“Late night finds me in the parking lot of Take One strip club on Northeast 79th Street (could this be the new restaurant row?).....
Pamela Robin Brandt-New Times 1/24/08
“No longer just a toll-free way to zip from Miami to Miami Beach, the 79th Street Causeway is becoming a surprisingly hip restaurant row...”
As Stewie Griffin might say, THANK YOU!
New Times' Lee Klein hypes Domo Japones, and here's what I like to call the Klassic Klein Beverage Sentence (r) -”An upstairs lounge in the rear of the space provides a romantic nook to partake of sake, cocktails, or wine; a listing of the last encompasses two dozen bottles, with many in the $30 to $40 range.”
37 offhand words about the beverages here, including 18 about the wine. I think that might be another record. But the real laziness comes in the annoying omission of anything to do with sake, which many people, I've heard, enjoy drinking with sushi.
I also love the fact that he says that DJ, Michael's and Grass, all located on NE 40th Street, are on the same 'corridor'. I predict that NE 40th Street will become the Surprisingly Hip New Restaurant Corridor. You heard it here first.
Over at the Herald, Enrique Fernandez, in his continuing million-part series, 'Cuban Food Retreads Nobody Gave a Shit About the First Time', your favorite elderly uncle discourses on 'Cuban Pizza'. Turns out the best Cuban Pizza is in Cuba. (I can't keep using the phrase, 'No Shit' every week, can I?). Well, it turns out, according to my sources, that the best Italian Pizza is in Italy. The best Paella, Spain. The best tacos, Mexico. You may be on to something my friend. And also, according to Tío Enrique, the best Cuban pizza he's had was at a private-home restaurant for Cubans only in Havana. The pie 'rocked'. Eloquent. I can't wait for the next part, 'Other Stuff Nobody Can Get But Cubans', by Anonymous Bearded Old Guy.
Victoria P. Elliot-VPE-First let me say that I'm not a big fan of the star system, but I understand people like to see them. But maybe there could be an explanation of what the stars mean, so that when you pan a place, like Alta Cocina, and give it 2 ½ stars, maybe we would actually know what that means. Can a place get no stars? Ten stars? Just a minor suggestion.
She whines that on her two visits, neither of the owners come by to make sure everything is okay at her table. What, does she need somebody to tuck in her bib? Isn't everyone these days complaining about overwrought, over-attentive service? I praise God when the people leave me alone so I can have a damn conversation. I don't like to plunk down $100 or more for dinner with my constant companion and then have to talk to some guy I've never met all night, just because he brought me my prawns.
About the wine list? “Markup on the 50 or so mainly New World wines, from a $32 Chateau St. Michelle reisling to a $120 brunello from Pogio Antico, seems to be the usual two to three times retail, but it's hard to judge with vintages absent.” Like from ALL OF YOUR REVIEWS? Sorry, didn't mean to yell. Maybe you could ASK TO SEE THE BOTTLE? Sorry. That's why they (don't) call them journalists, folks. And what is “the usual two to three times retail...” Does that mean the St. Michelle is $16 retail, or $11 retail? Not that big a deal, but when you look at the Brunello, the difference between 2 and three times retail is $20 on the retail side. (In other words, Zippy, is the bottle being marked up from $40 retail, or $60 retail. That's a big question when it comes to how much of a rip-off the wine is, or isn't.) And if reviewers keep talking about such exorbitant markups as though they are normal, we will never see ridiculously high wine prices in restaurants come down. Someone needs to fight for the consumer, and stop giving restaurants a free pass on their wine gouging.
I see four very disturbing trends here. 1)Klein reviews a restaurant open barely two months. 2)VPE only tries a restaurant twice before reviewing, and 3)Enrique reviews a restaurant that closed thirty years ago (it's possible-he never mentions when he ate that great homemade pizza). I think a fine-dining restaurant needs three months and three visits before reviewing, to get all the kinks worked out. Then you can fairly judge. And your review is more helpful to the dining public. It's not just an ill-informed, hastily written, meal recap you might see on Chowhound. At least that's how it's done in the bigger cities. Time to step up, folks. Oh, and the fourth thing? I don't call it stealing anymore. It's an homage. So, thank you.