This is the review that started my hatred of Sam Sifton:
Now in fairness, I have never eaten an Peels, but you cannot give a restaurant a star and make these comments about the food:
"The menu at Peels is vaguely Southern — fried chicken appears, along with shrimp and grits — but the South the restaurant invokes is really the one below Route 27 in Suffolk County, where identity is a matter of bank balance and there is no effective difference between artifice and fact."
"The entrees, however, are a mess, and have been cycling in and out of favor, most egregiously as a “crispy pulled pork” dish, gone now, that put the lie to both adjectives."
"But fried chicken has a dull, monochromatic taste, a crispness free of salt, an interior free of sweet. (“It’s fresh-killed,” reported a waitress, as if to explain.) It comes with boiled corn reminiscent of the Coney Island boardwalk, and a whopping big slice of watermelon that tastes, in contrast, as if fashioned by magic.
Braised lamb shank with mescal and mole, meanwhile, offers slow-cooker shank meat in a tame mole sauce that works best as a bath for its accompanying beans. The mescal may be in there somewhere, a hint of funk, but what is present collapses beneath the weight of the meat, and in the dry chalkiness of some charred onions strewn across the top of the dish."
"Waffles are cloying, too soda-rich to be anything more than a nod to childhood appetites. (Good luck getting an actual child to eat one, even after a good long pour from the beautiful glass log cabin bottles the restaurant uses for maple syrup.)"
So, dear Sam, if you hate the food oh so much, what can possibly be the reason for provding this establishment with a star? His love of the crowd, the attractiveness of the servers, and because in his own words "the effortless beauty of a young woman in a Heaney poem glides around pouring refills."
HOT SERVERS DO NOT EQUATE TO STARS!!!!!