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Jun 9, 2008 06:23 AM

Radius: Beard-worthy?

I see that Patrick Connolly, chef de cuisine at Radius, just got the James Beard award for Best Chef, Northeast. I know he was at the helm the last time I reported on dinner there nearly two years ago, a meal that was dreadful enough that I haven't had a full dinner there since: .

Congrats to Patrick on his award, but has anyone had a meal there recently that justified a $200-250/couple price tag, or made you think, "This guy's the best fine-dining chef in New England"?

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  1. Another example of what PR and connections will do for you. I would pick Orfaly or Leviton over this guy any day, hands down. Those two guys from Maine were more deserving also. Completely befuddling...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Wursthof

      <Completely befuddling>

      Or, perhaps, "befoodling"? ;)

    2. Didn't impress me, went once for dinner and then for lunch, I just don't understand.

      1 Reply
      1. re: treb

        I have mixed feelings, but at times (within the last year) I have found the food really superb. Guess I especially like what they do with appetizers.

      2. The James Beard Foundation and its awards don't have the same cachet among chefs and restaurateurs that they once had. But the rules to win are 1) be a female chef/owner with some talent: Ana Sortun; 2) be a male chef/owner willing to schmooze committee members like Michael Ginor and devote large sums of money to the foundation: Ken Oringer; 3) be a male or female chef de cuisine in a previous award winner's chef-owned restaurant: Patrick Connolly, Susan Regis. Not that any of those chefs didn't deserve to win, but they all fit the description.

        5 Replies
        1. re: almansa

          your "rules" are broad enough to include plenty of contestants. my own take is all the awards are a kind of class distinction: upper class, well-funded, media-savvy chefs clearly have the edge over working-class, self-directed chefs. ever since it became trendy to "have" a restaurant and get a degree from a culinary institute, the kids with money and backing have edged out the kids who came up through kitchens and on the job training. The board could have its own chef of the year contest: maybe for chefs cooking meals for under $50.00 a person and for chefs cooking meals or over $50.00 a person.

          1. re: teezeetoo

            I think it's worthy. It's still some of the best cooking around, IMHO. MC, maybe your bad night was a fluke?

            1. re: wittlejosh

              Could be, though I had an impression formed through a couple of dozen dinners and lunches over the years that the place wasn't the same as its early days, when Schlow actually cooked there. But admittedly, it's still a small sample size.

              1. re: Northstar22

                I don't think so - a fair point to raise I think. The guy wins the award for best chef in the northeast at a restaurant that has had some poorer reviews of late and rarely comes up often as people's number one recommendation in Boston, never mind the northeast.
                It's also an interesting discussion as I had a truly memorable meal there 7 years ago, a few times since, but haven't been in a while, so I wonder if it's still worth my $ with other places to try.

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  I tried the Radius burger after it won top prize at the South Beach food and wine festival. The meat was excessively dense. It tasted off-putting and bitter from the burnt onions and horseradish. Considering the price, I was disappointed to be served a brick in a bun.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. This is the most politic award given to chefs ever. Patrick Connolly- Best Chef in North East (covering NY state, not NYC, VT, MA, ME, NH, CT and RI ) ? Are you freaking kidding me? David Chang won Best Chef of NYC over Terrance Brennan who own Artisanal and others. David Chang won best young chef last year over Patrick Connelly. This year, he won best of NYC? There are much better chef in NYC than a guy who own a fancy Wagamama. Now, look back at previous years' winners. It took them years of nomination to be eventually crowned best of the NE. Look at how many time Sortun, Oringer, Frank McCallen, Jody Adam and etc were nominated.

              This kid does not even own his own restaurant. Look at how many year Mike Leviton, two chefs of Arrows or Orfaly (not my favorite restaurant ever in Boston) have been working in the restaurants. Leviton worked for Daniel (one of the guy Daniel speak highly), Le Bernadin, and etc. While Arrows was voted at 14 on top 50 best restaurant in the country. This guy was norminated the first time and won. He was never won the best young chef by Food & Wine Magazine like Leviton, Ofaly or as previous winner did.

              It's such a politic award. Very stupid, really is. What a shame!

              Congrat to Patrick Connolly, and wish him best of luck then......lucky man

              2 Replies
              1. re: pookandhouse

                The people at the beard house do not nominate the chefs. Any chef can get nominated. They just need to have all their friends nominate him or her and get the most amount of nominee votes. You can find the nominee application on line.