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5 hours ago, Diancecht said:

if we decide to visit nyc this spring, perhaps mena will be on our list. certainly seems interesting.

Just be prepared to go down the alley to Au Cheval for a burger afterwards. 

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We had one of those lessons in 7th grade. I was called up to the front and presented with a NYTimes (I guess because the teacher assumed I'd not be familiar with such a sophisticated paper). She start

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5 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

1.  But the star system HAS pretty much disappeared in New York.  (See my post directly above.)

2.  I didn't say numerical ratings of restaurants were grotesque.  I said numerical ratings of art exhibitions would be.  Do you disagree?  Does the Chronicle give Little Men to paintings?

no it doesn’t - to paintings. but it’s (the little man) an established part of the critic culture here.

i disagree absolutely, it’s (the nyt times resto star system) just a ranking system that can be taken away at any time if performance should fail, as evidenced by per se and emp. and the highest ranking can be awarded to any type of cuisine subject to the tastes of the critic in the hot seat. wasn’t there a chinese restaurant that garnered four stars at one point? in the 1970s? 

that’s all it is, nothing more, in my opinion.

the times’ official stance is that they’re not using the system because covid, not because offensive to restaurants. and if it’s the latter, i would have expected wells to say something about that. i dislike his writing style and try not to read him but even in my intentional ignorance, i think i would have heard something through certain channels.

 

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5 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

Let me try it this way.  You can say that the Mena review looks like three stars, and because Mena's a certain kind of restaurant, I can see what you mean.

But how many stars do you think these reviews equate to?

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/08/dining/restaurant-review-leticias.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/24/dining/restaurant-review-taqueria-ramirez.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/07/dining/aunts-et-uncles-review-vegan-restaurant-brooklyn.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/02/dining/restaurant-review-foda-egyptian-sandwiches-queens.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/18/dining/restaurant-review-mariscos-el-submarino-aguachile.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/24/dining/forever-jerk-restaurant-review.html

And if your answer is, "those places shouldn't be the subjects of New York Times main reviews", that just shows why the star system was so wrong.

lol, any of those places are worthy of a restaurant review. do they serve food? are they a service establishment? do they engage in hospitality?

didn’t wells review a food truck once?

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19 hours ago, Diancecht said:

the times’ official stance is that they’re not using the system because covid, not because offensive to restaurants. and if it’s the latter, i would have expected wells to say something about that. i dislike his writing style and try not to read him but even in my intentional ignorance, i think i would have heard something through certain channels.

 

Not just to restaurants.  To writers, readers, and food culture as a whole.

Read what Ryan Sutton said about getting rid of stars at Eater:    https://ny.eater.com/2021/9/1/22651234/eater-drops-restaurant-stars-reviews

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19 hours ago, Diancecht said:

lol, any of those places are worthy of a restaurant review. do they serve food? are they a service establishment? do they engage in hospitality?

See, you and I obviously agree about that.

But remember, during the ascendancy of the Star System, how people here would argue that delicatessens, taco stands, pizza places, and the like weren't fit subjects for NYT main reviews because they "weren't restaurants"?  That seemed to be the majority opinion here.

And it really was dictated by the internal needs of the Star System rather than any viable view of what's worthy of consideration.  Because you really CAN'T numerically rate a taco stand on the same scale as a tasting menu place if you want to be fair to both.

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To be clear, the problem (aside from the fact that you can't fairly evaluate very different types of places on the same scale) isn't whether numerical ratings can or can't be changed.  It's that they convey a very false sense of objectivity that of course doesn't exist and are blunt instruments that are unable to convey complex evaluations.  They subvert criticism.  They turn it into a kind of joke.  And they turn food culture into a kind of joke, too.  And they insult the readers' intelligence.

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59 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

To be clear, the problem (aside from the fact that you can't fairly evaluate very different types of places on the same scale) isn't whether numerical ratings can or can't be changed.  It's that they convey a very false sense of objectivity that of course doesn't exist and are blunt instruments that are unable to convey complex evaluations.  They subvert criticism.  They turn it into a kind of joke.  And they turn food culture into a kind of joke, too.  And they insult the readers' intelligence.

Yes and no. Where there is a somewhat objective set of criteria, ratings can be very effective without subverting criticism itself. An idealized Michelin that is rigorously about French fine dining - or, really, expanded to other cuisines that have a hierarchical system of formal dining - is very functional, and doesn't in any way impeded critical discussion of L'Arpege vs. Noma. In some ways, it frees those kinds of restaurants from critical discussion about whether they are "good" and allows for more discussion about what those restaurants do or represent. Whether you think that's good is another question. 

If you look at my questions on the Paris thread, or AB's, it's really clear what we mean when we say "we want one meal at a one star". The rating confers meaningful content. What happens (whether it is a new thing or an old thing, IDK), is that there was a push to make ratings egalitarian under the guise that a taco truck could be as delicious as Per Se and should therefore be evaluated on the basis of the same star system. This is peculiar - stars really aren't a gauge of "deliciousness". Ask Orik, the taco truck is probably more delicious than Per Se.

The other weirdness, of course, is that the criticism of the star systems kind of accepted the star systems on terms that treated them as a valid way to evaluate all restaurants. The critics treat them as more powerful than they are. Like, it would be far cleaner to say "NYT stars are a great way to evaluate formal restaurants of various traditions, but they aren't about what's delicious, so read my list of top delis" as opposed to "Katz's is a great deli it deserves four stars".

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Sure.  But the problem is that a special-interest publication like Michelin can validly limit itself to a certain type of restaurant with a single set of criteria if it wants to.  But while it might perhaps once have been valid for a general-interest publication like the Times -- the so-called "Newspaper of Record" -- to have limited its official main reviews to that same type of restaurant (or indeed any one type of restaurant), it quite simply is no longer acceptable in the current climate -- and good for that!  Nor would it be acceptable to segregate the "other" restaurants to their own non-"official" unrated column:  indeed, I think that now would (correctly) lead to a storming of The Times' office building!

ETA -- It goes without saying that the limitation is class-based and, indeed, racial/ethnic.

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Or what if The Times said, we're going to only give "official" reviews to mainstream classical concerts taking place in standard venues like Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center where they play boring renditions of old works you've already heard a million times (and the occasional new piece in a conservative idiom)?  We might give brief notices of Alt Classical concerts in warehouses in Brooklyn and Queens, but they won't get "official" reviews cuz they're not fancy enough. 

They would lose any and all credibility as an entity covering the NYC cultural scene.

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22 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:


ETA -- It goes without saying that the limitation is class-based and, indeed, racial/ethnic.

What percentage of michelin star aspirants that have opened in the past 5 years have been euro/white? Aren't they all New Korean? 

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White and non-white aren't the only two races or ethnicities. 

On 4/6/2022 at 3:27 PM, Sneakeater said:

But the real problem is that the star system only makes internal logical sense if you limit reviews to European-derived fine dining (or other cuisines/styles that can be made to resemble it).  And that just isn't tenable anymore.

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And, indeed, Michelin doesn't apply Michelin criteria in New York.  I mock them for it and accuse them of loosening their standards.  But isn't it really also an acknowledgement that you just can't?

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