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Oct 24, 2010 05:28 AM

Laban gives Radice 3 bells???

As if the Phillies loss wasn't enough. I am starting to wonder about a reviewer who can give a place like this 3 bells and yet consistently gave Littlefish 2 bells (the same rating, btw, he gave a place in Bala Cynwyd that served inedible, gluey soup). I have been to Radice and, believe me, if it was anything near 3 bells I would have returned often since it is so convenient to where i live. I have to wonder what the man is thinking. Since I was totally stymied, I asked him once if he was more lenient with suburban restaurants. He denied that. Well, Craig, Radice is not a 3 bell restaurant unless things have drastically changed in the last few months. Certainly, the decor hasn't, as you mention it feeling like a deli.

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  1. Sounds to me like there is some thing more going on in this review. Comes to light recently that Labans "cover" has been officially blown or perhaps they are more familiar with each other than one would hope. In the past I could basically echo Labans reviews about 90% of the time. Well based on this review no way, no how! Was it special dishes and effort for a special person or perhaps he just happened to get lucky and select only wonderful dishes??? I understand that relative to great food I am the one more likely to mistake the true artistry of a chef than is Mr. Laban; but on this one review something is not quite right With his cover blown, all in the business know who he is, he should focus on other endeavors as he now can only judge what the establishment serves to the Inquirer food critic and reviewer. Which has little relationship to what it is you and I might be served. Right on JanR.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Bacchus101

      I know of one local restaurant, the Northbrook Marketplace, where they had a photo of Craig tacked up in the kitchen; just in case he showed up (which he did) they wanted the staff to be aware of his presence.

      1. re: CindyJ

        I've worked at several restaurants in Philadelphia that have his picture hanging in the kitchen, so you are spot on CindyJ. I think his cover is blown at this point...

        1. re: LPhila

          Philly Mag published this photo of LaBan a year or so ago, so it's not much of secret anymore. On the other hand, while a waiter can give him special attention if they know he's in the house, I doubt that they can change the food much.

          1. re: Cruz

            I agree. His being recognized can't account for the three bells.

            1. re: Cruz

              It depends on the food. They can't re-make something that takes hours to prep/marinate/whatever, but they can, for example if he orders a steak, pick the best steak they have on hand and make absolutely sure it's cooked to temperature before they send it out.

              1. re: Buckethead

                Agreed that the food can't really be changed. I've never been to Radice so if the food is that terrible, probably nothing they could have changed for him would have been truly significant, unless they knew well in advance he was coming. In my experience when he was in the house, the server had to make sure everything was perfect, chef touched every plate to make sure it looked good, was hot, and so forth... more care than one might get ordinarily. It's hard for me to imagine that alone could change, for example, a one bell meal to a three bell meal.

              2. re: Cruz

                Based on this photo, I'm thinking people have known what he looks like for some time now.

                A few years ago, my husband and I were eating at Marigold Kitchen, and when he left to use the bathroom, someone asked me if he was Craig LaBan. I asked him if he thought Craig LaBan would be drinking a $7 bottle of Cavit, and he had to admit I had a point. But with different glasses, my husband could pass for the guy in that photo, so perhaps LeBan wasn't as incognito as he thought....

              3. re: LPhila

                I wonder whether anyone has ever questioned Craig on the issue of his anonymity in his weekly online Inquirer chats.

            2. re: Bacchus101

              I thought he goes to restaurants in disguise now? Or maybe that was just a joke.

            3. Unless something has changed since the two times I ate at Radice, this is a 1.5 bell restaurant.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RitterSportRules

                Yes that is about where I would rate it based on my visits. Interesting to find that some here believe a good chef could not enhance the food or that they would not do so when a Metro wide review is at hand which may make them or break them. Without a skilled chef and good ingredients to start, just knowing one is being evaluated would not alone enable a 3 star rating. I am sure Mr. Leban enjoyed the high quality food and good service he tagged as 3 Bells.

              2. I thought it was strange that he really didn't talk about the service, which he usually always mentions.

                1. This should not come as a huge surprise. He has his darlings.

                  1. I had two 3 bell meals at Radice. I would highly recommend it. I'll give you the uninspired decor but respectfully disagree on less than 2 bells.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Den

                      Would you expand on your comments - let us know what you had and why they were 3 bell meals?