There was increased activity in and out of the kitchen, which was half exposed to the room. We waited a few more minutes, and were then shown to a spot at the edge of the hurricane, against a wall.
Our neighbors were taking photographs directly above their bowls of Ceci e Pepe. We were given menus with wry footnotes. Wells took off his fake glasses and put on his reading glasses. Nurnberger became our server. Both men were recognized. Experienced for the first time, this covert cosseting feels slightly melancholy, like an episode of Cold War fiction involving futile charades and a likely defenestration. Nurnberger was a gracious server but, understandably, not quite at ease. Rote questions about how we gentlemen were getting on—usually asked of me—had a peculiar intensity.
Because sometimes they should worry. When Wells speaks, his fingers often flutter near his temples, as if he were a stage mentalist trying to focus. He ordered several plates of food; after hesitation, he asked for a glass of white wine. When dishes arrived, he looked at them sternly for a moment. The first of these reviews, from Los Angeles, appears online on September 6th.
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People you should feel free to savage, when you have to. The two men, who were on friendly terms before Wells became a critic, made eye contact but did not acknowledge each other. Wells ate there on four occasions. Three of those times, one of his guests told him on the way out that he or she had never eaten a worse meal. In , the Times introduced star ratings for restaurant reviews.
How the New York Times critic writes the reviews that make and break restaurants.
One star has come to be defined as Good; two is Very Good, three is Excellent, and four is Extraordinary. The review was couched entirely as questions.
Did you eat the food? Did it live up to your expectations? Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex? His expressions of puzzlement, though amused, were sincere enough to give him a half-innocent path to gleeful, relentless disdain.
Wells is generally a well-mannered critic, if not an overly respectful one. In his first years on the job, he was sometimes faulted in the food press for being too generous in his appraisals; he had made a point of publishing fewer one-star reviews than his immediate predecessors. It was a Friday afternoon. His wife, the novelist Susan Choi, and their two sons were out. He and Choi met at The New Yorker , where they were both fact-checkers. A door led out to a deck and a grill.
He had just e-mailed the draft of a two-star review to the paper. He files copy once a week. In moments of distress, he turns to Oblique Strategies, the pack of cards, printed with gnomic guidance for blocked artists, co-written by Brian Eno. Writing about Mr. The crab tasted of mayonnaise and Tabasco and had been browned and warmed inside a heavy foil dish in the shape of a crab shell. The two-star review is generally the easiest for Wells to write.
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Readers will hear a voice of slightly goofy Wodehousian giddiness; the column becomes a self-portrait of someone glad to discover that—in this restaurant and, perhaps, in life—things have turned out better than expected. How can I be so helplessly, irretrievably crazy about them?
There are twenty-four thousand restaurants in the city. Wells mentioned Luksus, a restaurant in Greenpoint with Nordic touches, which has a Michelin star but left him a little cold. Amanda Cohen, the chef and owner of Dirt Candy, a vegetarian restaurant on the Lower East Side, wept with happiness on seeing her two-star review, in —and she still feels its economic benefit.
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In such an ecosystem, a harsh review is precious: it helps mark critical boundaries. How do you walk away from that? The mom-and-pop catastrophe can be overlooked. Prune, as her mother calls her, was one of five children growing up in a burnt-out silk mill in New Hope, Pennsylvania, where her mother roasted marrow bones and her father an artist and set designer roasted entire goats for elaborate lawn parties.
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Her parents divorced when she was 13, leaving her to her own devices and sending her on a shoplifting spree and into her first restaurant gig. Later in life, the chef refuses to brunch at places that need to lure customers in with free mimosas, no matter how hungry she is. Later, after she reluctantly marries him for the purpose of a green card, it turns out to be something deeper.
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Yes, you should absolutely preorder it , but be warned you may find yourself itching to open a restaurant. The same citrus fruits are often called Makrut limes, the original name given to them in Southeast Asia where they are grown. His role will be filled by his former chef de cuisine, Rudy Lopez. Flint could be tough at times but had not heard that his conduct could go beyond being a tough boss demanding excellence. His leadership style needed to change to treat everyone more respectfully and to operate the best kitchen possible. As the entire industry has been evolving for the better, so have we.
Part of the evolution the industry is undertaking will require recognizing that supporting workplace diversity means calling out microaggressions and inappropriate language and behaviors.