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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Times Weekly Dining Review

I'd be lying if I said I didn't often peruse the NY Times Food section.  I'd be lying if I said I don't read the weekly review.  The current critic, Pete Wells, seems nice. Surely he knows what he's doing.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't go to some of Wells' recommendations.  But, I'm sorry, there is something extraordinarily privileged and ridiculous about these reviews.  The witticisms and lighthearted, sometimes bordering on irreverent but never fully crossing over prose, filled with some sharp insights, the oh I'm so likable and live in New York vibe, etc. etc.  Last week Wells reviewed Chomp Chomp, a Singaporean casual spot in the West Village.  Wells will sometimes review these more inexpensive-type places.  I went to Chomp Chomp and enjoyed it a lot.  But this week Wells is reviewing a Japanese tempura place that offers a $200 set meal.  From the review:

"How many people will pay $200 for fried asparagus in fall when we can eat a kaiseki meal with a greater range of truly special seasonal ingredients at, say, Kyo Ya or Kajitsu?"

Right, and how many people will pay - or can pay - $200 for any meal?  

I propose that when Wells decides to resign, the Times bring in Robert Sietsema, the current Eater writer, a man of the people who writes about normal, relatively modest-priced places.  Or, perhaps the Times should just stop the weekly reviews and write a farewell article saying that dining reviews are for silly people.