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Lauren Chapin - Kansas City Star Restaurant Critic


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I don't know when Monkfish worked for M&D but I know that they were doing a lot better food in the years they were nominated and won the by eard award. I guess not better, but more innovative. Possibly you didn't have the opportunity to see what they were made of at the time. Rex may have been great at what he does but M&D mean much more to Kansas City than Rex. Although, I have never seen his work or menus, I have only heard of stories about him from people who have worked with him.

Mike and Debbie made a huge impact with the City by their accomplishments. I was too young to see any of it but I have been impacted by them in a tremendous way in different aspects and different ways. If only they were still doing that style of food but they still uphold quality at 40 sardines just in a different way.

I've considered them as the King and Queen of Kansas City Food.

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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We both worked for them at two seperate times, I'm going to couch my words out of the little respect I have for them. So how bout those dodgers?

... moving along...

Did anyone read Chapin's review of Cafe Maison? Anyone care to step up and say that the food was on par with, say bluestem or 40 Sardines? (She gave C.M. 3 1/2 stars for food)

u.e.

That's ridiculous.. I really would like to watch her eat and talk about food.... by her giving out stars like candy only temporarily helps restaurants' ecomonic situation... it doesn't help it in the long run.

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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We both worked for them at two seperate times, I'm going to couch my words out of the little respect I have for them. So how bout those dodgers?

... moving along...

Did anyone read Chapin's review of Cafe Maison? Anyone care to step up and say that the food was on par with, say bluestem or 40 Sardines? (She gave C.M. 3 1/2 stars for food)

u.e.

I read the review but, as I mentioned upthread, I really haven't been paying much attention to the stars and comparing one restaurant to another using them as a metric.

And to comment on JWest's remark about giving out stars to give a shot in the arm to a restaurant, for whatever reason, I think you're spot-on.

All that aside, I really do want to get by Cafe Maison and check it out for myself, though. We've all pretty much established that we don't really base decisions on the reviews but, conversely, I would hate to miss out on a good place because it received a good review. That falls under the category of cutting off your nose to spite your face, I think, like refusing to try a wine because Robert Parker liked it :rolleyes:.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I thought I read about Maison in the Pitch, and have been wanting to get over there. But I think I'm going to give them a while to get used to a gas stove in there and finish with the dining room rennos.

What do you mean I shouldn't feed the baby sushi?

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Calvin Trillin and Arthur Bryants put KC on the map. The next most significant event in our culinary evolution was Bradley Ogden at the American. That was back in the early 80's. I'm not sure how many of you were "foodwise" back then, but the industry buzz at the opening of the American was very big. I would venture to say it was a groundbreaking event. IMHO, everyone who followed Ogden was merely coat-tailing off the American name. After that, Cafe Allegro was the first "new cuisine" restaurant to forge the road of innovation. I know that because I cheffed there (no bragging intended). Before that, everthing was old-school, corporate or Mom & Pop. There has been further evolution since then, but back to the subject..

Since everyone is beating around the bush, I'll say it - Lauren Chapin is lame. Considering her position, there is a lot more she could be doing

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We both worked for them at two seperate times, I'm going to couch my words out of the little respect I have for them. So how bout those dodgers?

... moving along...

Did anyone read Chapin's review of Cafe Maison? Anyone care to step up and say that the food was on par with, say bluestem or 40 Sardines? (She gave C.M. 3 1/2 stars for food)

u.e.

Since you are using 40 and blue to set the scale, and I have eaten at all three places, but hey just like you, I can't say that I ate at all three places on the same day, same table that she did so I can't comement on her review. I do have my own opion, I can say the one I thought was a little bit better, I've dinned at three times this month. (here's a clue I ain't been to 40 in a year)

I bet she rewarded them with three and a half stars(not gave it out like candy)because of the guide lines she has posted on her fourm:

Are the ingredients fresh? Are the cooking techniques on the mark? Do the flavors work together or is there a promiscuous use of ingredients? How's the presentation? Is the meal worth the price?

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Calvin Trillin and Arthur Bryants put KC on the map. The next most significant event in our culinary evolution was Bradley Ogden at the American. That was back in the early 80's. I'm not sure how many of you were "foodwise" back then, but the industry buzz at the opening of the American was very big. I would venture to say it was a groundbreaking event. IMHO, everyone who followed Ogden was merely coat-tailing off the American name. After that, Cafe Allegro was the first "new cuisine" restaurant to forge the road of innovation. I know that because I cheffed there (no bragging intended). Before that, everthing was old-school, corporate or Mom & Pop. There has been further evolution since then, but back to the subject..

Since everyone is beating around the bush, I'll say it - Lauren Chapin is lame. Considering her position, there is a lot more she could be doing

I don't believe for one moment that anyone was tailcoating Bradley. He is a great Chef but there was a long time inbetween Bradley and M&D. Sure it was a big event when the American Opened, and Cafe Allegro was a great restaurant. I just don't think that anyone should lighten the accomplishments that M&D have gained in their career. No one before or since has won a Beard award in KC.

It is easier to change a menu than a growing season.

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No one before or since has won a Beard award in KC.

I'd like to add a hopeful "yet" to that, John. :biggrin:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Big, I wasn't intending to diminish anyones accomplishments, just simpy stating that the American reputation was firmly in place before M & D got there. They and others continued to carry the torch that was handed off from Ogden. Anyways, as I also stated "There has been further evolution since then", without naming all the names. I like M & D, in fact I'll be there tonight.

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Big, I wasn't intending to diminish anyones accomplishments, just simpy stating that the American reputation was firmly in place before M & D got there. They and others continued to carry the torch that was handed off from Ogden. Anyways, as I also stated "There has been further evolution since then", without naming all the names. I like M & D, in fact I'll be there tonight.

Hey, great idea . . . it is free corkage night.

Will you be wearing a red buttonniere? Do you look like your avatar? :laugh: I'm kidding. Enjoy your dinner!

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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From her review of Tatsu's Cafe and Bar:

She poured my wine, and then Arai inspected the glass. Apparently he thought she was too generous, and I watched in dismay as he poured about a third of the wine out of my glass into another one. Then while I sipped my temperate glass of wine, I watched him use a measuring cup to precisely pour the appropriate amount of water into another glass, then use a marker to draw a black circle around the bowl. Most restaurants eyeball the amount.

:huh: Wow, that's honest reporting for you.

u.e.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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From her review of Tatsu's Cafe and Bar:
She poured my wine, and then Arai inspected the glass. Apparently he thought she was too generous, and I watched in dismay as he poured about a third of the wine out of my glass into another one. Then while I sipped my temperate glass of wine, I watched him use a measuring cup to precisely pour the appropriate amount of water into another glass, then use a marker to draw a black circle around the bowl. Most restaurants eyeball the amount.

:huh: Wow, that's honest reporting for you.

u.e.

I grimaced when I read that. Many restaurants/bars have those wine glasses with the magic marker line on them (sometimes even visible at the service bar) but few have the bad luck to initiate the practice in full view of a critic. Yikes. :shock:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tonic gets 2 1/2 stars from Lauren Chapin: (Click). I still haven't visited yet, but I know JWest and moosnsqurl had seemed a bit down about their latest vists.

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Tonic gets 2 1/2 stars from Lauren Chapin:  (Click).  I still haven't visited yet, but I know JWest and moosnsqurl had seemed a bit down about their latest vists.

u.e.

According to her "scale", a one star is fair. I don't understand why she didn't give it a one star... to me her experience at the restuarant was "fair"... then why doesn't she stick to her own guidelines??

I don't understand how she can give only one star less than places such as Room39, bluestem, and Starker's Reserve.

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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I'm afraid I spent my digest time stuck on I-290 (I already ranted about it on The Heartland Gathering thread, so I won't start again). I'm anxious to get caught up and see where the disconnect is between text and numeric rating.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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  • 1 month later...
I don't get it.  zin doesn't read like a 3-star restaurant.  :huh:

u.e.

Oh, now, there you go again, UE. Always trying to apply logic to everything.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I don't get it.  zin doesn't read like a 3-star restaurant.   :huh:

u.e.

Oh, now, there you go again, UE. Always trying to apply logic to everything.

Doh... I'm asking too much again, aren't I. :hmmm:

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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From the article:

His accompaniments — a mint arugula salad, a heap of pickled red onions, sliced Missouri peaches and grilled sourdough bread — made sense, at least in theory. The fat of the liver would be cut by the salty bite of the salad and the vinegary twang of the onions. But in reality, the sides were too harsh for the sweet, delicate foie gras, although the peaches and the sourdough worked well.

and

Unfortunately, lots of the greens on the house salad were long past their freshness date, and I picked out several squishy greens from the plate.

and

All I tasted was the sage, and the ragout, made with zucchini, onions, grape tomatoes, mushrooms and yellow squash, had been overcooked, until most of the zucchini became so tender it shredded

The apologetica re: the large group arriving doesn't ring true: perhaps that explains the accompaniment on the trout being overcooked, but it sure as hell doesn't explain a kitchen plating slimy, past date salad greens! nor does it explain missteps in flavor balance and selection.

Her review reads as though 1/3-1/2 of all dishes had a serious problem. This merits 3 stars precisely....how?

What do you mean I shouldn't feed the baby sushi?

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From the article:
His accompaniments — a mint arugula salad, a heap of pickled red onions, sliced Missouri peaches and grilled sourdough bread — made sense, at least in theory. The fat of the liver would be cut by the salty bite of the salad and the vinegary twang of the onions. But in reality, the sides were too harsh for the sweet, delicate foie gras, although the peaches and the sourdough worked well.

and

Unfortunately, lots of the greens on the house salad were long past their freshness date, and I picked out several squishy greens from the plate.

and

All I tasted was the sage, and the ragout, made with zucchini, onions, grape tomatoes, mushrooms and yellow squash, had been overcooked, until most of the zucchini became so tender it shredded

The apologetica re: the large group arriving doesn't ring true: perhaps that explains the accompaniment on the trout being overcooked, but it sure as hell doesn't explain a kitchen plating slimy, past date salad greens! nor does it explain missteps in flavor balance and selection.

Her review reads as though 1/3-1/2 of all dishes had a serious problem. This merits 3 stars precisely....how?

Oh, no! Not you, too :shock:

Perhaps we're just too dense to crack the code? The duh-Vinci code of star ratings?

Maybe it's just a concidence but I noticed (and pointed out) upthread that the more-or-less-permanent listings (under the title "The Star Recommends") features only previously reviewed restaurants that received 3 stars or better. So, although those of us who follow and scrutinize such things may find the numeric rating INconsistent with the prosaic description, it would be represent a bit more of a slap to give less than three as they would not appear in print until she reviews them again. Not saying it's right - just speculating about the possible explanation for the apparent discrepancy.

Edited because I left off two letters rather important to the meaning. :wacko:

Edited by moosnsqrl (log)

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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[Maybe it's just a concidence but I noticed (and pointed out) upthread that the more-or-less-permanent listings (under the title "The Star Recommends") features only previously reviewed restaurants that received 3 stars or better.  So, although those of us who follow and scrutinize such things may find the numeric rating consistent with the prosaic description, it would be represent a bit more of a slap to give less than three as they would not appear in print until she reviews them again.  Not saying it's right - just speculating about the possible explanation for the apparent discrepancy.

Nice try, but that's no excuse.

Le Bernardin was not reviewed for nearly a decade by the NY Times - and yes, it was given 4 stars, but it was agreed by all to be 4 stars well deserved. I remember holding my breath as I read Frank Bruni's re-evaluation last year (?) re-enforcing LB's 4 stars.

Daniel, on the other hand, had been demoted to 3 stars by William Grimes in 1999, but was quickly re-evaluated and re-instated by the same critic just two years later... and that's in NYC, where there are TONS more restaurants than in KC. But then again, Grimes was critic for 5 years. How long as Chapin been a critic?

My point: if the restaurant's not good, the critic should reflect that, not only in prose but in rating... and if the critic thinks there's a compelling reason to re-evaluate, then they should. I know, I know, I'm askin' too much again... :sad:

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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By the way, the bartender is Susan Avery, NOT, Susan Harvey... I'm sure that's not a misspelling, it's just a case of mistaken identity. :hmmm:

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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By the way, the bartender is Susan Avery, NOT, Susan Harvey...  I'm sure that's not a misspelling, it's just a case of mistaken identity.  :hmmm:

No, I'm pretty sure her last name is "and Lazer." :laugh:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Gosh, I can't believe my first KC post on this board is to this thread, but I have to express my shock that in Chapin's review today of Shields Manor Bistro, she ordered the same entree (steak au poivre) on both visits. What? It's not like she said the first one was so bad she wanted to offer a chance at redemption. Sure, she says there are only 4 or 5 menu entrees. But the same entree on each visit!?

Anyway, a little quick background, I moved from Chicago to Mission last month. Over the past several years I've posted intermittently on eGullet, was pretty active on Chowhound for a time, and then moved over to LTHForum, my online base of operations, when it started up. I still hang out there quite often, but I'm casting about now for some good KC-area food discussion.

Cheers,

Aaron

P.S. What is monkfish's restaurant?

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