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Lesley C

enRoute's Best New Restaurants

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Don't take everything so seriously,it's just funny . First Robert's bashing and then all of a sudden everything clears up and he's a nice guy. Maybe some people should think twice before posting!

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Fully agree with those people who say, to not take everything so seriously regarding enRoute choices for 'Best New Restaurants.'. It's only enRoute, Air-Canada's in-flight magazine that they distribute free to their customers(otherwise it's not available to the public)!

Restaurant top lists put out by publications are frequently flawed by my eyes. A worse example than this? The London-based Restaurant magazine for the last two years, has come out with their 'Top 100 restaurants of the World' list(has been discussed on eGullet in several threads). When they first announced the 'Top 100' two years ago, I noticed one Hong Kong restaurant. It was the Felix making the top 100. I immediately told my food writer friend in HK. She was incredulous, saying along the lines 'how could that restaurant make it, with such awful food!' People go there for people spotting, ambience, & the incredible view. There're hundreds of restaurants in HK with better food than the Felix(the other restaurants in the Peninsula HK hotel offer better food). To her horror, Felix made the 'Top 100' list again this year. There's a discussion of the Felix in the eGullet thread Spoon by Alain Ducasse, where my HK friend discusses the restaurant. Also, a food writer friend in Vancouver, says the annual Vancouver Magazine's Restaurant Awards are very flawed(some of the winners are bizarre choices).

-----------

Steve


Edited by SteveW (log)

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Well. Let Robert defend himself just a little here. I first want to thank Leslie (not to kiss any part of me, except my chin when we meet, but thats called "courtesy" in french) for putting in exactly the right words, of what this EnRoute business is all about. It's about The "best" according to Amy. Not according to me, not to MClaude either. Yet, some of our choices were indeed considered. But again, thats defendable. Where I have a problem is with this "Best of", there could be nothing more frivolous. And all the chefs who are serious about their "métier" know this very well. Somehow it seems to have been part of the editorial magazine's strategy (there were similar strategies when I was writing in ELLE, they always came up with things like "The best Bistro" "the Best fries (sic!)" "the best pasta"). Don't take those things so damn seriously. Take food seriously, cuisine and work seriously, products seriously, but a flashy magazine's article, is a temporary statement, one that will indeed bring some business (perhaps a lot, perhaps not) to the restaurants quoted, but in the end won't make much of a difference, I think. I am not saying it was a worthless exercise, just that the terms used (the BEST) were totally innapropriate as far as I am concerned. But I am not the editor and have no say in the matter nor was I paid to give my choices, in case some of you wonder.

Now for the rest, Dave, relax. I can distinguish between a friendly debate (ahum!) and my profession. You know I don't like everything about Rosalie (not the unbutonned shirts of the girls and the boys, where one can peak at some chest hair or boobs, in a restaurant, c'mon, .....), but what I like, I like very much: the atmosphere, the decor, the food, the ideas, the rigorous "soin" with which you apply yourself. Thats no different from when I met you in the days of LaCigale, you only improved. I don't criticise for the sake of it, I do it as a profession, and I take it very seriously. As seriously as I take my own self.

As for the question of "my credibility", I will gladly and confortably answer that on the thread of, wait a minute here, the "terrasses" thread.

See you there.

Robert

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Hi everyone,

I just joined on to egullet today, and was surprised to see a whole discussion on enRoute's Best New Restaurants feature, which I wrote. In reading the threads I found many interesting comments.

There are a few things I want to set straight. There are no judges for the Best New Restaurants. There's just me. Here's how it works: We have 20 professional foodies (people like Bonnie Stern and Chef Michael Smith) from across Canada research and send in their top five picks of the year. (Lesley was actually a panelist last year so I don't know why she didn't correct that statement.) Then we at enRoute do further research and narrow down the list. Since I'm doing all of the eating in a month (better for straight ahead comparisons and fairness), we must limit the restaurants to about 5 in each city. I'm the only one who eats at all of the restaurants (with friends) and I'm the one who makes all of the decisions. I told enRoute when I did this last year, and again this year, that if it should happen that the top 10 are all in Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver, so be it. I'm not out to make friends. However, this did not prove to be the case. In what looks to be a suspiciously nice spread, there is, in fact, great food across the country. On a similar but different note, enRoute pays for all flights. Air Canada doesn't own enRoute, a publishing company called Spafax does. In fact, some of the flights I took this summer weren't even on Air Canada planes. Also, I did eat at Brunois and Rosalie (the full list is at the enRoute site). But I digress...

It's a big country, it was a big job, and very filling to say the least. But what my choices boiled down to were general deliciousness, and the best overall dining experiences: basically what I think most people would be looking for in a great night out and a memorable meal. If that means organic blue corn tacos piled high with fresh caught salmon and mango salsa in the wilds of Tofino, so be it.

Everyone's dining experiences are different. Different tastes and different strokes. Plus, on some nights a restaurant can be "on" and others, not as much. We all know this; especially at new restaurants.

Finally, these choices aren't in fact proper reviews. They're informed snippets that show you what's new and great out there. The winners were my favorites, culled from over 50 restaurants, and I'm proud of them and stand by them. :biggrin:

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I just noticed that Lesley did explain the judging (I guess I missed a few threads). And by the by, just because a magazine is free (and located beside the barf bag) doesn't mean it's any less a magazine. And yes, it is a lifestyle magazine. And yes, I was nominated for a James Beard Award for last year's Best New Restaurants feature (I lost to Bon Appetit). And Identifiler is my favorite member so far. :biggrin:

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Hi Amy, welcome to eGullet.

You must have been pretty surprised to come upon this thread, but it's actually a pretty good representation of eGullet -- not the tension, but the fact that so many people close to the industry are posting.

Thanks for clearing up the details concerning the flying arrangements -- and everything else. :smile:

(no butt kissing here, I mean that sincerely :rolleyes: )

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Hi Amy, well I still have on my desk, "the lost week end" article because I laugh so hard every time I read it...

BTW I had to take a quicky to TO, got my hands on en route, and for those of you who mention brunoise and Rosalie, they are actually mentionned and listed in En Route, I am guessing everyone knows that, there is a second article attached to the one that throws so much DRAMA on here.

The second piece is actually even more refreshing as it shows some nice regional trends. Brunoise is noted for their intelligent amuse bouche, Rosalie for it's nice drinks (the orange drink is mentionned, had it and it is sure good) and the torsos of it's male staff (a given). Reservoir, Time Supper club and Mile End bar (go Tiga go!) also on there.

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Thanks Identifiler,

That's what I thought was so weird about this forum: It was clear that nobody had actually read the restaurant story (even though it's available online in its entirety.) The top ten list is just one third of the piece. The other 2,000 words is the trends piece, where I mention all of the restaurants I ate at, focussing on specific dishes, nice touches and trends.

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Amy...

Did you happen to even bother checking out any new Winnipeg restos?

This question is but a curiosity, because I don't believe that anything exciting has opened here for a few years now. New chefs have taken over the stoves at a couple of old spots, with extremely promising results. These include Luc Jean at La Vieille Gare (from the Manitoba Club) and Lorna Murdoch at Fusion Grill (formerly Bluewater Cafe, Vancouver and Messis, Toronto). Otherwise, it's pretty static. I do enjoy Bonfire Bistro for casual neighbourhood dining, but it shouldn't and even couldn't warrant a "best new" moniker by almost anyone's standard. And it's been open for a touch over a year.

A self-deprecating lot we've always been, we Winnipeggers.

But you love us anyway. Cuz we keep poppin' up all over the place. Like poison mushrooms. Ha!

Ciao for niao


Edited by winefellow (log)

's'about the wine...or the food, no - the wine...maybe the food...definitely the wine...but it has to be the food...oh, stop whining! Aarrghh!!!

Winefellow - Proprietor, Kenaston Wine Market. Winnipeg, Canada

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I've never understood why 'Peggers are so hard on themselves; I love the place. And yes, I did eat at a couple of spots that fit our June-June rules: Cafe Kohler, a very excellent bakery, and the other was a restaurant at a golf club, the name of which escapes me. Last year I ate at the Loop, which I've just learned is kaput.

By the way, just because I've signed on doesn't mean people should stop been testy about the enRoute thing. It's kind of fun/funny.

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Agreed...Cafe Kohler is yum, but too narrowly focused.

It was likely "Provençe" at the Niakwa Country Club. I must say that Provençe has definitely picked up its socks recently...Chef Lau Yung (formerly St. Charles Country Club) has taken a while to get up to speed, but a recent lunch as well as another special function that I attended showed great improvement over previous visits. This resto is operated by Valerie Anne Owen and Shawn Branson (both formerly Le Beaujolais) under contract with the golf club.

Gossip: It seems that its recent success has not gone unnoticed by the Board of Directors of the Niakwa Club. As I type, I believe their entire deal is under review with the potential that the Proprietors may walk if negotiations fail.

Oh, by the way, WoW! Hospitality Corp's (529 Steakhouse; Pasta la Vista, etc.) new concept, "Hu's on First", shows interesting potential, despite its odd location at the ol' Canwest Global ballyard (at least that explains its name). And the space formerly occupied by The Loop has just reopened under the same ownership as Amici/Bombolini. Kind of a pan-Italian concept, I've heard. Watch them carefully.

C'est la vie. That's the biz, I suppose. Have to go. Past my lunchtime.


Edited by winefellow (log)

's'about the wine...or the food, no - the wine...maybe the food...definitely the wine...but it has to be the food...oh, stop whining! Aarrghh!!!

Winefellow - Proprietor, Kenaston Wine Market. Winnipeg, Canada

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