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?

Steve Cuozzo Dishes Up Disses; Sexist Servers; and More

Steve-Cuozzo-Dishes-Up-DissesFrom the “State Your Complaint” files…

* New York Post critic Steve Cuozzo has had enough of pizza mania, small plates, and even smaller snacks at Manhattan restaurants. Someone woke up on the wrong side of the menu this morning. [NY Post]

* A diner accuses wait professionals of sexism, but critic Michael Bauer says her seat — and not her sex — may be the reason she’s not getting the check. [SFGate]

* Phil Vettel’s reader’s react to his list of restaurant flaws. [Chicago Tribune]

* Phil Vettel reacts to bad brunch services. (Can brunch ever be really bad? You’re allowed, heck, even encouraged, to have a cocktail IN THE MORNING!)  [Chicago Tribune]

* Eater had previously weighed in on restaurant design trends that need to go the way of microwave cooking. [Eater]

* Diners are feeling squeezed. Literally. [Star Tribune]

Chef Watch: Michael Voltaggio Cooks and Tells; New York Post Has a Beef with Alain Ducasse; Norman Van Aken Opens His Recipe Book; The World’s Most Influential Chef; Charlie Trotter’s New Hire, and More

Chefs making food and headlines…

•    Michael Voltaggaio, winner of season 6 of “Top Chef” shows football fans how to have a very molecular gastronomic Super Bowl party. Does that mean deconstructed nachos? [Los Angeles Times]

•    Speaking of Chef Voltaggio, who is chef de cuisine at The Dining Room at The Langham, he answers questions about his post-TC life. [Orange County Register]

•    Jose Garces, whose Philadelphia restaurant empire includes Amada, Chifa, Distrito, and Tinto, reveals what’s inspiring him lately. [The Daily Beast]

•    Charlie Trotter hires visually impaired chef Laura Martinez to join his kitchen at Charlie Trotter’s. [Grub Street Chicago]

•    If Chicago’s Graham Elliot Bowles’s food at Graham Elliot were an album, it would be Feed the Animals by Girl Talk. At least this week, anyway. [Time Out Chicago]

•    Meet the U.K’s own Fergus Henderson of St. John restaurant in London. He’s also the world’s most influential chef. No, really. [Men’s Health]

•    Chef Norman Van Aken shares some of his signature recipes from Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, but it’s probably just easier to go ahead and let him make them for us at his eponymous restaurant. [The Daily Beast]

•    Thomas Keller (Ad Hoc, Bouchon, Bouchon – Beverly Hills, The French Laundry, Per Se) loses his right-hand man. As long as it’s not his right hand. [San Francisco Chronicle]

•    Restaurant critic Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post has a bone to pick with Alain Ducasse (Adour Alain Ducasse at The St. Regis New York, Benoit New York) over his recent comments about the New York restaurant scene. Call me a coward, but it’s probably not all that wise to start a beef with anyone who wields knives for a living. [New York Post]

Well-Reviewed: Bouchon Earns a Rave; Danny Meyer’s Maialino Can’t Miss; and More.

Recent reviews around the nation…

* Critic Tom Sietsema heads to the Hill for a meal at Bistro Cacao. [The Washington Post]

* S. Irene Virbila welcomes Thomas Keller’s Bouchon with open arms and three shiny stars. [Los Angeles Times]

* Minneapolis’s answer to Jean-Georges scores another hit with D’Amico Kitchen, according to Rick Nelson. [Star-Tribune]

* Virbila also likes LA’s neighborhoody House Café for a bite. [Los Angeles Times]

* Chris Colin finds the view’s the thing at Oakland’s The Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill. [The New York Times]

* Danny Meyer’s Maialino is so nice, this week it’s been reviewed twice. [New York Post, The New York Times]

* Pelago wows the Windy City’s Phil Vettel. [Chicago Tribune]

* Michael Bauer remains loyal to old favorite Rivoli. [San Francisco Chronicle]