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Making Sense of All the Stars

Emily Koh Post a comment

The good ol' ranking system of shaded stars has been a helpful marker of whether a restaurant is worthy of your patronage, but it doesn't help much when each review guide uses a different standard to judge restaurants: One star from the Michelin Guide is an honor, whereas one star from Time Out New York is a slap in the face, given that it operates on a six-star scale. Luckily, the New York Journal has posted an explanation of the various restaurant ranking star systems for some of the major media publications to assist you in your restaurant research.... More

WD-50: Delicious, Enjoyable, and Avant-Garde

New York Ed Levine 1 comment

Photographs of bone marrow, chestnuts, tonburi, pickled honshemeji and soft white chocolate, potato, malt, white beer ice cream courtesy of Tina Wong Frank Bruni's 3-star review of Wylie Dufresne's molecular gastronomy temple WD-50 may in fact reflect Dufresne and... More

Condé Nast Traveler's Hot List Tables 2007

Adam Kuban 2 comments

Condé Nast Traveler's just released their Hot List Tables 2007: 95 of the best new restaurants from 30 countries, featuring dishes from $1 to $200. I'd be impressed by the magazine's eaters if a staggering 37 of the restaurants listed weren't from the USA! Seriously, only two new places in all of India worth mentioning, and only one in Japan? Really? Uh, nice of you to put the list together, guys, but I don't know that it's really worth anyone's time.... More

Are We About to See Chodorow vs. Rayner?

Lia Bulaong Post a comment

Remember all the drama that ensued from Frank Bruni of the New York Times giving restauranteur Jeffrey Chodorow's steakhouse Kobe Club a zero-star, start-to-finish smackdown back in February? Well, Chodorow's latest venture is in London—Suka, which serves Malaysian fusion cuisine created by the New York-based Zak Pelaccio of 5 Ninth and Fatty Crab—and this Sunday it received a review from the Observer's Jay Rayner that begins thusly: "It takes a special kind of incompetence to create a restaurant with dysfunctional tables. At Suka, a new hipper-than-thou joint in London's Sanderson Hotel, which does to the noble culinary traditions of Malaysia what the Romans did to the Sabine women, they have managed it." Ouch. Still no response on chod-o-blog, but maybe... More

Bad Review = Time to Fire The Chef?

Lia Bulaong 2 comments

Andrea Strong wonders in Time Out New York if firing a chef is the appropriate response to receiving a bad restaurant review: "Just tweaking the food with the same chef takes time, and it’s tough to get that sense of change out there," says Stephen Loffredo, who brought in a new chef after Jovia, his Upper East Side Italian restaurant, suffered negative press. "When you say you fired the chef or the chef has left, that’s great news, because the public hears there’s been a change and wants to go back, and the media writes about it."... More

Our Weekly Quote from Chairman Frank

Ed Levine Post a comment

New York Times food critic Frank Bruni gives the Four Seasons two stars in today's paper. The money line from Chairman Frank: "I order the ($55) pheasant, primed for poultry royalty. What I get is a commoner, dry and no more distinguished than anything from the Court of Tyson or the House of Perdue." Although I haven't been to the Four Seasons in the last year, I have never had what I would regard as a good meal there, much less a great one. Considering the prices and the tradition the restaurant embodies, that is a travesty. I thought Bruni's two stars was overly generous based on my experiences (and after reading his review).... More

Five Indian Restaurants In London

Lia Bulaong Post a comment

"Britain is now as cuisine-obsessed as anywhere. Chefs are big stars. Food has become a facet of fashionable style in England. So where does this leave the traditional Indian restaurant, with its menu of rich, variously colored curries that come in mild, medium and hot, usually with a film of oil swimming on top, and its clientele that swells after 11 p.m. when the pubs close?" Henry Shukman of the NY Times visits five of London's best high-end Indian restaurants, three of which have Michelin stars.... More

Alinea's Grant Achatz Will Read Your Blog

Lia Bulaong Post a comment

Chicagoist has a really fantastic interview with Grant Achatz of Chicago's highly-acclaimed Alinea, talking about all sorts of things like his philosophy as a chef and restauranteur, and how his creative process works in his kitchen and with his colleagues. This was my favorite thing to read: C: What food-related websites or media do you keep an eye on, for ideas and feedback?GA: I do it a lot less now, but I used to be really into all the blogs, like eGullet, LTHForum, all of those. I don’t read them so much anymore, I don’t know why. I feel that some of it is that they’re losing some credibility. There’s a lot of good, honest material there, then there’s a... More

Anthony Bourdain on Chodorow VS Bruni

Lia Bulaong Post a comment

Just one week after restauranteur Jeffrey Chodorow bought a pricey full-page ad in the New York Times declaring war on food critic Frank Bruni for dissing his new steakhouse with a starless review the week before, Bruni visits Robert's Steakhouse, the restaurant of the Penthouse stripclub in Midtown and gives it a very positive one star review. Anthony Bourdain weighs in: "Maybe I'm being cynical here but the Message seems to be: "Even a freakin' strip club--where you get lap dances offered between courses is better than your soulless, overpriced meat-emporium. I'd rather spend time in a hot tub with Bob Guiccione than you!" Subtext? "Don't Fuck With Me!" Previously: Mimi Sheraton on Chodorow VS Bruni, You Win Some, You...... More

Mimi Sheraton on Chodorow VS Bruni

Lia Bulaong 3 comments

We mentioned last week that restauranteur Jeffrey Chodorow declared war on the New York Times food section after their food critic Frank Bruni panned Chodorow's new steakhouse Kobe Club and gave it a starless review; former NYT and Time Magazine food critic Mimi Sheraton recently weighed in on the debacle for Slate: Chodorow, of course, was an idiot to have run such an ad. For one thing, it does worlds of good for the critic, indicating he or she has a strong following, and that his or her words can make or break a dining place—in itself a measure of proven dependability. Chodorow questions Bruni's credentials, but one might also ask: What qualifies Chodorow to be a restaurateur? Simply having... More

You Win Some, You... Get Really, Really Mad At Some?

Lia Bulaong 5 comments

We see restaurant reviews in newspapers and on blogs every single day but we rarely ever get to hear the other side of the story, how chefs and restauranteurs feel when they read what critics and customers have to say about their food. Today we've got two totally opposite reactions from people on different ends of the food industry ladder: Matt Finarelli's is working what's only his second job in a kitchen (at Restaurant Vero in Arlington) and his reaction to a local food blog reviewing the restaurant and giving highest praise to a dish he created is sweet and joyful: "So while my one addition was well-received, and even achieved “gem” status, I give all thanks to my bosses... More

What It's Like To Wait For A New York Times Review

Lia Bulaong Post a comment

David Chang was named one of the top ten chefs of 2006 by Food & Wine Magazine and his flagship restaurant Momofuku is one of the shining stars of New York's East Village restaurant scene, so he's no novice when it comes to attention from the press—but waiting for a review of his newest venture from Frank Bruni of the New York Times is a nerve-wracking experience nonetheless. Chang himself handicaps Momofuku Ssam Bar's chances at getting a starred review over at Eater: "Prune has one star – and that places rocks. This is where my money is: a review that says the restaurant is good enough, but not transcendent – a nice one-star. Some witty insights about the food,... More

Northern Ireland Food Critic's Review Found Libelous

Lia Bulaong 1 comment

Caroline Workman's August 2000 review of the Goodfellas restaurant in West Belfast was found libelous by a jury and now her paper, The Irish News, is liable for a £25,000 award plus the court fees of Goodfellas owner Ciarnan Convery, who called Workman's review "a hatchet job". The Irish News is appealing, with the moral support of colleagues and competitors: "Critic and broadcaster Matthew Sweet said it "sets a rather dangerous precedent". "As long as you're factually correct, there should be no limits on what you're allowed to say - if you've had a terrible meal or saw a bad play, then you have every right to share that with your readers," he said."... More

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