Serious Eats: Talk

I miss Frank Bruni: Complaints about Sam Sifton

So I just read Sam Sifton's latest review, of ABC Restaurant:

http://events.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/dining/reviews/02rest.html?ref=dining

Maybe it is because the weather system tearing through my area is giving me a raging headache, maybe it is because my boss just returned from two weeks of vacation, maybe it is because I am hungry, but I just can't handle Sam Sifton today.

He is so, how do I say it, precious. He uses the words "very good" far too often, a good writer, in my opinion, should rarely resort to using the words "very" or "good" apart, let alone together, let alone as a frequently used statement.

Sometimes I like his writing: it is atmospheric, imaginative, evocative. I prefer his writing for the column, The Cheat. He equates food with an imagined setting (in this case, the home of an eco-conscious wealthy WASP in the Hamptons), and sometimes that is charming (such as in The Cheat). Sometimes, however, he goes overboard. Too many emotions, too much evocation, not enough straight forward criticism. I find I have to wade through the fluff to get to the meaty bits (pun intended).

I miss Frank Bruni. He had a bit more bite (pun intended? Sorry), a bit more spark, a lot more snark.

So the point of this long, long post (apologies): How do you feel about Sam Sifton? Do you love him? Do you hate him? Do you not care? Do you want to tear me down for criticizing him? How do you like your food critics? And who are your favorites?

And do you miss Frank Bruni the way I miss Frank Bruni?

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