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Dec 9, 2009 07:30 AM

What do you think of Sam Sifton as a reviewer?

What do you think of Sam Sifton as a reviewer?

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  1. makes me miss bruni even more. sifton isnt bad by any means and im sure he'll come into his own but the restaurant choices that he's started with (mostly new incarnations of mediocre older restaurants) sort of bored me. his reviews seem pretty formulaic and his description of the food seems like it has to fit into a category...he leaves very little room for expression.

    1. I can't believe that he's been reviewing all these out of the way Asian places. That place in Brooklyn today looks awesome. And just the fact that he's reviewing a Korean place in the main review, and giving it a star, is pretty great. It's about time that these excellent places got some respect. I know he trolls around here looking for tips, so, if you're reading this, Sam, you're doing a great job.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Georgesimian

        Madangsui, the Korean restaurant reviewed today, is in Manhattan.

        I do appreciate the fact that Sifton is reviewing ethnic restaurants and obviously likes them. This isn't something new - Bruni reviewed Sripraphai, Spicy & Tasty, and Szechuan Gourmet and awarded them 2 stars each.

        Sifton's star scale for ethnic restaurants could be a problem. His review of Imperial Palace was really enthusiastic but he only awarded a single star. It's an open question as to whether he thinks an informal ethnic place serving great food is worth 2 stars.

      2. "But strip steak ($30) is leathery and dry, reminiscent of shoe. " Love. I am ALL about that Korean place the next time I'm in the city.

        1. Sam1, I sort of agree with you. Most people resist change simply because it's different. I think Sam will fill out his voice with time. He seems to try to capture the ambience of a place without describing it literally... which is interesting but seems to bother some people.

          I also think some of his review choices are strange, but you know... that may be part of his voice. I think they're doing fewer $25 and under choices, so we may end up seeing more of these outer borough and/or under the radar ethnic restaurants in the future.

          Has anyone else noticed the strange preponderance of Kissing in his reviews? This and his DBGB review (i think) likened eating a particular dish with kissing a stranger. And I have to say, kissing a stranger after eating kimchee usually doesn't end well!

          1. I really like his work so far. The problem I had with Bruni was that I couldn't always tell after reading one of his pieces, whether or not i wanted to eat at the restaurant. He would sometimes devote 3 paragraphs to something trivial (in my mind) like how dark the hallway was leading to the bathroom. I also started to feel like I didn't trust his palate when it came to Asian foods.

            Lastly, I think Bruni focused far too much on Western cuisines. I don't think that the Times food reviews represented true NYC food culture completely. I do think John Gold's work in LA is far more complete mostly because he seems to find great places at al price points and in all neighborhoods. I don't think any of us here would search Bruni reviews to find spectacular Korean food or Chinese. We might use his reviews to help us decide between EMP or Daniel, but as great as those places are, they do not represent anywhere near the breadth of culinary offerings here. (That's why so many of us use Chowhound!)

            Good to know he pokes around!

            1 Reply
            1. re: JeremyEG

              I thought his first review, DBGB right?, was an embaressment. I'm really pleased that since then he's already starting to show some real improvement. I miss Bruni just as much as most people do, but I think this guy may work out pretty well with some time.