Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reviewing the Review of Niko

Let me start this post by telling you that I have never been to Niko.  I may go, I may not. I don't know and Sam Sifton's review did nothing to assist me in making a decision.  However, he did include in this review an honest statement and one that summarizes why I dislike him: "Still, the point of Niko is not really the food"  He gave Niko a star and made it a critics pick and titled the review "Swimming with the beautiful people."  This is the problem, this is why Sam Sifton should be fired. The point of a restaurant is always the food.  After you have mastered the food you should certainly be concerned about the atmosphere, but atmosphere and crap food is pointless. 


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Reviewing the Review of Vandaag

I snuck in a meal at Vandaag last week. It was pleasant, the food was good, but I am a sucker for anyone that will serve me a bowl of house-made pickled vegetables.  The mains were fully enjoyable, but not large.  I had a braised shortrib, my dinner partner had one of the fish specials.  The surly but competent waiter suggested we order a side of potatoes. They came glazed in some sort of syrup, with crisp bacon bits, and shallots. They were fatty, salty, sweet and addictive. And unfortunately for Vandaag, they are the only thing about the meal that I remember.

Which brings me to Sam Sifton...he gave Vandaag two stars and made it a critic's pick. While Vandaag is a totally acceptable, even pretty good restaurant, two stars is absurd. Perhaps I was not as impressed by the space as dear Sam seemed to be. The entire first page of his review is dedicated to the look of the restaurant and the cocktails.  Vandaag is a large open space with tables and benches and nothing more. I have zero concept of why this was so impressive to Sam Sifton.  Its not ugly, but its sparse, and uninteresting. The old school kitschy plates and floral pattern aprons that the servers have to wear scream "hipsters please come in."

Once again, the stars seem to mean almost nothing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Does food matter at all?

More on this topic later, but I felt the need to share two quotes:

1.  "Design matters in restaurants as much as food. Sometimes more. "  9/22 Review of Vandaag (which I just ate at and will do a full Review of the Review soon)

2.  "Two additions to the city’s Indian fine-dining scene are a reminder that restaurants are about more than food." 4/1 - Crosstown Tour of India

At least he admits that he doesn't particularly care if the food is good. No, this doesn't make him right.