Critical Mess: McNally Calls Platt Overweight; Cuozzo Calls McNally Big, Fat Crybaby

Critical-MessLast week, Manhattan restaurateur Keith McNally took restaurant critic Adam Platt to task on a VERY personal level, attacking his appearance, after Platt penned a lackluster review of McNally’s latest venture, Pulino’s (where former A16 chef Nate Appleman now works). In an open letter to the New York Magazine scribe, McNally calls him “out of touch,” “balding,” and “overweight.” He also accuses Platt of inhabiting a middle-aged world. It should be noted that McNally is almost 59 years old, which is technically far beyond middle age (unless he lives to 116), so perhaps his remark wasn’t ageist so much as envious.

In the past two days, New York Post critic Steve Cuozzo sprung to his counterpart’s defense, telling McNally to “shut his yap,” while, elsewhere, restaurateur Tony May, of SD26, noted his displeasure with New York’s restaurant critics. In contrast to McNally, however, May kept things strictly professional, positing that many critics do not understand “the true flavors of Italian cuisine.” Meanwhile, Eater NY took a look at the scorecard for newish restaurant critic Sam Sifton of The New York Times, analyzing his first seven months of reviews, for fairness and trends.

Finally, the Los Angeles Times, known for its fine food criticism, looks at the skills it takes to be an astute-yet-svelte restaurant critic. After all the recent name-calling, is this a job anyone even wants?

What Sam Sifton Looks Like, How to Find Out What Michael Bauer Looks Like, and Other ‘Critic-al’ News

What-Sam-Sifton-Looks-LikeRestaurant critics create the news, and sometimes they make the news….

* The New York Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton’s identity has been compromised by the sneaky peeps at Eater, while eating KFC of all things. [Gawker]

* New York Magazine reviewer Adam Platt clarifies a few things for those wanting to compromise his identity. [GrubStreet New York]

* Michael Bauer will willingly reveal his identity to you — if you win first prize in the “SFGate Top 100 Foodspotter Awards” and get to share a meal with the San Francisco Chronicle scribe. [SFGate]

* Mark Hayter, a new reviewer, reluctantly joins the mix in the Lone Star State and shares some of his self doubt about being critical. [The Courier]

* Canadian foodies debate the merits of professional food critics versus those of online amateurs. [Macleans]

* Howard Kurtz ponders the merits of critics in general. [Washington Post]

Fine Dining: Don’t Call It a Comeback

Fine-Dining-Don't-Call-It-a-ComebackAfter all, it’s been here for years. But, the economy is bouncing back — and so is fine (make that “superfine”) dining. Manhattan’s refurbished Pierre Hotel now houses the recently opened Le Caprice, which New York Magazine‘s Adam Platt says “looks like a grand, Gilded Age train car done over by Noël Coward and his friends in Art Deco tones of black and pearly white” and serves “a variety of classically executed Continental favorites.” In other words, the check may not be modest, but nor will the dining experience.

Up in Boston, chef-restarauteur Barbara Lynch is opening what she hopes will be the crowning jewel in her Boston restaurant empire. Menton, named for a French town on the Italian border, is slated to start serving in January and will feature tasting menus of four or seven courses with prices hovering around $150 per person (including wine). Lynch, whose other restaurants include B&G Oysters, No. 9 Park, and Sportello (among others), promises The Boston Globe, “You’re going to want to dress up. It’s going to be very luxurious, very elegant.”

Are you looking forward to dining at more upscale eateries in the new year? Chime in here or over on our Facebook page.