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Apr 13, 2010 07:55 PM

Nello............really, Sifton? (moved from Manhattan board)

Almost every week, I am amazed at which restaurant,in this large city,has been chosen for the NYTimes' lead food critic to wax about. Nevermind that I do not think much of his ability.
No review of Nello(or many others, recently) is interesting or important from a food angle.
I understand that sometimes a bit of a scene is desired but it should be somewhere that has a semblance of decent food. There are only about 50 spots in a year. If there were a few hundred, maybe.

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  1. Don't see what the big deal is. Reminded me of Bruni's review of Cipriani a while back.

    Having passed by Nello several times and somewhat curious about it (also having heard of the owner's bigger-than-life personality), I actually enjoyed reading this review and learning more about it. The descriptions of the patrons were priceless.

    1. I think the review was serving an extremely useful purpose: To explain exactly what this restaurant, which does not post its prices at the door, is all about. You can argue with his style (which I happen to like), but critics are supposed to do just this kind of thing. For the money one spends at a single visit to Nello, several meals at vastly better restaurants can be had.

      1. I think the OP feels slighted by this review because Nello is a place that most readers will never even entertain the idea of going to. I must admit I skimmed the review right now (I read the Dining section on Wednesday night at home) to get the gist of it, so maybe I am missing something. Still, it seems like a place that most of us will never go to. I turn to the restaurant reviews in the NYT to gather information on places I may go to. This particular Sifton piece would have been better off as another type of reporting...just not a review.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ttoommyy

          But it functions as a review as well as a piece of (quite amusing) social reporting. I think it accurately portrayed what an outsider who happened to go to Nello's would experience there. There are of course many restaurants that are as much clubs catering to a certain crowd as restaurants in the city and this is one of them.

          1. re: ttoommyy

            Well said. Even though I rely on CH much more than the Times these days, it's always helpful to read a professional review. If the reviews are wasted on places no one really cares to know about, it doesn't leave much room for the ones that would be of interest, given that there is only one review a week. Unfortunately I also think Sifton is perhaps the worst reviewer in Times history, worse than Frank Bruni. The last one I recall being nearly this bad was John Canaday, but that was back before many of today's Times readers were even born. Not only does Sifton have odd likes and dislikes IMO, I find his writing style annoying and pretentious, and not focused enough on the food.

          2. Nello is a 'whatever' kind of place. It's there , serves food...whatever. It's a nondescript generic place that can be found anywhere. I see the OP's point there are many more interesting and unique restaurants in NYC.