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Feb 23, 2010 08:07 PM

Sifton is from another planet (Tanoreen gets one star...where exactly did he eat?)

I had to agree with Sifton's one-star of Motorino. Maybe not the best pizza in NYC, but damn good and deserving of one star because of it...and because of the absence of a significant number of dishes other than pizza.

But, ONE STAR FOR TANOREEN? You've got to be kidding. The place that defined a new view of Middle Eastern (or, should I say Palestinian) cuisine in NYC. Fresh ingredients, inventive preparation...and Rawia Bishara, the queen of the night! Am I alone in believing that Mr. Sifton misses the point by cheating Tanoreen out of a second star?

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  1. I love Tanoreen and think that it is absolutely amazing Middle Eastern food, well deserving of two stars, especially in the new airy space.

    I must say however, that I have found the entrees to be much weaker than the appetizers. After trying a variety of them, I found myself treating Tanoreen like a small plates restaurant and only ordering appetizers. Although I adore the lamb fetti. Still, they deserve two stars for the overall quality of the food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pookipichu

      Ditto. I go for the salads and am blown away. whenever I go for the entres...not so much.

    2. I can't for the life of me figure out how Sifton correlates his reviews with the star ratings. I agree with him and Pookipichu that the entrees are not as strong as the mezze. And Famdoc may be right about Tanoreen redefining Middle Eastern in NYC. (But I don't know if that means a two start rating is in order) I've been eating at Tanoreen for years and consequently my experience tells me that two stars would be a fair assessment of the overall experience. But how do you give one star to Purple Yam and one star to Tanoreen? For me, therein lies the mystery of Sam Sifton.

      1. Yes I agree it should be two stars. I don't think he hit all the highlights either.

        On the other hand I was upset to see it reviewed at all, so his under-rating it doesn't really upset me. It's crowded enough already.

        He seems to be using a more "Michelin" attitude about stars, one that I've always thought was based on the "class" of restaurant, therefore a local ethnic restaurant in the outer boroughs tops out at one star. Unfortunately I don't think the reading public agrees with that system so they think one star is a bad review. But again, that just means more fetti for me.

        6 Replies
        1. re: MRich

          Honestly I am just glad that he reviewed an "ethnic" restaurant. After Ruth Reichl's departure from the NYT dining section, I have been so sick of the Euro-centric, one note palates using their position to re-review French, American and Italian restaurants and the general condescension and ignorance toward other cuisines.

          Ugh, I just read the review and it parrots my above post, I guess I agree with Sifton, other than thinking the pickles are horrible and that based on the mezzes and that Tanoreen deserves two stars.

          1. re: Pookipichu

            and when NYT does do ethnic, it usually gets no greater than 1 star anyway.

            1. re: bigjeff

              Bruni gave Sripraphai 2 stars. He also gave 2 to Spicy & Tasty and Szechuan Gourmet.

              Honestly, there aren't dozens of undiscovered 2 star ethnic restaurants out there.

          2. re: MRich

            I think he is trying to develop some kind of strange "cosmopolitan" style, full of weird pop culture references, and that by definition an outer borough restaurant is not as metro-sexy as Manhattan.

            If this were an Adam Platt review, it would read "two stars for the food, minus one star for making me go all the way out to Bay ridge."

            1. re: chorosch

              Of course, there are plenty of us who don't hesitate to go to Bay Ridge, Flushing, Sunset Park or Staten Island to have a great meal. We don't need no stinkin' stars.

              1. re: famdoc

                End of the BYO policy is a loss, however.

          3. Its not just with Sifton...seems to me that I have read quite a few reviews of restaurants that seem far more complimentary and enthusiastic than would be indicated by the number of stars. I've seen 1 star reviews that seemed like they should have been 2 or more from the writing...and some that seem so bad that I don't know how they were able to give a star.