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Gordon Ramsay at the London


johnder
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So why is everyone having a go at Gordon?

Is it because he is an english chef having a go in New York?

Is it because critics are using him as a way to make a name for themselves?

Is it because the American public believe he is just a celebrity chef because of Hells Kitchen ?When in fact, he has busted balls in alot of the best kitchens in England and France over the years?

Or is it because the food and service really is not that good?

Basic MBA program group dynamics and game theory ChefSimon.

Enough people repeat the same phrase, it actually becomes "fact" as opposed to another "opinion"

While there is some element of truth that the food isnt as creative and "Wow" effect as the "established New York Standards".....remember some of these people saying the werent "wowed" were "wowed" a few years ago by cubes of deep fried mayonnaise.

So it's all relative,I wouldnt take it too personally or as an affront based on the fact that he is English and/or a "celebrity chef".

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"I haven't been in France for a lot of years - but just because something is served in France doesn't make it French food (just like Robuchon's food in Tokyo can't properly be called "Japanese")."

Jean Georges and Ripert are very much in tune with what French chefs are cooking in France these days.  Nuff said.

"I used to eat at the sister restaurant to LB in Miami at least once a week in the early 80's. Very similar (identical?) menu. Believe me - it's not French food."

Brassiere Le Coze never had a similar menu (other than being seafood oriented) to LB.  Far from it.  Both of the Brassieres were meant to be exactly that -- informal, scaled down and significantly cheaper food than LB.  Any assumptions made about the menu at LB (which after all features food by a chef who was still learning how to cook in France during the early 80's) based upon what was served at an informal outpost in Miami 25 years ago are uninformed.

"And now we've thrown "geriatrics" (by which I assume you mean older people with money) into the same trash heap as the B&T crowd. Do you really care so much who's in the restaurants you're eating at? Guess you do. Who do you prefer to see?"

Not at all.  The sole point was that practically no one under 70 eats at La Grenouille.  Considering that contemporary gourmands tend to be much more demanding of food than people whose palates were set 50 years ago...that should say something about the relative quality of the meal.  (I actually wouldn't mind eating at LG just to experience food of that era -- I have a healthy respect for it -- unfortunately, I'm not so enamoured of the idea that I'm going to pay that kind of tariff).

"3 reviews of the Bar. 3 thumbs up. One person who ate at the Bar also ate at the Restaurant."

Where do you get that?  More like qualified thumbs up.  It was decent, one course was extremely good.  Unfortunately, to have a full meal at the London Bar one could spend less eating at RGR proper -- the difficulty is in making a reservation.  Its not bad, it's just that there are better restaurants in the same milieu.

BLC wasn't informal. I think the owners spent about $3 million decorating the place. And - it was named one of America's best 25 restaurants by Esquire magazine. Maguy Le LeCoze spent most of her time there the first couple of years (don't know whether she liked watching over the restaurant - or just liked being in Miami). And although it is hard to compare a place now with a place 20 years ago (or a chef for that matter) - the cuisine was basically fish - prepared simply to highlight the nature/essence of the fish - which is what is served at LB today. I liked the concept (still do).

As for thumbs up/thumbs down - I read what people wrote here (they didn't give stars - so I essentially read the reviews as thumbs up/thumbs down). The reviews of the main restaurant were especially lavish in their praise. Robyn

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Why do you think that I am less objective than Frank Bruni?

That's a loaded question, though, since one of the two (related) main problems with Frank Bruni, IMO, is that he's insufficiently objective.

Somewhat OT - but I am curious. What do you think is Frank Bruni's other problem (don't want to read a 40 page thread on him to find out what you think). Robyn

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"BLC wasn't informal. I think the owners spent about $3 million decorating the place. And - it was named one of America's best 25 restaurants by Esquire magazine. ...."

so? there's a reason why it was called a Brassiere. I've been to the BLC in Atlanta. beautiful space. nice seafood menu. and a heck of a lot simpler and cheaper than LB.

Was BLC Miami tasting menu or prix-fixe only?

"And although it is hard to compare a place now with a place 20 years ago (or a chef for that matter) - the cuisine was basically fish - prepared simply to highlight the nature/essence of the fish - which is what is served at LB today. I liked the concept (still do)."

well yeah, but one could analogize Red Lobster and the Rock Pool at that point -- so? it doesn't make them nearly "identical".

LB is most certainly a French restaurant. It was a French restaurant when it was in Paris and it is a French restaurant in NY. i.e. one wholly centered on seafood (as it was in Paris).

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OTOH - there are diners who would never go to a restaurant that serves a perfect poached dover sole with a perfect buerre blanc sauce - because it's "so terribly old fashioned".  Not that they've ever had this dish before - or had it prepared perfectly - it's just not trendy.  What's the point of having something terrific if you're not in the vanguard?  This is a silly way to look at dining IMO.  Much like saying that reading Dickens isn't worthwhile because so many people have already read his books.

Again, though, we're talking (sort of) about two different things.

Let me put it this way. I really love the Brasserie LCB Richou. Absolutely traditional food, usually superlatively prepared. Love it.

BUT if I were a professional reviewer charged with giving it stars under the NYT "star system", I couldn't say it was a four-star restaurant. I may love traditional French cuisine, and they may do it superbly, but for four NYT stars you've got to be at the culinary forefront.

If you think that's stupid, that just means you think the "star system" is stupid. I don't disagree with you. But again, the impetus of this discussion was a question why the critics aren't falling behind Ramsay at the London.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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OTOH - there are diners who would never go to a restaurant that serves a perfect poached dover sole with a perfect buerre blanc sauce - because it's "so terribly old fashioned".  Not that they've ever had this dish before - or had it prepared perfectly - it's just not trendy.  What's the point of having something terrific if you're not in the vanguard?  This is a silly way to look at dining IMO.  Much like saying that reading Dickens isn't worthwhile because so many people have already read his books.

Again, though, we're talking (sort of) about two different things.

Let me put it this way. I really love the Brasserie LCB Richou. Absolutely traditional food, usually superlatively prepared. Love it.

BUT if I were a professional reviewer charged with giving it stars under the NYT "star system", I couldn't say it was a four-star restaurant. I may love traditional French cuisine, and they may do it superbly, but for four NYT stars you've got to be at the culinary forefront.

If you think that's stupid, that just means you think the "star system" is stupid. I don't disagree with you. But again, the impetus of this discussion was a question why the critics aren't falling behind Ramsay at the London.

What's in the culinary forefront in New York - except perhaps for WD-50? And I say this in all seriousness. I've had newer cuisine in Miami (at Mosaico before it closed - it was in its "food noir" period then).

All those bars with all the little dishes - well they're a dime a dozen these days. Not only in New York and London - but even Atlanta :shock: . Waste of money in my opinion - unless you're only in the mood for a small meal - or have to get in/out in a hurry. OTOH - it's a clever way for restaurants to maximize sales per square foot in expensive real estate markets.

And New York has a chief restaurant reviewer whose idea of a good time is any Italian restaurant with a celebrity chef who knows him. How pedestrian.

I know the limitations of my general near-by dining area - the south. For example - I'll be in Atlanta this weekend and about the best I'm expecting is a nice "riff" on new southern cuisine. Could be very good - but it's hardly cutting edge.

So what restaurants have better food *and* are more cutting edge than The London in New York? Don't need a laundry list. 3 or 4 will do. Robyn

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But just to be clear (because we still seem to be talking at cross-purposes), the "culinary forefront" doesn't necessarily mean the self-conscious avant-garde a la Wylie DuFresne. It could encompass Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Jean Georges, or Eric Ripert's unique take on seafood at Le Bernardin.

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The question about whether LB is French or not is OT and semantic, but since it originated from the question of Bruni's preferences (and a purported penalizing of "French" restaurants) and the **** scene in NY in general, it's worth noting that Bruni discusses this specifically and at length in his blog. I think the disagreement here might come down to Bruni's observation that the term "French" can refer either specifically to food or to a more general "meal structure" and service model.

http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/?p=143#more-143

The restaurants that have gone down that road have most often cast themselves as largely or partly French. . . The chefs who have gone down that road are often French-trained, to varying degrees, because France has long been a cradle of high standards and lofty ambitions.

I used the phrase “cast themselves” as French above and I used the phrase “French or quasi-French” before that because the reader makes another excellent point.

“Is Per Se French?” . . . .  I didn’t characterize the food [at Per Se] as flat-out French, and I recall not doing so precisely because of the point the reader raised. Such characterizations increasingly seem simplistic and not quite right. We live in an era when chefs look all around the globe for ideas and ingredients. Asia plays as important a role in many of the best dishes at Jean Georges as Europe does. Asia has claimed more and more influence over the food at Le Bernardin over the years. . . .

It could be argued that all of these restaurants, with the possible exception of Masa, should wear the tag “global.” Why don’t they? Partly because the guides and reviewers who dole out tags are playing by old rules or trying to give readers some succinct if imperfect clue about what kind of experience they’ll have at these restaurants. And that experience, in terms of the structure of the meal, in terms of certain conventions of service, is one that’s recognized as traditionally French. For that same reason, these restaurants, when forced to reduce themselves to a single word, often choose French. . . .

In fact Per Se is labeled American, or more specifically “new American,” on the Times’s web site. If you go to Dining and use the restaurant search option and plug in Per Se, it comes up under that heading. Jean Georges and Le Bernardin indeed come up under French. . . .

Edited by Leonard Kim (log)
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"And New York has a chief restaurant reviewer whose idea of a good time is any Italian restaurant with a celebrity chef who knows him. How pedestrian."

That's not fair to Bruni. He undoubtedly has an Italian bias. I'm also pretty confident that he doesn't know Batali personally. Bruni's not Amanda Hesser. For that matter he attacks Batali in a rant about NY restaurants in today's Times.

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Some of the current discussion grew out of the earlier comment about "Wow!" dishes.

For me, the "Wow!" can come from either of two directions. The first is putting ingredients, flavors, preparation, and plating together in a way I've never experienced before. The second is doing those things in a familiar way, but extraordinarily well. The critics definitely have a bias against the second type of "wow," but I don't share that bias.

Robyn is clearly a suppporter of GR, but my impression is that her experience comes from GR at Royal Hospital Road, not GR at the London. Have we had a post yet from anyone who's experienced both? One of my questions is whether the London is actually reaching the high standard set by Royal Hospital Road.

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And New York has a chief restaurant reviewer whose idea of a good time is any Italian restaurant with a celebrity chef who knows him.  How pedestrian.

This isn't a "New York chauvinism" thing, either. Nobody's saying, "Oh, in New York we're so advanced that Ramsay isn't going to impress our critics." People are just trying to explain -- in answer to a specific question from someone from London -- why, as a matter of local culture, the New York critics haven't been falling all over themselves in praise of Ramsay at the London. Nobody's saying New York's critics are better than any other area's. I mean, what poster on this board would argue that Frank Bruni isn't pedestrian?

Also, as oakapple says, not all of us even share the local critical bias we're describing. We're just trying to explain the critical response to someone who asked about it.

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First off - I have to take back what I said about Frank Bruni. I fell in love with him after reading his piece in today's NYT (I wrote about it in the thread about that article). But he doesn't have to worry about me - I'm happily married :wink: .

And I like the way he reconciled his mainly positive perceptions of the food he had eaten at some places with his mainly negative reactions to some restaurant practices. Because I've had the same conflicts at times. I can see why he would be taken aback by GR's 2 hour limit. RHR has the same limit. When I read that on the web site - I opted to eat lunch there instead of dinner. But most people can't take the time to have a 3 hour lunch on a business day.

I agree with Oakapple that one can't compare RHR with the London without eating at both. For example - there was a dessert on the menu at the London which sounded similar to one I had at RHR (which happens to be maybe the best dessert I've had in the last 5 years). But I don't know if they're the same (equally complex and equally good). I posted another message in this thread asking if anyone had tried that dessert - but didn't get any responses. So - it would be nice to hear from someone who has dined at both places.

As for restaurant types - what Leonard Kim posted was interesting - but I don't think New American narrows it down enough. That could be everything from a creative short ribs dish to fish in lemongrass broth if you're talking about NY restaurants. I think you need categories that are smaller - like California cuisine - Floribbean - Southern. Maybe French/Asian would cover places like JG and LB? And I'd never use the word "new" or "contemporary". I mean - what high end white tablecloth restaurant serves old fashioned food these days - except maybe La Grenouille :wink:. I took a look at the menu and it really is old fashioned - perhaps we should call that kind of food "classical" French. And is there anything other than classical Italian or classical Chinese? I know there is supposed to be both classical and "new" Japanese - but when I ate at a "new" Japanese fusion restaurant in Japan - the only evidence of fusion I saw was a single lonely slice of French bread.

Anyway - I hope you guys have a nice weekend. We are heading off to Atlanta to see the Honda Battle of the Bands (think Drumline) and have (hopefully) some good meals in the largest city in the south. Robyn

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Michael Bauer's blog entry for today in the SF Chronicle:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate...=12822#readmore

"Yet the kicker came at the end of the savory course when the busser came over and spritzed the table with a disinfectant so full of clorine that it made more of an impression than the truffle risotto."

ouch...

1. I hope that (mis)spelling of "c(h)lorine" is yours, dvs; and

2. Quite simply put: :blink: ??

“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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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Michael Bauer's blog entry for today in the SF Chronicle:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate...=12822#readmore

"Yet the kicker came at the end of the savory course when the busser came over and spritzed the table with a disinfectant so full of clorine that it made more of an impression than the truffle risotto."

ouch...

1. I hope that (mis)spelling of "c(h)lorine" is yours, dvs; and

2. Quite simply put: :blink: ??

nope... his. he's kind of a dope anyway...

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... I failed to see that it was from his blog. As a blogger (who often posts in the wee hours of the night/morning), I'm willing to over look the missing letter.

Back to the spritzing... :huh:?

“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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... I failed to see that it was from his blog.  As a blogger (who often posts in the wee hours of the night/morning), I'm willing to over look the missing letter.

Back to the spritzing...  :huh:?

thats just plain crazy... has anyone else had this experience? btw, bauer is know to be pretty snarky...

and, i wonder what other critics he was with (it'll probably show up in their blogs too :rolleyes: )

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You'll notice that he ate in the London Bar (where it is very easy to get a table...just walk in and ask).

The LB is disappointing -- especially when you realize that it is at the same price point as the main dining room -- but for apparently dumbed down food.

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The LB is disappointing -- especially when you realize that it is at the same price point as the main dining room.

Not exactly. The clearest comparison point is the four-course menu in the London Bar at $55, versus the three-course menu in the main dining room at $80. I'd call that a pretty significant price difference.

Whether you'll like your four London Bar courses enough to pay $55 for them is a whole other question.

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