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food_dwarf

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I'm sorry but I really don't like the rating system in the Gazette to me it makes absolutly no sense. How can restaurants like Les Infidels get the same rating as say Les Chevres. I am sorry to the people at Cavalli but there is no way that you are a notch just under Toque.

Lesley the average reader, I don't think will be able to know that although the restaurant may be good, they are not exactly the same type of restaurant.

I hope that made sense :unsure:

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You know, before I started this job I would have thought the same thing. But when you dine out this often, you are really after something original, professional, and food that is delicious.

As much as I like Toque!, a dinner I had there recently was less enjoyable than the one I had at Cavalli. A meal I had at La Chronique last year wasn't so hot either. These two restaurants are probably considered the top two in the city, but right now, I wouldn't agree.

And as much as I liked Les Chevres, there were problems with some of my food (it's all spelled out in the review). I've been back since, and if I were to rate the restaurant again I might give them four stars. I'm upping them to three and a half in my next book. But based on my two meals there before my review, I couldn't give them more than three at the time.

I had a terrific meal at Les Infideles. The restaurant was only half full, and the service was great. I make no excuses for that rave review. They deserved it.

When you look at the star rating, don't compare a place like Rosalie to a place like Toque!. I rate in category as well as quality and price range. Les Infideles is a BYOW restaurant and in a sense I compare it to other BYOW establishments. Red Thai is being rated next to other Thai restaurants. Cavalli fits into that high-end innovative category much like Toque! and less like Le Latini.

Also, I always ask myself whether or not the restaurant is fulfilling its potential -- if it’s good as it could be. The night I reviewed Toque! two years ago, I hit it at its best. But when I was at Les Chevres, I felt it could have been better. And I was right because today it has already improved. And when it comes to Cavalli, unless they buy some fancy china and silverware, and enliven the desserts, I don’t see how they could get much better.

Sorry you don't agree with my system, but trust me, I’ve put a lot of thought into it. A lot of people who question the star system have only been to a dozen or so Montreal restaurants. I have been to over 200, and you see things very differently when you have soaked up the scene.

And hey, don't knock Cavalli. I heard Normand Laprise has been there twice and Daniel Vezina three times. The second night I reviewed the restaurant, there were 165 people eating there. Toque! serves about half that many customers. There are between 16-25 cooks working at Cavalli at a time.

If someone were to offer me a free dinner at either restaurant tonight, I'd probably opt for Cavalli over Toque!. I like to have a little fun with my meal these days -- and I'm sick to death of foamy sauces. Last time I ate at Toque! every dish I ordered had a foamy sauce, and quite frankly, the food was a little weird, and our waiter did not offer to take back a terrible wine. As much as I admire Normand and Christine, the all round experience lacked pizzazz.

Give me a Bellini, the beef carpaccio and fontina cheddar pasta at Cavalli these days and I'm a happy girl.

Food dwarf, have you been to Cavalli?

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My local newspaper restaurant critic has come up with a novel way of dealing with restaurant star ratings; no matter what the review, every restaurant gets 2 stars.


=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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Ya what's up with those foamy sauces....

Seriously, to me that makes a lot of sense. Wow, looks like I am marking one down right now. Where is it ?

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If it were as simple as giving stars, there would be no point in writing or reading the text of the review. I usually try to ignore the stars whenever possible.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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The BYOW restaurants should probably be rated by another person on another day.I was reading your review on saturday and noticed that on the upper part, Globe and Pied de Cochon had been rated less than Cavalli. No offense to these guys, i know some of them and they're real nice but isn't something a little weird! Unless our city's level has really been kicked up a notch...these days you are rating a little high. :hmmm:

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i disagree..i think it is about time that we opened the door to other new and fresh young local chefs..and guys can we get over TOQUE,GLOBE,APDC,BRUNOISE,LA CHRONIQUE AND L"EAU A LA BOUCHE it is time to start help all the new comers whatever it takes,there is nothing wrong with a simple carppaccio or a simple risotto,i have been reading lesley"s reviews from day one and i think that she can be very harsh but fair,hey on nov 2 2002 i got one and half stars and i thought she was more than FAIR.......based on the prices,quality service and the kitchen skills ...................someone mentioned the other day that only TOQUE got 4 stars ..wrong there was a 4 star giving to AUBEGE HATLEY and le ST.AUGUSTIN...I THINK

BOTH ARE TERRIFIC......

matteo


Edited by mastermatt78 (log)

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Thank you Matteo, the only person writing on this thread who has been to the restaurant in question :hmmm: and someone who has experienced me at my harshest.

Thank you. Oh and yes, Auberge Hatley did receive 4 stars and the other was Les Caprices de Nicolas last year.

Guru have you been to Cavalli or are you hearing second-hand reports? I heard plenty of second-hand reports before I dined there and expected it to be mediocre. It just didn't happen.

I have to ask, are you against an Italian-style restaurant getting such a high rating? Are you against young chefs who haven't paid their dues or staged in France? That's certainly the impression I get.

I think you should eat out a bit more often and see whey these restaurants are getting high ratings. Wake up boys, there are a lot of good young chefs on the scene right now and a lot of the formerly strong restaurants are faltering. I hear about so many young chefs dining out all over the world. I think that's important but I also think it's important to know what's going on in your own backyard.

And yes, Cavalli was better than Globe. Cavalli was better than APdC. And Cavalli was also much different than both those restaurants. It's all right there, on record, in the reviews.

All I write about is the restaurant and what happened the night -- or nights -- I dined there. It's up to the restaurant to maintain or improve the level after a review.

And tell me, why do you think the BYOW restaurants should be rated by someone else on another day?

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yes lesley that is excatley the impression i am getting from other chefs in the city,when you are associated with italian food you are not good enough...i remember at GLOBE from 93 to the end of 94 while i was taking care of BUONA NOTTE as well ,media as far as new york times.the hollywood reporter and other miami puplication wrote such a positive notes about the whole idea of mixing world flavours and putting it under one crazy loud barn style room----that when globe was upstairs---here at home i was getting hammered by the french media ---JOSE BLANCHEE,ROB BEAUCHMAIN AND FRANCOISE K FROM LA PRESS....the reason was i did not attend training at toque or citros or others,and this was written in their review and it went as far as advising me to change carrer,once MARTIN PICCARD took over from me everthing changed and same thing happen again in my 6 month at MONDO SAX from juine 98 to feb 99..,so my point is i wish that many of us just give every one a chance .......you don"t have to cook FOIS GRAS everyday to be good...

went to CAVALLI again on sat it was even better,we left at 3 am........


Edited by mastermatt78 (log)

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Hey hey!

what's all that crying! I wasn't saying that chefs who did not train outside Canada are not good and that italian restaurants don't deserve a chance. When did you ( Lesley and Matteo) understand that. I know Steve and one of the chefs at Cavalli and i'm convinced that these guys areworking their asses off; my statement was that Lesley was rating high lately and that i was asking if the city's level had changed.Do you remember that thread about chilli bass where in the end we spoke about prices, well i don't like to be ripped off when i go out, i know the prices things are bought and am starting to be a little suspicious. By the way, i've heard a lot of good things about Cavalli.

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hey guru,there is no crying just had to get it OUT because it is frustrating a lot of young good chefs around me.....matter is closed......regards....

PS i did my cooking schooling in canada,george brown college in toronto 1984 and in dallas texas 1988....


Edited by mastermatt78 (log)

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I am thinking out loud! the BYOW concept of les infidels beeing compared to other BYOW restaurants, and that beeing the resaon to give it 3 stars. Lesley, are you willing to do the same for Supper clubs ? Is cafeteria a 3 star restaurant in that category, is Buonanotte the mother of all Supper Clubs? They have been there for 12 years and are still rocking it as we speak. If, buonanotte is a star watching restuarant and Leo and Jude are holding court there all summer does that make it a 4 star restaurant , in that category of reaturants?

please elaborate, i am a little confused...

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Supper club is not a category of restaurant in my books. And when it comes to the rest, I have no idea what you're talking about. :hmmm:

Also "montmartre" whoever you are, I am much happier explaining how I do my job to people who do not post anonymously. I don't post anonymously and I have less and less time for people -- especially people in the business -- who do.

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what is the connection between BUONA NOTTE and BYOW...am i missing somthing in here.....................matteo


Edited by mastermatt78 (log)

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All i am saying is that, i may be symapthetic to different kind of categories and different ratings for each category. yes, les infidels cannot be only 1 star from a Toque, but if "we" create a category for BYOW or Thai or Supper Club or Sandwicherie or whatever million subcategories we want... There are tons of 4 star restaurants or 3 1/2 star restos. And if we want that Sex in the city kind of vibe then lets look at it that way, so when we are reviewing supperclubs; the music should be considered, the uniforms of the staff, the crowd, the decor and then maybe ........the FOOD!

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Come to think about it, in all the years that I have heard glowing reports about the delicious bartenders, waitresses, and/or diners at Buonanotte, nobody has ever mentioned the food as being particularly noteworthy. Yet somehow, they must be doing something right so perhaps there would be a way of giving this type of establishment 3 or 4 stars in a review and mention, in passing, something to the effect of "oh yeah, they also serve food for those who want to eat in addition to ogle (or being ogled).

Just kidding, of course.

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Ok.........when i started this thread i never intended it to get this heated.

Lesley, I never intended to say that you weren't doing a good job or anything like that. I merely wanted to suggest that perhaps there is a better way of rating the restaurants. Unfortunaly alot of people don't read the review and do merely look at the star rating. Perhaps doing away with the rating system altogether is the answer, i don't know. I merely thought it was a topic worthy of discussion.

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When I started out I hated the star system. Now I couldn't live without it. It shows you exactly where the writer stands.

I hate reading local critics who don't alot stars. At the end of the article, I'm often left wondering if they liked the place or not. :rolleyes:

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Perhaps in those cases the issue is not with respect to stars, or a lack thereof, but rather certain deficiencies in the writing. If any given journalist is unable to convey thoughts and emotions in the form of words, sentences and paragraphs, the solution ought not be pictograms. I'm thinking that journalism was, in such a case, maybe not the appropriate career choice (and I'm not targetting anyone in particular, this thread is hot enough as is).

Ideally, articles should provide reference points to the reading public. Comparisons with other, more established restaurants might useful. For example, in the universe of Italian restaurants in this city, Restaurant A's food outclasses Restaurants B and C, and comes in a close second to Restaurant D, and so on and so forth with respect to service, ambiance, etc.

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may be I shouldn' t post there but:

I don t think going to a restaurant once or twice a year and most of the time beeing known by the chef or the restaurateur is a good way to rate.

To tell people what sort of food,service,or ambiance they can find ,I agree.

And I think montreal food critics are doing it very well

Do you rate your doctor or airdresser ...no

we only need to be known by the tipe of work we are doing.

we are not students any more.

:smile:

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Hmm, more points not to agree with. :smile:

I would never come out and say restaurant A is better than restaurant B. Never. I might say certain restaurants serve the same style of cuisine, but that's as far as I'll go.

As to chefs being students, I'm not writing the review for the chef. I'm writing for the general public. If I was just rating the chef's work, I'd be much more harsh. :biggrin:

And actually, I'm all for doctor and hairdresser reviews. Great idea! :smile:

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I find that some sort of star or rating system is important in a restaurant review. This has to be taken in contest with how the reviewer established how the rating is made. In this thread Lesley does a good job in describing how she assigns stars. I have also read a good description of how the Fat Guy determines good from bad restaurants. This makes it easier to understand the review.

The other aspect of the star ratings is to ensure that the rating system not is too optomistic. Then the review becomes meaningless. I read reviews in Toronto and Ottawa that are meaningless because I hardly ever see anything critical in them but I see a star rating. What does the stars mean? What does the review mean?

The reviews I read from New York are interesting but because I have no perspective on the food there I cannot gage how to interpret what they mean to me. A star system at least lets me be able to get a Idea what the reviewer means in a shorter time when I visit restaturant in the area.

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