Posts Tagged ‘rating’

Pursuing my tour of some of the finest steakhouses of New York, having tried Peter Luger, Keens, Strip House, Quality Meats  and Wolfgang.

Dropped by Gallagher’s Steakhouse, a historical steakhouse, which, during the days of the prohibition, was the first illicit establishment selling alcohol where gamblers and stars of Broadway would meet.

In the incredibly competitive steakhouse market of NYC (perhaps, the steakhouse mecca of the world – I mean, do you know any other major city with that many world class steakhouses? Do you? ), you know you have reached the enviable status of a historic shrine at whatever you do when the NY Times writes romanticized write-ups with eye-candy photographs of this sort about you – .

At Gallagher’s Steakhouse,  I ordered:

Platter of 12 oysters – Dabob bay from Hood canal (Washington) and Canadian lucky lime. Nicely shucked quality fresh oysters. The lucky lime had the advertised citrus-tone finish in evidence. The intertidal beach cultured  Dabob bay oysters, quite briny for an oyster coming from the Pacific. The mignonette properly done. A platter of fine oysters. 7/10

The 20 oz rib eye steak (Grade: USDA Prime), dry aged for 28 – 32 days on premise in their glass-enclosed meat locker ( You can see it from the street – a sight to behold). The meat is grilled on hickory coals, a rarity in a city where most steakhouses do broil their steaks. Grilling meat over an open fire has always been my preferred grilling method for meats. The requested medium rare doneness achieved with utter precision. It delivered on flavor (the seasoning, exquisite –  the steak  as delicious as it gets) and was superbly tender throughout. The great grilling effect of the open fire in evidence to the eyes/smell/palate.  Dazzling crust. My steak had its juices settled within the meat, therefore timely rested. A steak is not a moon landing mission and one can do great steaks at home, indeed, but what matters here is that this is a steakhouse and it is doing one of the better steaks in NYC. Easily the best rib eye steak I ever had at all the top tier steakhouses of NY. 10/10

The creamed spinach. Here too, the G seems to have the edge as the creamed spinach had superb taste and great balance between the cream and spinach flavours. Superb texture too. Just some delicious creamed spinach like few — surprising, indeed – seem to be able to pull out at the NYC steakhouses. Vibrant fresh and delicious flavours. 9/10

Even the crème fraîche to accompany the baked potato was not of the ordinary sort. The baked potato managing, somehow, not to be just an average piece of tired looking baked potato simply because most kitchen brigades keep such simple things for granted (as most diners do, actually), when, in reality, the sourcing of your potato and how you timed its baking makes a big difference. Here, they did care about that difference.

Bottom line: A very beautiful steakhouse (the warmth of materials such as  wood and leather never failing to entice) in the classic genre. But the food was as great. Where many steakhouses seem to deliver  tired renditions of classic steakhouse food, the G seems to find a way to make it a bit more exciting in mouth (even their homemade sauce to accompany the steak, made of tomato/garlic/Worcestershire sauce, was well engineered as far as balancing flavors go, its taste great ). A commendable steakhouse, indeed.

Overall rating: Food 9/10 One of the very best steakhouses of NYC.   The steaks are great here, but everything else as well. For my taste, the G and Peter Luger are my No1 steakhouses in New York, with the G being a better all rounder, for sure. Furthermore, nothing beats the appealing  texture as well as memorable grilling aromas of a steak that is grilled on open fire (a broiled steak looks unappetizing in comparison). Service 8/10 (superb service in the typical classic NYC steakhouse way). Gallaghers Steakhouse Addr: 228 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019 Phone: 212-586-5000 URL: http://www.gallaghersnysteakhouse.com/

 

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Keen’s Steakhouse – New York, NY

Posted: July 6, 2019 in aged beef, best aged beef, best aged steak, best dry aged beef, best dry aged steak, best porterhouse steak, best restaurants in new york, Best steakhouses, best steaks, excellent service, High hospitality standards, new york, steak, steakhouse, The World's Best Steaks, Top steaks in the world
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Keens is an institution of NYC, a piece of restaurant  history that started in the  19th century (established in 1885). Its dark wood walls are covered with a tasteful  display of  memorabilia (time-honored paintings, photos, cartoons).   This restaurant could be an incredible shooting location for a movie.

 

The avid fan of history that I am  had to find himself in this charming old world  decor, espying what could have possibly been the pipe of Roosevelt over here (thousands  of clay pipes of  patrons who dined at Keens are on display on the steakhouse’s ceiling), climbing the same stairs as Einstein over there.   Nowadays, Keens is one of NYC’s most popular steakhouses, attracting tourists, locals as well as many connoisseurs of North American steaks (as you will see below, their steaks did not « rest on their laurels »). But, with legendary places like this one, I am on my guard, always ensuring that  the lore shall never be part of the lure.

On a previous visit here, over 2 years ago, I did try their fabled slow roasted lamb loin‘s saddle  chop (aka the ”mutton chop“). It is not mutton, anymore. It  is  lamb  that they do serve nowadays. The lamb is raised in  Colorado,  some of the  most sought after lamb  in the nation. Colorado does offer to its  free-ranging sheep,  vast swathes of vegetation to feed on, thanks to the numerous mountains and hills of the state. The sourcing of this piece of  pasture raised lamb was  of high level , its subtly earthy lamb flavor  (milder than, say the flavour of lamb from New Zeland)  dazzled. Boasting an enticing color, definely tender, this  was as great as your roasted lamb loin‘s saddle  chop  will be if served to you at a top tier  steakhouse. 9/10

Then last year I dropped by with a long time genuine connoisseur of North American steakhouses and we had the porterhouse.  For anyone truely familiar with beef aging, it was easy to enjoy the great effect of the dry aging (they dry-age and butcher the meat on the premises) process that went into that piece of meat (great concentration of beef flavor). The thing about aging meats is to think about the right effect for the right meat. Oftently, you see people dry aging then wet aging their meat (perfect recipe to cancel the benefit of dry aging that meat …), dry aging meat that has fat that is so delicate that it cannot  ‘age’  well (highly marbled wagyu as in this case at Dons de la Nature, one of Tokyo’s leading steakhouses. It is the sort of fat that is way too delicate to   benefit from dry aging — I will write, later on, a detailed article on what type of fat benefits from the aging process and why), dry aging fishes that have the taste of nothing if you age them (few fishes do benefit from the dry aging process, most do not…most fishes that are aged do simply fit in the ridiculous trend of aging the flesh for the pleasure of following a trend, as stupid as that – ). Not all steakhouses do master the dry aging of meats as  obsessively well as, at, let us say, Le Divil in Perpignan, but the concentration of flavor of that porterhouse steak  at Keens revealed some serious mastery of the dry aging of their meats.   8/10

 

This is my 3rd visit here, and this time I ordered the prime rib of beef  (king’s cut – meaning that it’s bone-in),  the  medium rare doneness that I wanted was precisely achieved,  and it came charred at my request, served with au jus.  The loin end   rarely fails to be flavorful once cooked,  and yet, you realize how, in the USA, they have perfected its cooking  with no shortage of dazzling renditions of the  prime rib such as the ones you can enjoy at  establishments such as the House of Prime RibLawry‘s or   Dickie Brennan‘s  to name a few. But this prime rib at Keens was not out of place in that fierce competition, as here again, you had all the qualities of a stellar piece of North American steak (the quality of the meat really high as you would expect from a North American steakhouse of this reputation, the standing rib roast timely cooked, its delicious fat properly rendered, the seasoning competent, the steak craveable ).   8/10

 

I love Keen but I was NOT  in love with my platter of a dozen of oysters: all had their superb maritime flavour in evidence, true, but some of the oysters were served a bit too cold than expected at a restaurant serving seafood. The shucking could have been better, too.

Our sides of creamed spinach , sautéed mushrooms and cooked broccoli did not tantalize both my girlfriend and myself :  for both of us,  this preparation of their creamed spinach  did not  enhance  the taste of the spinach. And they did add a bit less cream than I would have preferred.  Still, their way of doing it is one legit classic way of cooking the creamed spinach and I am fine with that.  The broccoli,  I need them to retain a vivid fresh appearance  (I am not here to talk about cooking techniques but there’s a technique for that, there is a technique that allows your broccoli  to be nicely cooked while retaining its perfect crunch and vivid looks, a technique that is widely documented. There is no doubt that the kitchen brigade at Keens knows how to do that, but, again, their choice is to remain classic, therefore they did use a more classical approach  and that is to be respected. As for the mushrooms, they  looked and felt as if they were sautéed a bit too long  and served a bit too late,  the taste of the mushrooms not in evidence.

The crab cake of my girlfriend  featured   fresh crab flavour, the seasoning well judged. The crab came from Maryland and it is in season right now, consequently its depth of flavour was remarkable. Of her crab cake, she said that it was about “”the full taste of the crab and not a lot of filler””, which was a good thing.  7/10

Bottom line: This article of the NY Mag had its author arguing that   « The meat isn’t first class anymore, especially by the standards of today » at Keens…another one of the absurd and senseless suggestions of our so-called food journalists. A steak is first class if the quality of the meat is great, the cooking accurate, the flavours on point, the extra steps to elevate the taste of that meat making a difference (for example, my pieces of steak, here, at Keens, did benefit from the nuances that an educated palate would detect as nuances that can only come from a competently dry aged piece of quality meat). And you do all of that better than at most other steakhouses, which is the case of Keens.  You stop being first  class the day your steak costs an arm and a leg only to have the taste and feel of a generic-tasting piece of meat that you  would buy at the supermarket (the case of one so-called legendary steakhouse right here in The old Montreal …). Keens has nothing to do with an outdated steakhouse.  For his  steaks, Keens is still one of NYC’s very best. I was not in love with the sides, but again, this was (more of) a matter of preference (at the exception of the mushrooms) rather than the sides being faulty. They need to control the temperature of those oysters, though. My number 1 North American steakhouse is still Peter Luger (the one in Brooklyn) , but that takes nothing away from the superb steaks of Keens. The service and ambience at Keens are  also  great. One of my preferred chophouses in NYC. Steaks (9/10), Appetizers (7/10), Sides (6/10 ), Service (8/10 ) –  Keens steakhouse Addr: 72 West 36th St. New York, NY 10018 Phone: 212-947-3636 URL: http://www.keens.com

 

Quality Meats NYC (Addr: 57 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019, USA Phone: +1 212-371-7777)   is a restaurant  backed by Smith & Wollensky, a steakhouse institution in NYC (that now has several branches across the US as well as abroad). It is part of a  group of restaurants that include some of the most successful eateries of NYC such as Don Angie, Smith & Wollensky, Park Avenue, etc. They do offer a contemporary take on North American familiar dishes  such as their take on the North American steaks . It  is hip and does have a social vibe. The decor features  several   elements  pertaining to the  neo rustic chic interior design, elements such as marble, wood, and stainless steel. Chandeliers and white ceramic tiles completing the decor.

I went there because not all steakhouses in NYC do offer great  bone-in rib eye steaks, my preferred cut for a steak. They do stellar Porterhouse steaks, at virtually all the great chop houses  in NYC. But rib eye steaks are either absent from their menus, or do come in meager size, and are rarely dry aged (it is pointless, for me, to splurge on wet aged meat, my palate oftently associating it with just a generic piece of steak).  On this particular occasion,  I was also looking for a steakhouse exempt from the usual  potential “”dry aged” or mixed  type of service (However great is the food, if the service has the potential to make me vomit, the food is worthless) . I heard that QM has fine  hospitality standards and that they  do  an excellent rib eye steak. I went  to find out.

My expectation was the usual expectation of any steak lover: I needed my steak to be a fully flavoured juicy slab of prime beef, exquisitely  seasoned, unleashing   a great deal of umami sensation in mouth. Did the steak meet that expectation? First, a description of the steak I did order:   a 24 oz. long-boned Black Angus Prime, dry-aged rib steak.  Aged for 40 days. My rib eye had a delicious seasoning, but it was cooked  past the requested medium rare doneness. A bit dry and tough here and there, as well. However, I will give them a second chance as this is a first rate restaurant that deserves a second chance. I surely will do that soon, with, next time, the choice of the porterhouse. I trust that this was an isolated slip as the local steakhouse experts have long praised the rib eye at QM. 5/10

Other items that I did sample here :

With my steak, I took the creamed spinach, which was tasty and   packed with enticing fresh spinach flavor. 8/10

The other side dish I did order was their popular crispy potatoes, which are blanched in duck fat, seasoned with garlic , thyme, and bay leaves and dressed at the last minute  with a hot sauce of butter seasoned with garlic , thyme, parsley, chives  and rosemary.  Great.  8/10

Bottom line: A classy restaurant. I hope I will be luckier with the steak the next time I will go back there. The sides are great.  The service, at the exception of a young lady with long straight black hair at the entrance (she seems to suffer from some serious attitude problem) was of world class mention. Definitely a place where I will return.

 

I don’t see why a flawlessly executed Pizza, Crème Brulée or any other easy-to-make food item that is perfectlty executed  would not deserve a 10/10.  It has to, when it’s flawless and it stands out.  It is NOT about whether perfection exists or not.  It is about what is  interpreted  as the bar (or not) of what has been achieved in oneself’s perception.     Furthermore, if you can talk about the good, it implies you know the bad, if you know what’s  a 0/10,  you should know what’s a 10/10.  As for rating a food item, my intent behind it is not to patronize, nor to put down anyone. My sole intent is to ‘convey’  a constructive evaluation of what I am eating at a restaurant.  ——— Aromes

All along my years of cooking practice,  I found important to enjoy two roles that are complementary and that all Chefs (and hopefully food critics , too)  would benefit from experiencing  :  sometimes cooking  in the kitchen,  sometimes enjoying your role as a diner.  As the diner, I spent years studying all kind of food rating systems (Michelin, Gault Millau,  methods used by food critics,  the ‘Good Food Guide’ and plenty others).  I came to the conclusion that, since food appreciation is anyways subjective,  the only rating that makes sense (to me) is what I think of what I am eating. I’ve adopted  a very simple rating system over 10 (ratings over 100 are a real joke as it essentially reveals how the person who tries to assess is afraid of …assessing. Seriously, why the need of a 96.2, 96.3, 96.9…lol. Do you really need to go through such extent to clearly segregate the good from the bad, the excellent from the very good? …there is really nothing credible about that  sort of rating)  since rating food does not need to be rocket science. Food is food, there’s no need for unnecessary intellectual complication,  and all that matters is what we think of what’s in our plates. The only thing you need to ensure is to be as accurate as possible and that can only be achieved by long years of educating your palate, knowing what you are talking about (never, never ever talk about food that you are not familiar with…that shows, as  food critics   complaining  about their food being  spicy … only to realize that  spiciness is the main feature of the cuisine he was covering..!), do lots of tasting with those in the know, learn from those in the  know before assessing food (a  common problem with  most food journalists and food critics) and of course, while you are at it, cook..cook..and cook, taste ..taste and taste ..so that you better understand the relevant  flavor combinations.

Rating food is a piece of cake when you are an ignorant who has no clue about assessing food, but an exercise that requires full concentration and lots of knowledge when you want to make it  seriously. Truth be told, when you look at how many food journalists in the west do assess food, you would think that it is not a serious exercise: they seem to know how to segregate  a benchmark western food item from an excellent, a very good, a good, an average and a below average one. But they can’t do the same with non western food. Which I gather is normal as they did educate their palate to adequately assess western food solely, but then…why do you assess non western food? I have to say, most food journalists in the western world did contribute to kill the credibility of food assessment, indeed.

 

That said, all food ratings will always be imperfect (though, this should NOT be  an excuse for the lame assessments of most of the food journalists of the west)  for a very simple reason:  while you are there reading what I’ve experienced, I was there eating.  The theory Vs practice clash is a first step of the imperfect nature of a review. You would have been eating what I was eating, at the same moment, and there could have been differences in both our interpretations of those same dishes.  So imagine what can be lost into the translation of it all.   I tried my best to  get  the rating numbers  as accurately representative of my overall impression of the food I eat.

Meals and food items at non-michelin starred ventures will be primarily scored in relation to their closest geographical competitors : for example, scores of a bistrot in Montreal should only be compared to scores of  an equivalent bistrot in Montreal and not to a fine dining destination in that same city nor to bistrots abroad.  If the score applies to comparative dining scene abroad, I’ll explicitly mention it.  Regarding Michelin star ventures, since it is a global standard, my scores encompasses cross continental comparisons : As an example, of a 2 star Michelin restaurant in Hongkong, I expect what I am used to at other equivalent 2 stars Michelin abroad. Whether I should not expect such comparison (of a 2 star Michelin standards in one place Vs the same at another location) — or not –is irrelevant to me since it (Michelin stardards) ‘s supposed to be a global standard in the first place.

Now, the details of my food rating:

Remember,  I am reviewing specific  dishes on a a given meal.  I am all about democratically  putting our rating systems to the test of popular criticism,  but given their subjective nature (whoever you are, the food item that you found spectacular is just that:  a food item YOU found spectacular)  I believe that it is a nonsense to go over and over the meaning of a given rating system.  It will always never be perfect anyways, however you compose it and whoever you are! Also:  I am rating the food only. The service is not rated but commented.  As for the ambience,  I am not going  to put this on the back of a restaurants:  diners  make  their own ambience!

There are two levels of ratings in my reviews: An overall rating as well as individual dish scores.

I. The overall  rating  – Overall food rating  HAS NOTHING TO DO with the arithmetic calculation
of the individual courses.  It is my personal subjective rating of the meal’s overall performance relatively to the highest standards I am used to at similar dining level/category.

10/10 (A meal that as a whole stood out — against the top standards I am used to find at the level of dining / cuisine category  in which the given restaurant is competing– example of categories, bistro/fine dining/poutine place/burger shop/sushi shop, etc — as a benchmark meal in all aspects: refined work of the texture, sublime work of the taste, outstanding technique.  AGAIN, THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE RESTAURANT CONSISTENTLY DELIVERS 10/10 MEALS. U MIGHT GO THERE AND IT IS A DIFFERENT COOK COOKING IT FOR YOU. COULD BE THE SAME COOK BUT HE IS NOT IN THE SAME MOOD, ETC — SO ALWAYS BEAR  THAT IN MIND . If that meal rivals with other places outside its geo location, I’ll explicitly mention it) ; 9/10 (An excellent overall meal against the standards I am accustomed to in its category  with flawless execution, excellent work of flavors and textures, excellent technique  but not a benchmark in comparison to what I have experienced at its level. If that meal rivals with other places outside its geo location, I’ll explicitly mention it. This is food of a meal that worths leaving the comfort of home for); 8/10 (A very good / great overall meal in relation to what I am accustomed to in its category   with great technique, great work of textures and flavors); 7/10 (A good, NOT great overall meal in relation to what I am accustomed to in its category. Although this is food of a meal that generally showcased potential to easily rise to higher levels);  6/10 (An overall just Ok meal  in relation to what I am accustomed to in its category. Without being particularly strong as an overall food performance, this is a meal that somehow managed to detach itself from the pack  with a slight edge either for being technically a bit more consistent than the standard in which it is competing, or for standing out in a particular aspect which detail will be explained in the review of that meal. Either way, it is not an impressive meal, not a severely weak one neither  );  5/10 (An overall average meal in relation to what I am accustomed to in its category , and clearly the entry point to what appeared to me as an overall  close-to dissapointing meal where technique/taste/texture  was generally lacklustre.);  4/10 (an overall below  average meal in relation to what I am accustomed to in its category.  A severely disappointing meal)

II.The rating of each dish – The following is how I rate each dish.  This dish per dish rating ‘s purpose being to try my best to convey my real personal appreciation of each of the sampled  dishes. I have been cooking for years and was lucky to be part of a family where many have cooking abilities that would put most top Chefs out there to shame, therefore it  is hard for me to go to a restaurant just for the excitement of discovering the next new eatery. While reading my reviews, you will need to remember that this is not a restaurant review website to try restaurants, not a traditional restaurant review web site at all, and that is the intent behind it . This is the result of long diligent searches about which restaurant might reach out to my personal expectations as a dining experience that I could perceive as  worthy of an effort  (to partake in) from my part.  It is like spending years finding that exact wine that really sounds to be the standing out  pick worthy of a try. As you might expect from such, you should not  find lots of bad scores on this web site (PS: do not get me wrong,  although a web site like this could make you think that I am picky or elitist, that is not the case at all. To the contrary, you might be surprised by how a simple fully-flavored juicy grilled lobster with a bottle of beer appeals to me way more than any of the best food items at those top world’s tables). Please find my dish per dish evaluation scale:

Exceptional (10/10) – Certain evaluators believe that a mark of 10 should be omitted, arguing that perfection
does not exist. I am against that way of thinking.  Unless all you do is to force your imagination  into refuting reality, perfect food item does exist (naturally, relatively to our respective personal expectations)!  If to your palate, a given meal reaches the top marks, you should be honest about it!  A 10 of my standards means a dish that reached, as far as I’m concerned, one of /or the three following conditions:  (1) a level of deliciousness — to my palate — that would be hard to improve upon (2) a   level of balance between  cooking technique  and   taste that is of the highest consideration (3) a level of creativity that is very unique and that  brings a lot to cooking evolution, but it really needs to be very tasty as well since my primary  focus is the pleasure of my palate after all.  A very creative dish with no taste will of course suffer from a poor rating, but I’ll insist on underlining its fortes. The quality of ingredients needs to also be superb on such dish.  Either way, a 10/10 is of benchmark material and also means the dish had sparks. A food item of the highest level of excitement (the excitement should  primarily be palatable, but it needs to be also technical:  for example, a superior  work of the textures, colors, temperatures, etc – Again,  dinings being variable by nature, I can only talk for what I had experienced at X given time.  Does not mean the same item will be cooked by the exact same persons, in the exact same mood when you will get to sample it). As a rule of thumb, if you see at least two 10/10 dishes in one of my reviews, consider the relevant restaurant as capable of true world class food relatively to what you will find in its category (regardless of what you will think of the other ratings of that review).

Excellent (9/10) -No benchmark material, but perfect (impeccable cooking technique, seasoning, mastery of the temperature, and superb taste) and inspired.  Quality of ingredient needs to be impeccable, too.

Very good (8/10 to 8.5) – Great (well cooked, tasty, technically superb). Quality of ingredient needs to be very high.  A food item of great  level of excitement.

Good (7/10 to 7.5 ) – Good.  A dish that remains   tasty,  the overall been well cooked, technique is  good (suitable cooking temperature as well  as a work of taste and flavors that are on point) too,  but that remains “standard / normal / safe/expected ” (although NOT ordinary at all) for the standard  of dining in which it is competing. A food item of good  level of excitement.

OK  (6/10 to 6.5/10) – A dish  with  a weak  level of excitement,  but still  acceptable to some extent.  Ordinary or close-to ordinary food item with regards to the comparative  standards I am accustomed to.

Average (5/10 to 5.5/10) –  Average,  forgettable with regards to the standards  of dining in which it is competing.

Below average (4/10) – And anything below is what I perceived as simply bad with regards to the standards  of dining in which it is competing.

****The overall rating,  is the rating that you will see at the top of my reviews of Michelin star  restaurants, at the bottom of all my Non-starred Michelin reviews.   As for my reviewed  Michelin starred meals, you will not fail to  notice that whereas there’s usually a big difference betwen a top 3 star Michelin table and  a top 2 Star Michelin (usually in the refinement of the texture and the ability to push complexity –either in flavor combination or in technique — further without failing), there are virtually none among the average  2 Vs 3 stars (for ie, a  good 2  star can be as good as most standard 3 stars, a very good 2 star as good as a good 3 star and you of course have 2 stars that are simply better than most 3 stars as this applies to any level of dining as well, naturally).  I try my best to avoid comparing apples to grapes, so you should not compare my ratings of a progressive kitchen like the Fat Duck (gave my 2009 meal at the FT, an overall score of 9/10), for ie, to my rating of a classic one like L’Ambroisie (a score of 10/10 for my 2011 meal at L’Ambroisie). Both are simply different and since they perform at a very high level of excellence in their respective genre,  it is important to understand that my overall rating of their meals is  not an   observation that one is better than the other (at such level, those folks have reached a level of perfection that’s hard to fault anyways) , but that one catered more to my personal likings.

***What about two dishes  with same ratings? How to know which was better, to me ? Indeed, of  two similarly-rated dishes, there’s still that possibility that one dish was better than the other, in my view.  Answer: just ask!

***To make it clear, whether it is a Michelin-star table, a laidback neighborhood table, food on the street, etc: food is food (whatever goodies, effects, sensation that is propelled around it is irrelevant to its core purpose: it needs to be stunning in mouth!) , so there is no discriminating-rating:  it’s exceptional, excellent, very good, good or bad!

***Last but not least:  read between the lines….when I use words like “divine food” that obviously means it’s about food that blew away my taste buds, as an ie.

In conclusion, here are what I value in a meal: the level of deliciousness / precision of the cooking/technicalities such as the proper temperature, cooking techniques/association between the elements/sparks in taste/ creativity, originality. Again, no creativity nor originality will be valued at the expense of taste! The quality and freshness of ingredients are of course very important, but you can have the best ingredients in hands and not knowing what to do with it…so it all lies in the talent of the Chef (in either transforming the product or in leading the product to express itself at its very best).

The restaurant world, as with most things in life, is of imperfect nature. It is meant, as you and I, to disappoint as many as it might rejoice.  It’s as frustrating for a diner to throw a lot of money on a deceiving dinner as it is stressful for a restaurateur to find his work being criticized. But such is the  nature of things:  when you pay for something, you do expect a return on your investment, nothing less but enjoyment in this case. Talking of impect nature,  even our best findings are condemned to sometimes let us down, which is why I won’t stop reminding  all of you that all I can guarantee is my  opinion   on the food that I a reviewing. The rest is completely out of my control.

No one will ever be in a position to recommend what’s  perfect for  you. But hopefully,  this can help.

Another article worth of reading: Learn to know your food reviewer.

Also:  My background as a diner -> http://tinyurl.com/8774sax

Bon appétit!