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  • what us food critics could learn from us in the uk (and vice versa, i guess …) | food

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See the news what us food critics could learn from us in the uk (and vice versa, i guess …) | food from Source New York Times on 26/02/2020 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.

what us food critics could learn from us in the uk (and vice versa, i guess …) | food

In October last year, a Japanese-Peruvian restaurant called Yapa opened in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles. Three months later, having visited three times, Patricia Escárcega, the restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times, published a thoughtful, positive review. While short on laughs, it contained some delightfully lyrical descriptions of the food; of the “creamy slips of uni” and the “fragrant lake of oil spiked with the voluptuous heat of rocoto chilies”. There was no picture byline.That same week, after just one visit to a restaurant that had been open at full price for only a matter of days, the Observer published my extremely negative review of The Yard by Robin Gill in London. In it, I compared the gnocchi to dental swabs, and described one dish as tasting of “laziness and gross profit margin”. My picture byline was slapped all over it, so you could be stared down by me as you read..Escárcega and I do the same job. We are both employed by newspapers to eat in a restaurant and then tell you whether it’s worth your time, money and appetite. But we do that job very differently. “US critics write as if they are the inheritors of the mantle of Tom Wolfe or Hemingway,” says Giles Coren, who reviews for the Times in the UK. “They go five times. There’s a pomposity to the way they write.”Sam Sifton, the food editor of the New York Times, who was also the paper’s critic for two years between 2009 and 2011, returns the compliment. British restaurant critics can be “barbaric”, he says, although he admits to finding it all highly entertaining. “For the reader, there’s something delicious about you lot going off on some horrible place. As a reader I take delight in that. We, however, have to take a more sombre approach.”Indeed they do. Travelling across the US, undertaking research for my latest book on my last meal on earth, which draws on my 20 years as a restaurant critic, I was constantly struck by the difference in tone. It’s all respectful and solicitous. My recent description of one restaurant’s poor service as akin to an “unlubricated colonoscopy”, while hardly Oscar Wilde, got a lot of love from readers. In the US, I am certain it would never be published.Of course, American critics can go in hard. There’s Pete Wells’s recent takedown of the famed Peter Luger steakhouse in Brooklyn – he described a steak as “barely past raw” – and his destruction of TV personality Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen and Bar, framed as a list of rhetorical questions. In the other direction, Fay Maschler, who has reviewed for the London Evening Standard since 1972, can bring a sober analytical approach to a restaurant if she deems it worthy.But for the most part, the half a dozen or so national critics in the UK are the writerly equivalent of bareknuckle fighters. Where US critics generally give restaurants three months to bed in, we may go the moment the soft launch has finished. If they’re charging full price, they’re surely fair game? US critics go three to five times. Generally, we go once. As I often say, how many times do you need a lousy meal to know a restaurant is lousy?And while Marina O’Loughlin, now reviewing for the Sunday Times, has protected her identity throughout her 20 years, the rest of us swan around on television and are to anonymity what Kim Kardashian is to shyness. In 2013, New York magazine decided that, in the internet age, with everyone’s picture just a click away, their venerable restaurant critic, Adam Platt, should abandon his anonymity. As he explains in his recently published and extremely entertaining memoir The Book of Eating, it was such big news the magazine put him on the cover. Read more Why the difference? Mostly, it’s down to economics. Historically, US cities have been...

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