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Pan

How expensive is $25?

5 posts in this topic

Eric, in your interview with Fat Guy, you touched on controversy over the more expensive restaurants reviewed in "$25 and Under." Please explain why a lovely restaurant like August, where a friend and I had normal-sized three-course dinners without beverage for $78 and change (not including tip), belongs in "$25 and Under," and also discuss whether you don't believe it deserves a star or two. (You can read both positive reports and demurrals about the restaurant as a $25-and-under in this thread.) Also, would you like to suggest any other restaurants you reviewed in the "$25 and Under" column as worthy of star ratings, and would you like to discuss the controversy over Bruni's awarding two stars to Sripraphai? I hope that isn't too many questions.

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Let's be honest about the $25 cutoff. It made literal sense in 1992. Nowadays it communicates generally that this restaurant is going to be cheaper than the other restaurant on the page, and that it's going to be a good value.

August is one example of a restaurant that stretched the literal bounds of the $25 and Under column, but in the context of Greenwich Village 2004, or whenever I reviewed it, I thought it was a modestly priced restaurant that might not have warranted a main review. I could be wrong about that, but at the time I thought it might otherwise have been ignored.

People always made a big deal about those reviews, but I tried to intersperse these more expensive restaurants with a $4.95 all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant and places like that.

Is there a problem with awarding two stars to Sripraphai?

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I have a followup question:

Eric, do you feel like some of the restaurants you reviewed in "$25 and Under" deserve a star or two according to your interpretation of the New York Times star ratings? Or is that question irrelevant to your way of thinking about those restaurants?

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Pan,

Actually, some restaurants that I reviewed in $25 and Under eventually did get stars. I was the first to review 71 Clinton Street, and more recently Petrosino. Believe it or not, I reviewed Jewel Bako when it first opened and it was possible to eat there for less than $25. Perhaps on some level I realized that all of these places were worthy of stars, but I wanted to write about them and it wasn't really my job to tell other people what I felt they ought to write about. There are plenty of other places that I reviewed that could have stars under other circumstances -- Al Di La, Grand Sichuan, 360 come to mind -- but that's the way things go.

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