Steve Plotnicki

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If It's on a Pita, Is It a Burger? Kenn's Broome Street Bar in SoHo

I've been eating the burgers at Kenn's since the early 1970's and they were always one of the best burgers in the city. As to ongoing discussion about burgers, the bun is only important to in a secondary sense. A good bun can't save mediocre meat, but it can enhance terrific meat. Otherwise the best burger in the city is at Wolfgang's Steakhouse at lunchtime because they use the trimmings of 28 day-aged prime beef to make the burger. Nothing matches it including Peter Lugers lunch time burger which I would put in second place. Similar to Kenn's, another very good old school NY restaurant burger which is overlooked is Noho Star.

Early Returns on New Dining Survey Not So Favorable

"And in the rating system you use, their opinions wouldn't carry a lot of weight because they can't rate as many restaurants as others do."

But I just posted a list of people, some of whom make quite modest incomes, who rated more restaurants than people who have significant wealth.

Early Returns on New Dining Survey Not So Favorable

Well your prior post made a snarky comment saying that it should be called, "The Rich New Yorker's Guide to Dining in the U.S. and Europe." Your last post tones that rhetoric down quite a bit which I appreciate. As to who actually practices this hobby, I took a look at the list of our top weighted participants which included exactly two wealthy businessmen from NYC (me included LOL.) Others professions on the list were:

Human resources manager in London
Project manager at a financial printing company in London
Investment banker in London
retired architect NYC and Paris
young attorney in NYC
professor in N. Cal
psychologist in NYC
professor in Chicago
Nuclear Arms expert in Wash DC
Political writer in London
Accounting clerk in London
eBay seller from Canada
Fashion model from Paris
Actuary from California
Housewife from California
Computer consultant from London
Computer executive from Northern Cal.

While some of the people on the list are high income earners, there are also those who do not make a lot of money but who save in order to take two or three trips a year for the purpose of dining. You have also twisted around a comment of mine when you said,

"And while experience with fine dining might be necessary to be an authority on high-end restaurants, I'm not convinced that experience alone necessarily makes one an expert."

Nowhere have I made that claim. What I have said is that experience is a fundamental component of being an expert on any topic, and by offering a blended opinion of people who might qualify to be experts, the results are more reliable than other guides on the market.

Early Returns on New Dining Survey Not So Favorable

Julia I wish you would read the book before making incorrect statements. In terms of the10 highest rated restaurants in the book they are in order;

1. Troisgros
2. Bras
3. Fat Duck
4. L'Arpege
5. Pierre Gagnaire
6. Urasawa
7. El Bulli
8. L'Astrance
9. L'Arnsbourg
9. The French Laundry

None of them are in NYC. In fact the only that are located 2 in the U.S. are in California. Secondly, your notion about who the book is directed at is misplaced and is unnecessarilly insulting to the people who actively travel to dine out and who do not earn large incomes. There are many people who fit that description who participated in the survey. But your raising it in this context does raise the question, if you are not someone who actively travels around the U.S. and Europe in an attempt to learn about cuisine and to better fine tune your palate, on what basis would you be an authoritiy on this subject matter?

Early Returns on New Dining Survey Not So Favorable

Gee I love a good firestorm, Let's see, where do I start. First of all, Michael Nagrant's comment about shilling is pretty silly considering that I have published a survey where the scores and comments are driven by ratings from more than 900 people. All I add to the mix is to judge how a resstaurant performed based on expectations. As to the comments about being too close to chefs, Nagrant obviously didn't read the introduction to my book. What sets my guide apart from the traditional food press (at least what I hope sets it apart) is that is attempts to help diners get a better meal than the average diner gets. If Nagrant isn't interested in how to get a better meal at a restaurant, or doesn't believe in the concept, well that's okay. But my guide is directed at people who are interested in improving their dining experiences, rather than perpetuating the mediocrity that often passes for fine dining at many restaurants. But in order to do that you can't dine anonymously. You have to somehow communicate to the restaurant that you want their A game and not their B game and as soon as you do that, you can't be anonymous any longer. . Finally, Ed, don't you write for the Times which would make you sort of biased? But besides that, on what basis would you say that my critique of Bruni's review of Dovetail is unfair? While I was a bit strident in my tone (editorial style :-), I suspect that the assertions I made about Fraser's technical proficiency, compared to Humm's and Bouleys, are probably true. Humm spent something like seven years in the Pont de Brent kitchen and you can taste his training in his food. Fraser's food does not have any of the sheen or polish that you will find in Humm's food, let along Bouley's food. Unfortunately, the reviewer for the New York Times wasn't able to tell the difference and as a result, I was cranky after I followed his recommendation so excuse my rant about it (not really but you know what I mean,)


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