- California's New Wine Film Festival Kicks Off on Valentine's Day
- Russian Robot Nose Smells Food Freshness
- Cotton Candy Inspires a Potential Breakthrough for Artificial Organs
- Americans Are Drinking Lots of High-End Whiskey, Not So Much Cheap Gin
- Would You Eat Lab-Grown Shrimp?
- Amazon Introduces Free On-Demand Sommeliers in Japan
- France Bans Food Waste, Makes Grocery Stores Donate Unsold Items
- Starbucks Wants to Build the Eataly of Coffee
- Counterfeiters Painted Spoiled Olives to Make Them Look Fresh
- Cocktail Savvy Makes You Sexy, Says Survey
On how he sees restaurants differently now that he’s not a critic anymore.
For the five-and-a-half years that I reviewed restaurants, I might not have given a star rating to restaurants that I go to now and that I adore. Then I’d have to try all the dishes at each spot, experience so many different circumstances—shunted to a bad seat, as a walk-in—and report on how a restaurant was all things to all people.
On changes in the restaurant scene since he stopped being a critic. (Or how Keith McNally is Hugh Jackman.)
So much of what is opening now reflects that moment one-and-a-half years ago when the economy was at an absolute nadir. Except for stealth, feel-good stories like Torrisi, it’s all big openings from well-known names. When you’re mounting a play, it’s hard to get investors if you don’t have a proven star. I think we’re seeing that now. If you can’t put on your marquee David Chang (or let’s say Nathan Lane) or Keith McNally (maybe Hugh Jackman), it lessens the chances that you can open for business.
It almost makes me wonder and worry that the NYC restaurant scene will become concentrated in just a few people. I worry about what happens to the George Mendeses of the world. He’s a talented chef with a great resume and no built-in audience. We need restaurants like his Aldea now.
On the small silver lining of the economic downturn for restaurants.
Although in some sense that retrenchment is a little bit of a blessing. I don’t think anyone is disappointed that we’re out of the era where every three months, another 300-seat Asian behemoth opens.
Next: Frank Bruni on NY’s Golden Age of Italian Restaurants