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ckk9

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  1. Funny story, but hardly one to redeem the man! He's just obnoxious! I like Claude's pastry, but it is highly variable in terms of its quality.
  2. If it hasn't yet been done--I thought it might be interesting, even illuminating, to think about the Time’s star system in relation to another (in)famous ranking system—perhaps the "no.1" ranking phenomenon—the U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of the “Best Universities in America”. You are wondering what important similarity exists between these two systems, apart from their being rankings? Mainly the social-cultural logic behind them. One thing that both rankings share in common is the perception amongst cognoscenti of their lack of consistency, accuracy, coherence, and efficacy. But is that really what we expect from them, as they exist for us today? The NY Times stars largely match a system of expectations in the public that are not necessarily rational or systematic, as I agree they should be. But the criteria of the NYTimes stars is not so alien to us as to be unrecognizable either. Indeed, they respond to our need for orderly information and status. They reflect, and frequently follow, a set of expectations of what "extraordinary dining" should be. These expectations may be a prejudice, for instance, for French cuisine (or, now, Japanese), or a certain type (note I do not necessarily say "quality") of service. And this is not to say that these expectations are necessarily the wrong ones either. Quality often follows perceptions, or conforms itself to expectations. We only loose because the reverse is less often true and quality sometimes goes unacknowledged. We should perhaps use the Times' star system as a mirror of our society's cultural aspirations in food rather than a connoisseur's evaluation of the restaurants themselves.
  3. and sorry, Steven, for mispelling your name! I'm new around here!!
  4. Perhaps I am too optimistic about humanity, or rather the objectivity of reviewers. You certainly know more about that, Stephen, than I, and I concede that there are politics at work that I cannot appreciate. I would still maintain that a restaurant that is as good as it gets at times shouldn't make me wince at others--and that that strange combination of experiences may not be altogether uncommon there, given that it has happened to me twice and apparently to others (including friends not active on this site). That this might be disappointing to true lovers of great food is, I hope, understandable. And that isn't to say that I don't think a great restaurant can ever be 100% consistent. I think you once commented about this very thing, and I agree with you that 100% is unattainable. My favorite restaurant in the city, Per Se, is certainly a case in point, although in my triple experience it rose to the occasion with more consistency than ADNY--and never made me wince. C.
  5. I have not read every last page of this particular strand, but I would like to add my voice to the discussion of ADNY. I have had two meals there in the last 3 years. On both occasions I found that some dishes were entirely remarkable and others fell essentially flat. The high points were as good as things get, but the low points made me wince. Afterwards, I must confess I felt a little betrayed. My exuberance about half the courses was combined with frustration about the others. I might add that my meal at MIX was not special. I am not here to support the Gourmet review, which I have not read, or to raise my voice in support of the general negativity of the print reaction to ADNY. But because I am fairly confident that my view isn't an entirely unsophisticated one, I trust you all might entertain the notion that there may indeed be some real, rather than imagined, inconsistency at ADNY. Just as I believe that many of you have experienced sublime and consistent meals at ADNY, I cannot believe that conspiratorial animus of a French restaurant or chef, even a restaurant run by a provacative "imperialist" chef, can be in fact existent. To say that all of these reviewers are ignorant seems to stretch credibility in itself. And, again, don't get me wrong--I want ADNY to work out! I'm going back next week--and only because I have read and trusted many of the things you all have said here! Forget my common sense reaction here--I want to be proven wrong. Christian.
  6. ckk9

    Scalini Fedeli

    I have been to S. F. perhaps 10 times in the last year, and I have rarely left without thinking that this restaurant remains one of the best kept secrets in the city. Apart from the somewhat hotel-like ambience and the "authentic" staff (who resemble characters from the "Godfather"), this place should be full every night. I certainly know where I can go for a strong meal on a Friday without a hastle.
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