (in a small way, reviewed twice) and reviewed poorly which makes the case for Juni, from the Times' perspective, much less compelling without Michelin. It's "fool me once, shame on you".

 

I'm not saying that they're right. What's the precedent for second chance restaurants in hotels by poorly reviewed fine dining chefs prior to Michelin? You can understand why the Times would write the place off without the stars.

 

ETA: which isn't to say that the delay to review SHO was appropriate, but more how the context of the Juni review changes in the absence of Michelin, given Hergatt's track record with the Times.

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Juni gets a website.   From the Times article:     Opens Monday in the Hotel Chandler in midtown.

20+40+15=60.   Oh dear. Or rather, "huh"?

Why not stop over-ordering?   And three starters at Juni would be more expensive than The Elm unless you ordered the three most expensive small plates at The Elm.

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Oakie's right. SHO Shaun Hergatt was not generally poorly received. On the contrary, as Oakie says, it received much praise--which is why Sifton reviewed it after 10 months. As I recall, it was quite plausibly the best opening in a very difficult year.

 

Let's not rewrite history.

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Oakie's right. SHO Shaun Hergatt was not generally poorly received. On the contrary, as Oakie says, it received much praise--which is why Sifton reviewed it after 10 months. As I recall, it was quite plausibly the best opening in a very difficult year.

 

Let's not rewrite history.

 

I'm not saying that. I'm saying that the Times did not like the place. That's a fact. They said it. Twice.

 

SHO was very well received on MFF and elsewhere maybe (Yelp? Tripadvisor?). It's not like Platt loved the place, but it's immaterial to my point. In a way, it bolsters it.

 

In a world where the NYT is the only game in town - Michelin and the interwebs rise at about the same time - skipping Juni is eminently explicable: it's a redux of a restaurant that the Times did not like from a chef that was assessed as serving outdated food. So what's the urge to rereview the place when you've already looked at the guy's work (twice) and dismissed it? It's not like Miami is held in high regard here (ie. Hergatt is not Heston Blumenthal or even Michel Richard - he's not a big name). The existence of outside checks on the Times, the biggest of which is Michelin, changes the calculus w/r/t a Juni.

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Actually, rather than "dismissing" SHO, Sam Sifton gave it two stars, despite all his reservations --and was widely criticized for not giving it more. In the other piece you're referring to, Wells said: "Mr. Hergatt is a master technician and a skilled manipulator of tastes and textures," while griping about seasonality.

 

So it's a bit of a wobbly sort of "fact."

 

SHO was well received all over the place. That's why the Times gave in and reviewed it. There are a lot of places would like to get two dismissive stars.

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Okay, sure, but it's not like the Times loved the place. A two star review of a joint with three star aspirations is, I think, an "I don't really like this but it's like fine I guess". And Wells' diner's journal thing was also kind of "why all this gold foil? why is this dude looking at me?"

 

Are you reading what I write? Am I not being clear? That Ozersky point you may be making but I'm not sure because I don't want to assume seems to basically be my point. The justification for the Juni review is not internal to the New York Times. Both Wells and Sifton have written on Big Shaun's food and said "meh". But the world at large - spearheaded by Michelin but also Ozersky and the Mouthfuls groupthink tell Pistol Pete that this is a place that does matter. The NYT has already told the world that this guy is no big deal. The "world" has responded with a "yes he is".

 

In a world without external checks on the Times' authority, a non-review of the second hotel restaurant by a chef the Times has judged to be kind of mediocre is not exactly a must visit. In a world where the interwebs can yell at poor Pete on Twitter and Michelin, in all its Calvinist glory, can deign the restaurant to be worth two whole stars, there's a much greater imperative on the Times to revisit itself.

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Well I withdraw what I said about editors and independence.

 

Rather forthcoming replies:

 

.@WilfridPinkPig Some places get reviewed quickly b/c the public (or one's editors) is hopping up & down on 1 foot with impatience eg Tavern

.@WilfridPinkPig With some others I have the luxury of seeing how things develop over time.

 

 

I told you so. But you wouldn't listen.

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In a world without external checks on the Times' authority, a non-review of the second hotel restaurant by a chef the Times has judged to be kind of mediocre is not exactly a must visit. In a world where the interwebs can yell at poor Pete on Twitter and Michelin, in all its Calvinist glory, can deign the restaurant to be worth two whole stars, there's a much greater imperative on the Times to revisit itself.

 

I cannot think of a precedent that either confirms or refutes your hypothesis. You appear to start from a premise that Hergatt is a fairly trivial figure, so that colors your thinking. The NYT does not review very many hotel restaurants, but the paper was paying pretty close attention to Hergatt right from the start. Here are two substantial pieces before the paper even reviewed it (here, here), to say nothing of numerous smaller mentions in the months surrounding the opening. They don't do that every time a chef from Miami opens a hotel restaurant in Manhattan.

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Yes, for some reason the Times took notice of this chef from Miami years ago. Maybe they were truly excited by the move, maybe he had a good PR company, IDK. Then the critics reviewed it and didn't like it that much. Then he left.

 

But this is really beside the point. Shaun Hergatt minus Michelin stars is not some globally important chef. He's not Redzepi. He's not even Susur Lee.

 

The sole point I'm making here is that there's nothing in the SHO story - based solely on what the Times had to say about the piece - that necessitates a review of Juni. The argument for Juni is based on the non-NYTpraise lavished on SHO by Michelin and Mouthfuls and Ozersky and Yelp.

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The sole point I'm making here is that there's nothing in the SHO story - based solely on what the Times had to say about the piece - that necessitates a review of Juni. The argument for Juni is based on the non-NYTpraise lavished on SHO by Michelin and Mouthfuls and Ozersky and Yelp.

 

This is incorrect. None of us are aware of a precedent (and you've offered none) where the paper paid that much attention a chef, then he opens a new place and doesn't get reviewed.

 

The question isn't whether he deserved that attention (and hence Orik's point is irrelevant), only whether he received it.

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Yes.

 

If you make a big deal out of something and it turns out to be not such a big deal, then you don't have an obligation to keep making a big deal out of it. This point is about Juni, not SHO. Todd English got a hype machine once as well.*

 

*Not to say that Hergatt = English. Just that, without Michelin, etc., the Times cutting their losses and not treating Juni as an important thing is more explicable. Which is my point about the existence of Michelin changing the debate.

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Well I withdraw what I said about editors and independence.

 

Rather forthcoming replies:

 

.@WilfridPinkPig Some places get reviewed quickly b/c the public (or one's editors) is hopping up & down on 1 foot with impatience eg Tavern

.@WilfridPinkPig With some others I have the luxury of seeing how things develop over time.

 

 

I told you so. But you wouldn't listen.

 

 

As if giving new restaurants fourteen to sixteen months to "see how things develop" is just routine, normal, what Times restaurant critics usually do...

 

Blimey.

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