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Opinionated About Guide to U.S. Restaurants 2011. Discuss.

Opinionated About Guide to U.S. Restaurants 2011. Discuss.
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  • Opinionated About Guide to U.S. Restaurants 2011. Discuss.

    Post #1 - June 3rd, 2011, 12:35 pm
    Post #1 - June 3rd, 2011, 12:35 pm Post #1 - June 3rd, 2011, 12:35 pm
    The new national restaurant guidebook, Opinionated About U.S. Restaurants 2011 has just been published, and I wanted to start a thread about it. At 576 pages, it is quite a tome and IMHO a good read (far less fey than Zagat and far more passionate than Michelin). The compiler and writer is Steve Plotnicki, known to the board, and as a result, even though the ratings are based on the reviews of many diners, they are filtered through Steve's unshy perspective. It is a guide with a POV. (Modernist cuisine is generally well-favored, a result of the preferences of the author and reviewers, but not always). It based on a national evaluation that rated 9000 restaurants (Not all are included in the final edition). And in the volume Steve explains his philosophy of dining.

    The top 6 U.S. Restaurants are French Laundry, Per Se, Manresa, Masa, Alinea, and Jean Georges. In Chicago: Alinea, Schwa, Avenues, Spiaggia, Trotter's, L20, Everest, Moto, Blackbird, Topolobampo, and Frontera Grill. (With a nod to Sanford in Milwaukee and June in Peoria). Hot Doug's is also highly rated.

    As some LTH members know, I am an occasional dining companion of Steve's (and my reviews are part of his sample), and I don't want this post to come across as shilling for the book (I don't agree with all of his ratings). But I did want there to be a thread for discussion, pro and con.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #2 - June 3rd, 2011, 5:14 pm
    Post #2 - June 3rd, 2011, 5:14 pm Post #2 - June 3rd, 2011, 5:14 pm
    I saw Steve Plotnicki last night at Eleven Madison Park. He had a copy of the book with him. IMPRESSIVE!!! Kudos to Steve for putting it together.
  • Post #3 - June 3rd, 2011, 7:16 pm
    Post #3 - June 3rd, 2011, 7:16 pm Post #3 - June 3rd, 2011, 7:16 pm
    I'm looking forward to the blog post about how if you really want the best a chef has to offer, you'd be a fool not to carry this 10 pound book with you when you dine.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #4 - June 3rd, 2011, 8:52 pm
    Post #4 - June 3rd, 2011, 8:52 pm Post #4 - June 3rd, 2011, 8:52 pm
    At 576 pages, it is quite a tome and IMHO a good read (far less fey than Zagat and far more passionate than Michelin)



    Please clarify what you mean in the foregoing. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, 'fey' means:

    a. Having or displaying an otherworldly, magical, or fairylike aspect or quality: "She's got that fey look as though she's had breakfast with a leprechaun" (Dorothy Burnham).
    b. Having visionary power; clairvoyant.
    c. Appearing touched or crazy, as if under a spell.

    Thanks.
  • Post #5 - June 3rd, 2011, 9:51 pm
    Post #5 - June 3rd, 2011, 9:51 pm Post #5 - June 3rd, 2011, 9:51 pm
    I'll go for C with a touch of A. Also childish and irrational (not that there is anything wrong with it!)

    I am very curious to hear what people feel about Steve's assessment of Chicago's restaurants. Guides like Zagat's and Michelin pull their punches. Steve doesn't.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #6 - June 4th, 2011, 9:31 am
    Post #6 - June 4th, 2011, 9:31 am Post #6 - June 4th, 2011, 9:31 am
    I haven't had a chance to peruse the book yet, but IIRC the previous edition was significantly smaller than 576 pages? What changed - is it mostly sheer volume of new restaurants, or more in-depth comments/info on each restaurant?

    Actually, I'm curious about one other thing: doesn't his survey have a European component?
  • Post #7 - June 4th, 2011, 9:48 am
    Post #7 - June 4th, 2011, 9:48 am Post #7 - June 4th, 2011, 9:48 am
    Its not quite as populist as Zagat....the raters are more committed foodies than, say, the Yelp or Zagat crowd. These are people who might travel the world for a special meal rather than going to the corner Big Bowl.

    @Kenny---the same night I saw Steve at EMP (where I was having drinks) I went to ABC Kitchen where the chef cooked for us.
  • Post #8 - June 4th, 2011, 10:57 am
    Post #8 - June 4th, 2011, 10:57 am Post #8 - June 4th, 2011, 10:57 am
    Puppy wrote:I haven't had a chance to peruse the book yet, but IIRC the previous edition was significantly smaller than 576 pages? What changed - is it mostly sheer volume of new restaurants, or more in-depth comments/info on each restaurant?

    Actually, I'm curious about one other thing: doesn't his survey have a European component?


    This volume is entirely limited to American restaurants (not even Canadian restaurants). There are many more restaurants than the small number of elite restaurants in the "Beta" (or "Alpha") version, and the write-ups are much more extensive as well. And unlike Michelin and Zagats which focus on the positive almost exclusively, OAD gets off some zingers. I find it enjoyable to read both for culinary comments and for indirect gossip. There are some restauranteurs who will not be happy, even if they find themselves mentioned. In Zagat's even fairly poorly ranked restaurants are largely praised. So if you enjoy reading some sharp comments, you will find them. (I don't have the book with me, but I can give examples later).
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #9 - June 5th, 2011, 1:16 pm
    Post #9 - June 5th, 2011, 1:16 pm Post #9 - June 5th, 2011, 1:16 pm
    Three zingers for Chicago restaurants (Can you guess which?)

    "One thing everyone will agree on is that *** is still the best place to eat a bowl of Mossaman curry while wearing a sport coat." [Note the typical spelling is Massaman]

    "It's not worth eating average food just to eavesdrop on low-level political operatives."

    "The last time I was there, seeing three different people masking marriage proposals made me nauseous."

    This ain't Zagat's.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #10 - June 5th, 2011, 8:42 pm
    Post #10 - June 5th, 2011, 8:42 pm Post #10 - June 5th, 2011, 8:42 pm
    1) Definitely Arun's

    2) Manny's?

    3) Tru?
  • Post #11 - June 5th, 2011, 10:39 pm
    Post #11 - June 5th, 2011, 10:39 pm Post #11 - June 5th, 2011, 10:39 pm
    Those would be my guesses as well.
  • Post #12 - June 6th, 2011, 9:19 am
    Post #12 - June 6th, 2011, 9:19 am Post #12 - June 6th, 2011, 9:19 am
    I agree with the answers to #1 and #2. But I thought of North Pond for #3.
  • Post #13 - June 6th, 2011, 9:29 am
    Post #13 - June 6th, 2011, 9:29 am Post #13 - June 6th, 2011, 9:29 am
    Binko wrote:I agree with the answers to #1 and #2. But I thought of North Pond for #3.


    That's what I was thinking too.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #14 - June 6th, 2011, 10:06 am
    Post #14 - June 6th, 2011, 10:06 am Post #14 - June 6th, 2011, 10:06 am
    GAF wrote:As some LTH members know, I am an occasional dining companion of Steve's (and my reviews are part of his sample), and I don't want this post to come across as shilling for the book (I don't agree with all of his ratings). But I did want there to be a thread for discussion, pro and con.


    Although I haven't read the book yet, I've seen some of the residue from the media blitz and Mr. Plotnicki's abrasive (and dare say abusive) personality. Living in Mpls currently, his book made headlines when one of the twin cities' more respected food writers took umbrage with the book's assessment of our Vietnamese restaurant scene.

    The comment section is the best part - Dara and Mr. Plotnicki's back and forth - made good reading. Although I haven't read the book yet, I'm having obvious reservations about purchasing such a book. I would like to know more about the sampling criteria and the overall sample size. They seem to use surveys from diners off of Le Belle Vie (one of Mpls best restaurants) mailing list to rank local restaurants included in the book (as well as which restaurants are included). I'm not convinced that this particular sample community's perspective accurately reflects the twin cities' dining scene in general. In the comments section, he obviously argues in favor of his methodology but if it doesn't pass the initial smell test, the data may need to be reexamined.

    As GAF is not "shilling for the book," I will hold off criticizing the book until I have the opportunity to actually read it. I will say that Mr. Plotnicki's comments don't make me want to run out today and buy the book. I will say that if I saw someone walking around the twin cities with that book under their arm, I would feel sorry for them for missing some of the better food experiences the twin cities have to offer. If you were to visit here and not have some sort of Vietnamese or Hmong cuisine, you'd surely be missing out on some of the best this metro area has to offer.

    Here is the link to the aforementioned article: http://bit.ly/lEwDDf and some cut/paste from her post:

    Friday, June 3, 2011
    So Angry I Could Spit! Time to Defend Our Vietnamese Restaurant Scene.
    By Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl

    I just got a book called Opinionated About U.S. Restaurants 2011, which has a Minneapolis and St. Paul section. I’m feeling opinionated about it.

    When the new book by Steve Plotnicki appeared on my desk, I was intrigued. Was someone really daring to take on the Zagat empire by coming out with a similar book, in which numerical scores are awarded by survey-driven reviews? And could a former record company talent developer who’s now a self-described “prolific food-blogger” really get his head around “The Most Important Restaurants in the U.S”?

    In regards to Minnesota, let me put it in the local vernacular for you: Yeah, no.

    The Minneapolis St. Paul section gets off to a good enough start: La Belle Vie, best restaurant. Great. Sounds good to me. Second best, Heartland. Okay. Third, Origami, the Warehouse District sushi pioneer. Really? Coincidentally, I was just at Origami last week. Best sushi, I’ll give it that. But a better restaurant than Piccolo or Haute Dish, nope. Speaking of Haute Dish, they ain’t in there. Neither is: Nick and Eddie, Ngon Bistro, Travail, Spoonriver, Sapor, Jasmine 26, Saffron, or, more forgivably, newcomers like Pizzeria Lola, Tilia, and Heidi’s. But the book does devote ink to closed restaurants, like Om and 20.21, and completely indifferent restaurants, like B.A.N.K. and the St. Paul arm of the chain Kincaid’s (though it excludes the Bloomington one).

    None of which would have roused me to the state of actually writing about this guide. But this did: What does Steve Plotnicki have to say about Minneapolis and St. Paul Vietnamese food? “While the Twin Cities offers successful versions of many different cuisine, Vietnamese doesn’t seem to be one of them.” Oh, really? Sir, we have one of the most vibrant Vietnamese restaurant scenes in the country, due to our robust and wonderful Vietnamese population. Don’t you dare!

    So here’s another critic’s view of Minneapolis-St. Paul Vietnamese food. It’s awesome! Whatever you do this lifetime, don’t even think of missing out on the opportunity to dine at:

    Ngon Bistro
    Seriously, it’s all I can do not to sing praise from the rooftops every single week for this St. Paul gem that combines local farm produce and mad Vietnamese cooking skills. I pit their Nem Nuong against any Nem Nuong in the USA! ngonbistro.com

    Jasmine 26, and Jasmine Deli
    The fancy, sexily-lit Jasmine 26, a beer, a coconut hot-pot—what more do you want out of a date? And of course the cult superstar little sister deli has great bun salads. jasmine26.net

    Mai Village
    Have you had the seven courses of beef dinner at Mai Village while your children ooh and ah over the carp-pond, replete with bridge? If not, you are not living right in St. Paul! maivillage.net

    Saigon
    Astounding, stupendous, astonishing, amazing: We are a city united in love of Saigon’s banh mi sandwiches. Are we not? facebook.com/SAIGON-RESTAURANT-SAINT-PAUL

    Everything else!
    Pho Tau Bay, Quang, Trieu Chau Bay, Pho 79, Pho Tan Phat, Caravelle, Pho Ca Dao–good lord! We live in a fantastic, fantastic land of great Vietnamese food. I’d pit Minnesota Vietnamese food against New York Vietnamese food any day of the week.

    In fact, I think I’ll go get some. I wonder if I could trade the book for some goi cuon?

    Posted on Friday, June 3, 2011 in Permalink
    "It's not that I'm on commission, it's just I've sifted through a lot of stuff and it's not worth filling up on the bland when the extraordinary is within equidistant tasting distance." - David Lebovitz
  • Post #15 - June 6th, 2011, 11:05 am
    Post #15 - June 6th, 2011, 11:05 am Post #15 - June 6th, 2011, 11:05 am
    With regard to the quotations, 1 is Arun's. Easy and obvious. The other two are perhaps less fair since neither of the restaurants are ones that receive a lot of LTH love (neither is Arun's, as it happens). I just liked the quotations. I will wait a few days and then post the answers.

    I agree with Tyrus (and Dara). For background, I lived in the Twin Cities from 1976 to 1990. The single best aspect of dining in the TC was Vietnamese cuisine (yes, there was Mayslack's: "you can't beat Stan's meat") and a few other places like the old Le Quatre Amis when it was in Northfield, the old Sri Lanka Curry House (when it was in Northeast Mpls.), the Stillwater Inn, 510 Haute Cuisine, Goodfellows, and a few others. So when I read Plotnicki's claim that the Vietnamese dining scene in the Twin Cities was weak, I was startled (there were only one or two explicitly Hmong restaurants back then). I only wish that we Chicagoans had such a vibrant scene (at least as of 1990). I didn't know whether Steve was wrong or all the Vietnamese restauranteurs had moved to Fresno. :lol: I'm glad to know it was the former. But it does speak to a few issues. In a national restaurant guide written essentially by one person with an unsystematic sample, things will be wrong in the first edition. It also suggests that people in secondary restaurant markets will feel that their favorite places have been unjustly ignored.

    But this is not really a survey of ethnic restaurants.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #16 - June 6th, 2011, 11:27 am
    Post #16 - June 6th, 2011, 11:27 am Post #16 - June 6th, 2011, 11:27 am
    Doesn't the exchange in fact show up a series of serious issues with the quality of the data and thus the value of the book?

    Aside from SP's later claim that he never wrote what he apparently did write which is just downright ridiculous, the methodology which uses one "cornerstone" restaurant's mailing list as the basis for the survey participants for an area is guaranteed to bias the results enough to make them meaningless.
  • Post #17 - June 6th, 2011, 11:31 am
    Post #17 - June 6th, 2011, 11:31 am Post #17 - June 6th, 2011, 11:31 am
    GAF wrote:With regard to the quotations, 1 is Arun's. Easy and obvious. The other two are perhaps less fair since neither of the restaurants are ones that receive a lot of LTH love (neither is Arun's, as it happens). I just liked the quotations. I will wait a few days and then post the answers.


    #2 = Gene & Georgetti?

    #3 = Tavern on Rush?
  • Post #18 - June 6th, 2011, 1:05 pm
    Post #18 - June 6th, 2011, 1:05 pm Post #18 - June 6th, 2011, 1:05 pm
    I don't have a lot of time for back and forth banter today (the rigors of being an author are demanding), but let me address the debate that is raging on the ethnic restaurants on Minneapolis. MY BOOK TAKES NO POSITION ON THEM AT ALL. It doesn't say anything positive about them, nor negative about them. The guide only speaks about individual restaurants and is intended to be a narrative that captures what the dining community is talking about. All of the restaurants that appear in the guide are self selected by the survey participants and any restaurant can qualify for the guide if it gets enough votes. I have nothing to do with which restaurants appear in the guide. In fact two restaurant that didn't qualify are Mistral Kitchen in Seattle and Menton in Boston. And from the perspective of what is important to my brand, I can tell you that those omissions are much worse than the omission of ethnic restaurants in a place like Minneapolis. But the restaurants in the guide are objectively chosen and the same rules apply for French restaurants in Boston as Vietnamese restaurants in Minneapolis. Hopefully they will all attract enough votes in the next survey to appear in the 2012 edition.

    As to the immediate issue of the ethnic restaurants in the Twin Cities, I have no doubt that they are as good as people say they are. But what I can tell you is that they don't have a lot of buzz among the people I spoke to when I visited the city. For example, when I was doing research for the guide, I visited cities all over the country to vet the results I was getting. When I went to St. Louis, one of the city's top chefs took me around one day, and he took me to two different Asian restaurants for lunch. One straight Vietnamese and the other mixed Vietnamese/Chinese. His choice not mine. But when I visited Minneapolis a few weeks later, I spent a lot of time talking to chefs and asking them where to eat and none of them mentioned the city’s ethnic restaurants to me, not even once.

    As to where the list of survey participants was drawn from, the reason that the list of participants is chosen from mailing lists of top restaurants is as follows. Since the survey’s participants are weighted based on the quantity and quality of restaurants they have been to, I want people who have eaten at all types of restaurants, and the percentage of people on the Spoon Thai mailing list who have eaten at Alinea is lower than the percentage of people on the Alinea list who have been to Spoon Thai.. In addition, the odds of a survey participant having experience at fine dining establishments as well as at ethnic restaurants varies from city to city. For example, the correlation is very high in San Francisco, but low in Los Angeles. And many people would say that Los Angeles has the most vibrant ethnic dining scene in the country. I’m not sure why that is but I need to study the data I collected in order to posit a theory about it.

    Finally as to Dara and Minnesota Monthly, her post was an intentional smear. She made the false assertion (intentionally) that because the guide didn’t review any Vietnamese restaurants in Minneapolis, all of the data should be disqualified. Forgetting the wrongheadedness of that logic and putting the fact that there are countless reasons why a restaurant might be omitted, if she wanted to find out how the methodology worked she could have simply asked me or my publicist. In the 30 years that I have been in the media business, the instances where journalists do not follow normal journalism procedures are rare, and it simply doesn’t make sense that a writer with as much experience as Dara would fail to follow those procedures and make that telephine call. But the truth is, had she asked those questions it would have meant that she would have to discuss the guide on the merits and she wouldn’t have been able to smear it based on a false premise. Another give-away that Dara wasn’t acting with the best of intentions is a failure to add a link to the book, my blog or the webpage we set up for the book. While I don’t know what Minnesota Monthly’s normal policy is, that is very unusual for an online publication
  • Post #19 - June 6th, 2011, 1:45 pm
    Post #19 - June 6th, 2011, 1:45 pm Post #19 - June 6th, 2011, 1:45 pm
    Steve Plotnicki wrote: All of the restaurants that appear in the guide are self selected by the survey participants and any restaurant can qualify for the guide if it gets enough votes. ... In fact two restaurant that didn't qualify are Mistral Kitchen in Seattle and Menton in Boston. And from the perspective of what is important to my brand, I can tell you that those omissions are much worse than the omission of ethnic restaurants in a place like Minneapolis.


    Thanks for clarifying. It would seem that as the guide gets more popular and more people are surveyed, the results will continue to get stronger. It's also good to know that your "brand" is not focused on the ethnic restaurants, especially "in a place like Minneapolis." Ouch?

    Steve Plotnicki wrote: As to where the list of survey participants was drawn from, the reason that the list of participants is chosen from mailing lists of top restaurants is as follows. Since the survey’s participants are weighted based on the quantity and quality of restaurants they have been to, I want people who have eaten at all types of restaurants, and the percentage of people on the Spoon Thai mailing list who have eaten at Alinea is lower than the percentage of people on the Alinea list who have been to Spoon Thai.. In addition, the odds of a survey participant having experience at fine dining establishments as well as at ethnic restaurants varies from city to city. For example, the correlation is very high in San Francisco, but low in Los Angeles. And many people would say that Los Angeles has the most vibrant ethnic dining scene in the country. I’m not sure why that is but I need to study the data I collected in order to posit a theory about it.


    Again, it speaks to the brand and what it seems like you're going after. Those correlations (or lack thereof) seem about right. In the Twin Cities, nobody ever really "talks" about the ethnic dining scenes, it's more like they just exist and are pretty decent. I moved here last summer and it took me a while to "discover" some of the hidden ethnic gems. Are they good? Yes. Are they top-notch restaurant dining experiences? Not exactly. Like Chicago, some of my favorite meals were at small, "authentic," ethnic restaurants. Many of the people I know that regularly dine at places like Alinea, Blackbird and L2O, generally don't find themselves in a neighborhood where most of the advertising billboards are NOT in English. Much of the time, they are on expense accounts or about hitting the "scene" more than the food. Many of the people on LTH seem to be able to walk that high-end / neighborhood restaurant line but this is more of a food-centric site than a general dining population.

    Steve Plotnicki wrote: Finally as to Dara and Minnesota Monthly, her post was an intentional smear. She made the false assertion (intentionally) that because the guide didn’t review any Vietnamese restaurants in Minneapolis, all of the data should be disqualified. Forgetting the wrongheadedness of that logic and putting the fact that there are countless reasons why a restaurant might be omitted, if she wanted to find out how the methodology worked she could have simply asked me or my publicist. In the 30 years that I have been in the media business, the instances where journalists do not follow normal journalism procedures are rare, and it simply doesn’t make sense that a writer with as much experience as Dara would fail to follow those procedures. But the truth is, had she asked those questions it would have meant that she would have to discuss the guide on the merits and she wouldn’t have been able to smear it based on a false premise.


    Yeah, I don't have a dog in this fight but did find the back and forth interesting. I've found that Minnesotans are VERY proud of their hometown and have a little bit of a "homer" in them. The local food writing, while generally good, definitely leans towards favorable ratings for hometown chefs. Dara seems to be a little more legit so I was surprised to see this back and forth.

    Thanks again for clarifying some of the finer points. I'll be sure to check out the book...
  • Post #20 - June 6th, 2011, 2:33 pm
    Post #20 - June 6th, 2011, 2:33 pm Post #20 - June 6th, 2011, 2:33 pm
    TomInSkokie wrote:
    GAF wrote:With regard to the quotations, 1 is Arun's. Easy and obvious. The other two are perhaps less fair since neither of the restaurants are ones that receive a lot of LTH love (neither is Arun's, as it happens). I just liked the quotations. I will wait a few days and then post the answers.


    #2 = Gene & Georgetti?

    #3 = Tavern on Rush?


    I agree on #2, I thought that #3 sounded like Geja's but figured it wouldn't be reviewed in this book.
  • Post #21 - June 6th, 2011, 2:41 pm
    Post #21 - June 6th, 2011, 2:41 pm Post #21 - June 6th, 2011, 2:41 pm
    Steve Plotnicki wrote:And from the perspective of what is important to my brand, I can tell you that those omissions are much worse than the omission of ethnic restaurants in a place like Minneapolis.

    Actually, I think you just inadvertently justified Dara's annoyance.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #22 - June 6th, 2011, 2:54 pm
    Post #22 - June 6th, 2011, 2:54 pm Post #22 - June 6th, 2011, 2:54 pm
    You mean Dara is annoyed at who I think my potential readers are? Gee that would be grand of her but I doubt it.

    Her annoyance is made up. It's phony and a fabrication. She has nothing to be annoyed about since the book doesn't make any of the representations that she claims it makes.
  • Post #23 - June 6th, 2011, 3:02 pm
    Post #23 - June 6th, 2011, 3:02 pm Post #23 - June 6th, 2011, 3:02 pm
    So if your readers had concluded that there wasn't any good fine dining in NYC and you editorialized by saying, "While New York City offers successful versions of many different cuisines, fine dining doesn’t seem to be one of them,” your response is, hey, don't blame Steve, that's the system?

    No need to answer.

    If you editorialize based on your survey's results, at what point does the survey's responsibility end and yours begin? Or does the responsibility to present good information only fall on your shoulders when addressing high-end restaurants, particularly in the largest cities, and not when it's "ethnic restaurants in a place like Minneapolis"? And if the answer to that last question is yes, and you still don't see the problem with that line, I really don't think I can explain it to you.
    Last edited by Dmnkly on June 6th, 2011, 3:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #24 - June 6th, 2011, 3:24 pm
    Post #24 - June 6th, 2011, 3:24 pm Post #24 - June 6th, 2011, 3:24 pm
    BTW...

    Steve Plotnicki - from the comments at Dara's post wrote:Nobody said that their ommission means that they aren't good restaurants. Dara made that up as intentional smear.

    As long as we're parsing who said precisely what, I think you should reread the post, because this smear you speak of isn't to be found anywhere therein.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #25 - June 6th, 2011, 3:32 pm
    Post #25 - June 6th, 2011, 3:32 pm Post #25 - June 6th, 2011, 3:32 pm
    I think that I should give some hints for 2 and 3.

    2) This restaurant recently closed "for good" with its fixtures (not its customers, presumably!) auctioned off, and its hotel is being reestablished. Whether it will emerge under the same name is unclear.

    3) This aerie restaurant is particularly popular at Senior Prom time.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #26 - June 6th, 2011, 3:39 pm
    Post #26 - June 6th, 2011, 3:39 pm Post #26 - June 6th, 2011, 3:39 pm
    GAF wrote:I think that I should give some hints for 2 and 3.

    2) This restaurant recently closed "for good" with its fixtures (not its customers, presumably!) auctioned off, and its hotel is being reestablished. Whether it will emerge under the same name is unclear.

    3) This aerie restaurant is particularly popular at Senior Prom time.


    Too easy.

    2) The Pump Room

    3) The Signature Room
  • Post #27 - June 6th, 2011, 3:41 pm
    Post #27 - June 6th, 2011, 3:41 pm Post #27 - June 6th, 2011, 3:41 pm
    Correct, Aschie.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #28 - June 6th, 2011, 5:09 pm
    Post #28 - June 6th, 2011, 5:09 pm Post #28 - June 6th, 2011, 5:09 pm
    Dmnkly wrote:If you editorialize based on your survey's results, at what point does the survey's responsibility end and yours begin? Or does the responsibility to present good information only fall on your shoulders when addressing high-end restaurants, particularly in the largest cities, and not when it's "ethnic restaurants in a place like Minneapolis"? And if the answer to that last question is yes, and you still don't see the problem with that line, I really don't think I can explain it to you.


    I didn't editorialize based on the survey's results. I editorialized on the results for the rating and comments I collected on the individual restaurants that qualified for the survey. That Dara characterized it the way you repeated it here, is part of the smear. As for responsibility, the only people I feel responsible to are my readers. And from the initial feedback I am getting, they all like the book very much. Not only that, the vast majority of them rate ethnic restaurants well below fine dining restaurants regardless of the city. That doesn't mean they don't like them and they don't frequent them. It's just that they realize that what Grant Achutz does is exceptional, and making a good bowl of pho is somewhat less exceptional. And if you're the kind of person who disagrees with that, then I have a solution for you. Go read someone else's book (and blog please) that is more in tune with your sensibilities about food and stop wasting both my time and yours.
  • Post #29 - June 6th, 2011, 5:17 pm
    Post #29 - June 6th, 2011, 5:17 pm Post #29 - June 6th, 2011, 5:17 pm
    Man, I would love it if we could stop wasting each others' time, Steve. I think the easiest solution is for one of us to delete their account and never come back.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #30 - June 6th, 2011, 5:20 pm
    Post #30 - June 6th, 2011, 5:20 pm Post #30 - June 6th, 2011, 5:20 pm
    This restaurant recently closed "for good" with its fixtures (not its customers, presumably!) auctioned off, and its hotel is being reestablished. Whether it will emerge under the same name is unclear.


    I thought I heard that Jean George is going to take over the space but I might be wrong. I actually tried to remove it from the guide before going to press but it caused so much havoc with the pagination that we left it the Chicago chapter as is. One of the downsides of old technology.

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