Eater.com recently compiled New York Times critic Sam Sifton's 15 best "burns, barbs and zingers" from his 2010 reviews. It strikes me reading these that over the past twelve months, Mr. Sifton's reviews have been meaner than mine (this is meant neither as compliment or insult).
Now I'm not saying that nice guys finish last, although one might note that Sifton is writing for The New York Times and I'm writing for New Times. This means, among other things, that nobody is going to compile a list of my best zingers of 2010. So I did it myself (although couldn't find enough clever put-downs, so I padded the picks with some compliments).
(Note to self: Make New Year's resolution to be less self-indulgent. Plus maybe a little meaner.)
On Osteria del Teatro:
"Osteria's success relies on its staff's relations with the public rather than on a public relations staff."
On The Cape Cod Room (since closed):
"Add drab drapes to cover those windows, an incongruously designed bar that looks like it was swiped from a tiki room, and malodorously scented candles to counter an ambiguous mustiness, and you're left with all the pizzazz of a New Bedford Holiday Inn restaurant circa 1960."
"If traditional old steak houses share attributes with traditional old red wines (dark and heavy, with strong notes of leather, oak, and tobacco), STK is like a spritzer: cool and bubbly, a frivolous sip not to be taken seriously. In fact, with a DJ spinning oldies that in most cases are actually goodies, it's fun, fun, fun till Daddy -- or not Daddy -- takes the T-bone away."
On the beer list at 660 at The Anglers:
"One of the imports is referred to as a 'slightly dry American adjunct lager' with 'notes of corn, mild malt, and citrus.' Admit it: That's the coolest description of Corona you've ever read."
On Miami pancake breakfasts:
"Since S&S Diner won the first annual Flapjack Flip-Off in 2001, we've become acquainted with 21st century icons such as BlackBerry, Bluetooth, Blu-Ray, i-Pad, al-Qaeda, and Facebook -- yet the majority of Miami restaurateurs still haven't figured out how to get hold of real maple syrup"
"New Orleans has less of a presence on this menu than it had as a city the day after Katrina: no jambalaya, crawfish etouffée, blackened fish, tasso ham, or andouille sausage with rice and beans. There is, however, a starter of tuna-lettuce wraps with crispy wontons, jalapeño, yuzu ponzu, and basil."
"We ordered 'mac and cheese spring rolls with smoked gouda dipping sauce' out of perverse curiosity: Could it be as bad as it sounds?"
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On Prelude by Barton G:
"There are no duck decoys or shrimp enshrouded in dry ice smoke, no Brobdingnagian cotton candy confections or nitrogen cocktails or coffee culled from animal turds.There are no pop-tarts in toasters or milk shakes in blenders; surprisingly, no kitchen appliances whatsoever were brought to the table. Prelude is practically prop-less."
On The Forge:
"On the other end of the scale, there's a Fluffernutter dessert -- which arguably makes the Forge the only posh restaurant in the world where one can both begin and end a meal with a course based on the peanut butter sandwich."
On Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill:
"The place's success all but screams at diners as they enter the large space. To the left is a bar that opens up to an outdoor patio; clustered around it are a boisterous cast of babes, blokes, blades, buddies, businessmen, and during one of our visits, Belkys Nerey."