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Diwan


Anu
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Coming from someone who hasn't been to the restaurant, and who considers a visit to an Indian restaurant coercive, I can't take these questions very seriously, and neither should anybody else

3 People I trust:

FG, Suvir and Tommy

ok, well maybe not Tommy :biggrin:

Edited by awbrig (log)
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Steven -- I did not necessarily intend the post to be interpreted the way you appear to have in the last post. I am merely saying that, when one is "known" at a restaurant, one might receive, depending on the restaurant and the applicable diner, better-quality food or more interesting food. That might happen because the kitchen takes extra effort, is willing to take risks it might not with an unknown diner, or otherwise *wants* to give VIP treatment to the diner. I don't think that's a negative thing for the diner or the restaurant.

I was not attempting to "cast a shadow of doubt on the motives and integrity of Suvir, [you], and 'applicable other diners.'" Why is say, a diner like Orik, who may have earned his VIP treatment by multiple visits, a person whose motives or integrity might be negatively impacted if it were the case that he *does* receive VIP treatment? Note I'm not sure what standards apply to a professional critic like Asimov or yourself, but why shouldn't, for example, Suvir get special treatment at Diwan when he has helped craft certain of the menu dishes? Getting VIP treatment is a good thing, very generally, in my book. :blink::blink:

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I agree that my posts should be taken in the context of my never having visited Diwan, and my not being knowledgeable about Indian cuisine. That is why I tried to make these aspects clear. :blink:

Every diner has her own preferences and experiences. I'm not knowledgeable about Mexican, Italian or Russian cuisine either, among other cuisines. :huh:

Edited by cabrales (log)
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On the buffet, do you find it odd that a restaurant could purport to offer high quality hot/warm food as part of a buffet?  Do members think that a gastronomic restaurant should be offering buffets?  Are there particular cuisines, such as Indian cuisines, where buffets "hurt" the food less (e.g., if there are heating devices and the warm/hot food is kept around)?  If the answer is yes, what might that say about the cuisine?

it's a good to very good lunch for 12.95. indian restaurants seem to offer buffets. don't know why. i suppose for the tourists.

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I did not necessarily intend the post to be interpreted the way you appear to have in the last post.

Not "necessarily"? Your word choices are always amusing, and revealing.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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But of course you're just attempting to cast a shadow of doubt on the motives and integrity of Suvir, me, and "applicable other diners."

Oh rubbish. You're the one writing articles about how to get VIP treatment. If that's not improper how can Cabrales cast 'a shadow of doubt' over anyone's integrity when the give or recieve such treatment.

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Whether word choice is revealing can be in the eye of the beholder. For example, if a post read: "I do not necessarily agree with that position", it might be a gentle way of saying "I do not agree". :blink: Similarly, "I did not necessarily intend the post to be interpreted the way you appear to have in the last post" might be a gentler way of saying "Your interpretation of my post is wrong, relative to my intentions". :hmmm:

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tommy -- If Orik gets VIP treatment, how does that reasonably reflect negatively on his motives or his integrity? Please respond specifically, so that I can better understand. Even in the case of the gastronomic critic, unless that critic always goes to places anony-ly all the time, how does being "known" (and getting VIP treatment, if any, as a result) cause his motives or his integrity to become stained, particularly if the restaurant is *indeed* giving him VIP treatment and therefore the food *is* better?

I'd understand if Patricia Wells got better food than I could when she went to Robuchon (if I had ever gone, contrary to the facts). That's because, among other things, she is a known food critic and because she helped him with some of his books. It doesn't bother the reader of a Wells article that, when she reviewed Guy Savoy post-her old open letter to Michelin that he was deserving of three stars, she was bound to get better treatment than the reader likely could. Is that not normal, in a way, almost?

Edited by cabrales (log)
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tommy -- If Orik gets VIP treatment, how does that reasonably reflect negatively on his motives or his integrity?  Please respond specifically, so that I can better understand. Even in the case of the gastronomic critic, unless that critic always goes to places anony-ly all the time, how does being "known" (and getting VIP treatment, if any, as a result) cause his motives or his integrity to become stained?

i was speaking to your dialog with fat guy, not to VIP treatment in general. i've already posted that VIP treatment is a good thing. i think we agree on that, yes? :smile:

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tommy -- I am not going to respond, given the board's guidelines that one should adhere to food discussion, such as VIP treatment and potential explanations of discrepancies in the meals experienced by Wilfrid and by certain other diners. :laugh:

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My substantive posts on food/restaurants speak for themselves, as do all members' posts on the same topic (whether in this thread or otherwise).

tommy -- I do welcome your provision of background, though. It seems to confirm that my posts objectively relate to food in this thread, in that commentary on the reasons (if any) that my posts might be subjectively read by a given member differently might, in your mind, be appropriate.

Edited by cabrales (log)
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Cabrales, welcome back. :smile:

I notice that there have been several posts in the hour or so I've been working on this; any bearing they might have on this is purely coincidental. :rolleyes:

I don't understand what you mean when you say:

I find Indian cuisine stark in general
To me, "stark" connotes simple in the extreme. Related to food that would mean, among other things:

- with no complexity of flavor other than that inherent in the (generally sole) ingredient

- with no contrast of textures in the finished dish as served

- perhaps unsauced

- cooked by one single method (steamed; poached; roasted; sauteed; boiled), not a combination (braised; escovitched, stewed).

While some of those characteristics hold for some South Asian food, I could never apply them to all the various cuisines taken together. So please explain what YOU mean, that I may understand your position better. Thanks.

As for personal relationships -- I agree with Tommy that being "known" probably has no effect on the quality of the food we are served. On the quantity, most definitely (as I've experienced in other restaurants of whatever ethnicity) -- the extra dishes unordered yet served. As I've noted, the tandoori dishes Chef Hemant prepares are consistent; it is the other food that is not. Some, I might add, had been better later, than on my initial visit; this when Suvir was not present.

And on the question of expectations: I first went to Diwan expecting a much higher level of food than one gets at restaurants on Sixth Street or Curry Hill. I expected better than I get at Salaam Bombay and Spice Grill, both of which are (objectively) considered better than those two locations. True, my only experience with South Asian food has been in this country; so I cannot make comparisons to the best served on its native soil, whether in a home or commercial establishment. But I was not merely surprised at Diwan; I was astonished at the complexity, and the (unexpected) flavors and preparation methods. My delight was based on objective criteria of comparison (did the spices taste raw? did they sound only one note? was the chicken dried out?) as well as subjective taste. After all, I do not believe there can possibly be any absolutes when it comes to food.

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It seems to confirm that my posts objectively relate to food in this thread, in that commentary on the reasons (if any) that my posts might be subjectively read by a given member differently might, in your mind, be appropriate.

Oh, how I missed those run-on sentences... :wacko:

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... But food alone cannot carry a restaurant to a 3 Star

To refresh my recollection of the prior discussion on Diwan, I recently reviewed this thread quickly -- from the beginning. That took me to the early posts with observations on the Asimov two-star review -- with the posts potentially conveying that the two stars conferred might signal to diners a lower quality of cuisine than some members deemed apropriate (perhaps three stars?). I reread the Asimov review, which was very favorable, and found the following language excerpts which indicated Asimov nonetheless might have had some gently-framed constructive comments on the Diwan food. (Note many favorable Asimov comments on the cuisine have been omitted.)

"Mr. Mathur *saves most of his fireworks* for his tandoori dishes. ... The venison chops we ordered instead were a worthy substitute [for wild boar], ... yet *seemed quiet* next to the resounding flavor of the lamb chops, which were surprisingly beige in their yogurt, ginger and garlic coating. Creamy chicken kebabs are beige as well ... But Diwan offers *better* chicken choices [than the creamy chicken kebabs] .... I loved vegetable dishes like [a long list]... I was *less impressed* with dishes like Cornish hens with an apricot sauce, a match that *never quite takes*, and *creamy, insipid dishes* like Lahore chicken curry and saffron chicken."

Not that a reviewer is without constructive comments on cuisine at the three or four-star NYT level, but the above suggests Asimov might have seen several areas of potential improvement for Diwan's cuisine. :blink::blink:

It's also potentially interesting that Asimov appears to have sampled so many dishes. Perhaps he was dining with many companions, and they were sharing.

Edited by cabrales (log)
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Not that a reviewer is without constructive comments on cuisine at the three or four-star NYT level, but the above suggests Asimov might have seen several areas of potential improvement for Diwan's cuisine.

Yeah, so what's your point? :blink::cool::smile::shock::sad::raz::unsure::laugh:

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Jason -- :blush: Just noting that, like many other even very favorable reviews, there were areas for improvement on certain dishes which might further explain why some posters had better meals than others, depending on their orders.

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Jason -- :blush: Just noting that, like many other even very favorable reviews, there were areas for improvement on certain dishes which might further explain why some posters had better meals than others, depending on their orders.

That's true for every restaurant that has ever been.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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"Mr. Mathur *saves most of his fireworks* for his tandoori dishes. ... The venison chops we ordered instead were a worthy substitute [for wild boar], ... yet *seemed quiet* next to the resounding flavor of the lamb chops, which were surprisingly beige in their yogurt, ginger and garlic coating. Creamy chicken kebabs are beige as well ... But Diwan offers *better* chicken choices [than the creamy chicken kebabs] .... I loved vegetable dishes like [a long list]... I was *less impressed* with dishes like Cornish hens with an apricot sauce, a match that *never quite takes*, and *creamy, insipid dishes* like Lahore chicken curry and saffron chicken."

9 out of 10 of my relatives in India, who happen to be vegetarians would tune out a review which only mentioned non-vegetarian preparation -- However, OTH; Many desis understand that any of these reviews are targeted to a meat-eating audience.

As I have posted in the Indian sub-section about vegetarian dishes that one is unlikey to find in most restaurants here , which are very popular in many households.

I'm sure Simon dada, can list off aother half-a-dozen more khoti-dishes that complex and delicious are rarely available in restaurants.

anil

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