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Hey, Where's our Team Spirit? Ribelle Gets FOUR STARS!!****

opinionatedchef Oct 24, 2013 01:32 PM

I'm so psyched for Tim Maslow, the dude with focus, stamina and creativity to beat the band!

The Boston Globe's Devra First last gave 4 stars in 2010, to Menton, so it's a particular pleasure for me to see a bistro chosen for this high accolade.Aside from whatever criticism you might throw at the review, isn't it great that a CH fav has rcvd this recognition, and that it comes from our very own (local)Devra First?

http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/...

2 most recent Ribelle CH threads:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/913003

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/920402

< Gimme an 'R' .......! >

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  1. Infomaniac RE: opinionatedchef Oct 24, 2013 01:43 PM

    Have you even visited Ribelle yet?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Infomaniac
      t
      teezeetoo RE: Infomaniac Oct 27, 2013 08:36 AM

      Ok, by weird chance (we never go out on Saturday night if we can help it) we snagged two seats at the bar. We were passing and popped our heads in and the hostess said she had two seats at the bar and we felt it was destiny. We had a rocky first experience but, as Strip-T's fans, definitely wanted to give it another go. Massive improvement over our August visit. We had superb drinks, the best mushroom dish we've had all year, the vegetables in both my cod dish (spinach and peanut something or other that was sumptuous) and spouses' pork chop were perfectly executed and the check, for our meals, drinks, a glass of wine each, came in at about $120.00. Yes, its still too noisy though oddly less noisy at the bar than on the floor, but this time each plate hit its mark, the service was just fine, and we can't wait to try more vegetables. Stepping up and into its zone, I think, which is going to be worth visiting.

      1. re: teezeetoo
        k
        Klunco RE: teezeetoo Oct 27, 2013 04:25 PM

        Thanks for the report. I'm glad to hear this, especially knowing that our tastes overlap.

        Call me old-fashioned, but I always wait at least three months for a new restaurant to get its rhythm before trying it out. I've been following this thread and looking forward to reading a post like this. I'm definitely forewarned of the noise and somewhat prepared (I'm thinking we may shoot for the bar for our first visit).

        1. re: Klunco
          t
          teezeetoo RE: Klunco Oct 28, 2013 12:59 PM

          I'll be very interested to hear your take, Klunco. I was so glad to be able to report a positive experience since I was so bummed by my first try. Wishing them the best and hoping they keep the sense of enjoyment that made Strip-T's so appealing along with its food.

    2. c
      cambridgedoctpr RE: opinionatedchef Oct 24, 2013 02:17 PM

      i have and i thought that the food was great though other posters have commented on the noise level.

      2 Replies
      1. re: cambridgedoctpr
        t
        teezeetoo RE: cambridgedoctpr Oct 24, 2013 03:57 PM

        not sure this is a great thing because I think a lot of folks are going to find it is not their concept of 4 star - we've already talked about the noise and the various service errors that are not worked out, the fact that the room is crowded and not particularly comfortable, and that they are still in the "sometimes it's a homerun, sometimes it just turns foul" stage of working through their menu. It may be old-fashioned, but for a restaurant to have 4 stars to me it pretty much has to be perfect at what it does. I've only been twice, I loved the pasta and actively disliked the treatment of the sweetbreads, and it was not, on any level from the food to the service, 4 star. Creative? Yup.. Likely to get better? Undoubtedly. L'Espalier? Not. And Devra gave Menton 4 stars which it didn't deserve either.

        1. re: teezeetoo
          c
          cambridgedoctpr RE: teezeetoo Oct 24, 2013 05:41 PM

          i was very impressed by the food; less impressed by the rest of the restaurant.

      2. g
        Gabatta RE: opinionatedchef Oct 24, 2013 04:00 PM

        Does 4 stars from the Globe really mean anything? We're not talking the Times here.

        1. l
          LeoLioness RE: opinionatedchef Oct 24, 2013 04:22 PM

          I can't say that the local media validating my restaurant choices matters all that much to me.

          2 Replies
          1. re: LeoLioness
            k
            kewpie RE: LeoLioness Oct 24, 2013 05:46 PM

            i agree with LeoLioness& Gabatta.- but i have been to Ribelle 4x now( 3x with a party of 8)& have enjoyed ourselves-- altho we were( prob )the ones contributing to the high noise level.

            1. re: kewpie
              k
              kewpie RE: kewpie Nov 2, 2013 06:32 PM

              we had another fairly good dinner there last night, party of 4. we had aglonotti that was just much too sweet and the Bolognese wasnt up to speed. thats when we reached our conclusion. it just wasnt ' better' than strip ts( not that it was to be') but equally as good but with much higher expectations.
              That said, we all( same party of 4) had lunch at strip ts today--------------- as delicious as ever. and we live 2 miles away.
              if only theresa paopao was in watertown!

          2. Luther RE: opinionatedchef Oct 24, 2013 07:35 PM

            It's more than a stretch to describe this fairly new restaurant as "a CH fav". Gimme a break.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Luther
              t
              treb RE: Luther Oct 25, 2013 07:31 AM

              But it's from the CH authority.

              1. re: treb
                MC Slim JB RE: treb Oct 25, 2013 07:55 AM

                "CH authority." That kinda reminds me of "jumbo shrimp" or "plastic silverware".

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                1. re: MC Slim JB
                  opinionatedchef RE: MC Slim JB Oct 26, 2013 12:55 PM

                  <That kinda reminds me of "jumbo shrimp" or "plastic silverware">
                  or "CH Team Spirit". What WAS I thinking???

                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                    MC Slim JB RE: opinionatedchef Oct 26, 2013 01:09 PM

                    I'm all for solidarity among Chowhounds in the generalized relentless pursuit of good food and drink, high and low, whether unfairly overlooked or already appreciated by a wider audience. I'm totally on board with that kind of team spirit.

                    I try to avoid the spongier ground of anointing any specific place "a board favorite". Even if it is true that a place has a lot of vocal fans here, this tends to marginalize dissenters and support a narrative I dislike that there's an overarching gang or herd mentality here.

                    (Incidentally, I really like Ribelle, despite the noise. My review in the Improper coming Nov 1.)

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                    1. re: MC Slim JB
                      opinionatedchef RE: MC Slim JB Oct 26, 2013 03:54 PM

                      slim, one of your positive attributes is that you are usually The Voice of Reason in an often vituperous crowd, but as regards:
                      <... this tends to marginalize dissenters and support a narrative I dislike that there's an overarching gang or herd mentality here>
                      I find CH dissenters a very tough skinned bunch. In fact, i doubt they would ever allow themselve to feel marginalized. And , as to a CH herd mentality, I am equally unsure that that has ever existed. No worries; soooo many colors on the CH bus.

                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                        MC Slim JB RE: opinionatedchef Oct 26, 2013 04:18 PM

                        I've heard the complaint often enough to be wary of it, and wary of reinforcing it.

                        There are a couple of valuable former regulars we don't see around anymore, and I think in part it's because they felt this way.

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                          enhF94 RE: MC Slim JB Oct 27, 2013 05:20 AM

                          Certainly I post less frequently, less gushingly, and more defensively, than I did in, say, 2006.

                          To their credit, however, the one or two bombastic regulars who really grind my gears _have_ learned, through feedback from posters and mods, to write somewhat more tactfully. I respect them for this.

                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                            PinchOfSalt RE: MC Slim JB Nov 6, 2013 05:47 AM

                            Speaking only for myself, even though I doubt I ever attained the status of "regular", I certainly post here less frequently than I used to. I enjoy sharing a good tip and helping people with questions. I don't enjoy being told The Truth or to getting involved in or even listening to (frequently unresolvable) debates among Those Who Know. So, it seems to me that Slim has a very good point.

              2. MC Slim JB RE: opinionatedchef Oct 24, 2013 08:02 PM

                There's some lovely prose in there. I'm glad she likes it. It does echo some earlier CH observations and sentiments.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                1. hotoynoodle RE: opinionatedchef Oct 24, 2013 08:42 PM

                  i once worked for a james beard award winning chef who was reduced to day-long (and then some) tears when a former protege/friendly rival got 4 stars and she had only gotten 3.5.

                  the noise at ribelle utterly polluted my meal and i will not go back on my own dime. the trend for harder surfaces/ MORE LOUD is detrimentally impacting high-end dining.

                  a 4-star review should mean perfect.

                  this is not that.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                    Luther RE: hotoynoodle Oct 25, 2013 03:20 AM

                    The food reviews in the Globe (along with those of about 99% of publications) are basically a joke. 4 stars in the NYTimes means perfect, elsewhere it's just kind of whatever.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                      MC Slim JB RE: hotoynoodle Oct 25, 2013 06:57 AM

                      I hate star ratings for a lot of reasons.

                      Ribelle's shakedown cruise was not a smooth one; it reminded me that this is really Maslow's first startup venture. I had planned to review it for the Improper a month earlier, but I pushed it back waiting for them to iron out the kinks. I hate too-early reviews (everyone wants to show they got there first): what is the value in saying "Rocky, but promising" when you won't get a chance to re-review once the place has settled down?

                      It's smooth sailing now, but it's true that the place is deafening, a really lamentable trend. I think the noise is tolerable if you sit at the bar.

                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                    2. Boston_Otter RE: opinionatedchef Oct 25, 2013 05:24 AM

                      One of the oddest and more fascinating reviews I've read in a long time. She describes some lovely sounding food; nothing sounds transcendent, though she does describe the lamb tatare as "dish of the year" and says that everything is "perfectly seasoned". Then she goes on to say that the place is so loud that you should be "prepared to yell", so hot inside that her food got too warm when she just lingered over it, wine was served above temperature, and several dishes weren't very good. And yet, she gives it the highest possible rating she can.

                      I dunno, Devra, you didn't describe a four-star restaurant that I'd want to go to.

                      1. enhF94 RE: opinionatedchef Oct 25, 2013 05:37 AM

                        I am uninvested in boosterism or thinking of Chowhound as a team. I'm just here for the food.

                        1. hotoynoodle RE: opinionatedchef Oct 25, 2013 06:03 AM

                          this reminds me of the 2009 re-review of no. 9 park, which also received 4 stars, but with plenty of quibbles from first.

                          the star system in the globe is meaningless.

                          1. t
                            Torolover RE: opinionatedchef Oct 26, 2013 05:17 AM

                            Funny how we were just talking about great Ribelle could be, even though it needed to iron out its kinks, and now it gets a perfect 4 star review! I went again after the Globe review and tried about 8 dishes. I still feel the same as I did in my last post. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/920402

                            Some of the dishes were spectacular, but 2 or 3 were just OK. For a 4 star restaurant, people now are expecting EVERY dish to be a 9 or 10, not having some dishes just a 7.

                            Devra pointed out some flaws, and I hope that encourages them to get rid of the dishes that don't work and keep pushing the ones that do. I also hope the 4 star review doesn't get to their heads and they decide to push the prices up.

                            I'm a big fan, and hoping for the best.

                            14 Replies
                            1. re: Torolover
                              hotoynoodle RE: Torolover Oct 26, 2013 07:30 AM

                              price creep is pretty common in restaurants with serious aspirations.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle
                                MC Slim JB RE: hotoynoodle Oct 26, 2013 09:12 AM

                                Also not unusual at places that style themselves as relatively modest and straightforward, if the chef has enough accolades (and maybe food TV celebrity). Been to The Butcher Shop lately? $82 for the "grande charcuterie" plate. Neighborhood-y!

                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                1. re: MC Slim JB
                                  t
                                  treb RE: MC Slim JB Oct 26, 2013 09:22 AM

                                  Lynch-y!

                                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                                    t
                                    Torolover RE: MC Slim JB Oct 26, 2013 11:32 AM

                                    C'mon guys you need to check prices more carefully. Butcher Shop and Sportello have almost identical appetizer prices and pasta prices as Ribelle!!

                                    Ribelle is NOT in Boston, and shouldn't be the same price as Lynch with all her accolades!

                                    .

                                    1. re: Torolover
                                      MC Slim JB RE: Torolover Oct 26, 2013 11:41 AM

                                      I'm not comparing prices among restaurants; I was just making an observation about the price creep phenomenon.

                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                      1. re: Torolover
                                        hotoynoodle RE: Torolover Oct 26, 2013 01:02 PM

                                        sportello is for the average joe wanting a shot and a beer, yeah?

                                        i haven't darkened the door of any lynch places since my debacle at b&g. never again.

                                        the noise was such at ribelle that i CANNOT enjoy dining there. ever. at that price point, it should not sound like i am inside a roller coaster.

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                                          MC Slim JB RE: hotoynoodle Oct 26, 2013 11:22 PM

                                          Actually, the "construction workers can come have a beer and a shot" marketing fantasy / cynical BS was Lynch talking about Drink, not Sportello, but same diff.

                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                                            g
                                            Gabatta RE: MC Slim JB Oct 27, 2013 04:02 AM

                                            That is an all time classic. FWIW, I think Sportello is much more accessible than Dink.

                                            1. re: Gabatta
                                              Beachowolfe RE: Gabatta Oct 27, 2013 08:23 AM

                                              I hope that was on purpose

                                        2. re: Torolover
                                          c
                                          cambridgedoctpr RE: Torolover Oct 26, 2013 05:57 PM

                                          I thought that the food at ribelle was better than at any Lynch place. Of course, that is just my opinion.

                                          I found the noise annoying but not the prices, but then again, I eat out a lot in New York.

                                          1. re: Torolover
                                            b
                                            bostonfoodz RE: Torolover Oct 27, 2013 05:56 AM

                                            in response to toro lover.

                                            is that seriously your response?!? tim mas can't price his food similarly to b. lynch because he doesn't have as many accolades?

                                            I haven't been wowed by b. lynch in years... have not been to menton. that isn't to say her food isn't respectable. but Maslow is using interesting, new, creative ingredients and he should charge whatever is necessary to make a profit.

                                            not for nothing, the rents in Brookline are likely similar to south end and likely higher than fort point.

                                            1. re: bostonfoodz
                                              t
                                              Torolover RE: bostonfoodz Oct 27, 2013 02:22 PM

                                              In response to Bostonfoodz,

                                              First of all South End rents are much higher then Brookline, so I feel we should already be getting a slight discount eating in Brookline.

                                              Just because Tim's food is better, doesn't mean he should charge more then Lynch's restaurants. Lynch has a big name in Boston, and a lot of people(not me) are willing to pay a premium for her name, not necessarily for the quality of food. Price is determined what the market will bear.

                                              This is true with all established "celebrity" chefs. People go and pay a premium to eat at Ming Tsai's restaurant too. I don't think Tim has that name power yet, especially in Brookline.

                                              I don't go to Lynch's restaurants, not because they are bad, but I prefer the food AND value of Toro, Strip Ts, Salts, Bondir, etc..

                                              I'm hoping Ribelle can be one of these that offer great food and value, and doesn't turn into a "Lynch"

                                              1. re: Torolover
                                                c
                                                cambridgedoctpr RE: Torolover Oct 27, 2013 04:39 PM

                                                it is the law of supply and demand; it all depends on the market. when i ate there, i thought that i was getting good value; i have no hesitation about going back.

                                                i personally find the lynch restaurants do not wow me, and the prices are not that low. So i agree in my case though clearly her restaurants are not empty so plenty of people must find them a good value.

                                        3. re: hotoynoodle
                                          k
                                          Klunco RE: hotoynoodle Oct 27, 2013 04:21 PM

                                          I've definitely noticed price creep at Strip-T's over the past couple of years.

                                      2. opinionatedchef RE: opinionatedchef Oct 27, 2013 12:10 PM

                                        just to clarify, my use of 'CH fav' was re the chef. Spending just a few minutes with the 200+ posts Strip T's thread(s) was the basis for the 'fav' word. Sometimes someone gets an Oscar for 'the wrong movie' but some fans are nevertheless happy that that person DID get an Oscar, a vote of confidence from their peers.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                                          MC Slim JB RE: opinionatedchef Oct 27, 2013 12:33 PM

                                          I'd say it's true that Maslow is much admired in the industry. I've spotted industry folks dining at Strip-T's and at Ribelle pretty much every time I've dined at either.

                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                        2. v
                                          valcfield RE: opinionatedchef Oct 28, 2013 12:31 PM

                                          Some scattered, incredibly long (apologies) thoughts on ribelle’s 4 star review and my own experiences there. Read at your own peril :)

                                          1. totally agree on the noise front. i will say (having been three times in the last 4-5 weeks) that the dining room always, for now, cleared out early- we started around 8pm (a sunday, a thursday, a friday) and even on the friday the place was clearing out by midmeal, and the noise level had become more than tolerable. so for those saying they would *never* go somewhere so noisy, or go back, if you want to try the food, you might go on the later end.

                                          2. speaking of late night, tried the meatball pizza the other night, and it was quite good. a bit crunchy as opposed to chewy crisp, but given the set up i was suitably impressed. also i just like their meatballs (i'm assuming its the same ones as the scarlet turnip dish on the regular menu), so that was a win.

                                          3. i'm happy for them getting 4 stars, a couple thoughts in particular on that topic:

                                          a. i think its a fine thing to say 4 star reviews should only be for fine dining; i think its also perfectly fine to say 4 stars should mean that a place is at the top of the game for the concept it is aiming for: eg, in reviewing shake shack, and il buco, i'm pretty sure Pete Wells similarly said that, in theory, the paradigmatic sandwich/burger/etc. type place could get four stars.

                                          I do not think, however, it is particularly enlightening to say something akin to “ribelle shouldn’t get four stars because its not fine dining,” because that seems (to me) to misconstrue what the review was trying to say.

                                          The more interesting discussions is whether ribelle is in fact a full success for what its aiming for. Or, perhaps, a meta discussion on whether stars ought to be thought of this way, but that’s probably for a different topic/board.

                                          b. I think people are mistaken if they think a four star review could ever mean a restaurant should be ‘perfect’ or even ‘near perfect.’ Even the nyt describes four stars as ‘extraordinary’ and michelin’s three stars as “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.” I find the latter especially compelling, because I think my best meals are about the qualitative experience; not a quantitative, mechanical application of whether or not there were errors, or certain boxes were all checked, or every dish was ‘perfect.’ Such a standard is one any restaurant will fail, and I also think it is a mindset that is looking to complain about why something was bad as opposed to one looking to enjoy their experience. Such a mechanical application would also be anathema to restaurants taking risks on their style of food or service, which would be a real shame.

                                          c. I do feel a bit sorry for them as this is, as others have noted, a double-edged sword: staff no longer has to worry about the review, but many people will come in with much higher expectations. Hopefully, fair or not, that will only drive staff to all continue to up their game.

                                          4. my actual times at ribelle: I went for the first time 4-5 weeks ago, so I can’t talk to how it started, or how it has evolved. I had a very good experience with the food (each time, I’d say service was fine, friendly, but more ‘solid’ than ‘exemplary’). I am easily willing to say that Tim puts out four star food, and there was enough on the menu that I wanted to go back quickly, and I have, twice, since. I have not had a single dish I would describe as ‘foul’, only good to better; the green beans with veal tongue, and multiple renditions of gnocchi, were exceptional. Both the tongue and his tripe converted a number of non-offal eaters at the table.

                                          In three visits, and (counting in my head) a little over 15 unique dishes (ie not repeats, so. Many. Garlic knots.) there was only 1 that polarized our group: the chicken wing/polenta dish with seriously smoky/charred(?) chicken wings. I vibed the flavor, I def get why many didn’t. that said, for us,

                                          I think that my biggest qualm was that some dishes were not well designed to share, based on size/construction (thinking porcini and duck breast dish), but that is a side effect of the movement towards all share plates; a movement I’m a fan of, but think that, as a whole, restaurants need to figure out how to have better descriptions/explanations of portions. The one virtue of the three course meal was an understanding of roughly how much food you’d get.

                                          Ultimately, however, 1/17 misses hardly makes it a ‘hit or miss’ place in my mind, as it has been described here. for my own eating preferences, i like to find places that i can go to regularly and get to know people, but have enough turnover, and good results, that there will be a lot of new food to try. that's a very different standard from say, how i look at where i might send a friend visiting boston for the first time. the throughput of good, creative dishes on ribelle's menu makes it one of the most compelling restaurants for me in Boston right now.

                                          20 Replies
                                          1. re: valcfield
                                            m
                                            Madrid RE: valcfield Oct 28, 2013 12:54 PM

                                            thank you. great review and reasoning. glad you enjoyed your meals there!

                                            1. re: valcfield
                                              opinionatedchef RE: valcfield Oct 28, 2013 02:46 PM

                                              what a well thought out and articulate piece of writing. You have certainly cut to the heart of the matter, and given people alot to consider about their own dining and reviewing styles.

                                              if Ribelle were ever to do PR ( which i think must be a 'Never' thought for Tim) your last paragraph would be so perfect, placed next to the menu in a side window. Chapeaux .

                                              1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                g
                                                Gabatta RE: opinionatedchef Oct 29, 2013 01:06 PM

                                                Actually Ribelle does indeed use PR. Their PR person had been posting on these boards before and around the opening. They did not initially identify themself as PR, but eventually fessed up as the posts were obvious.

                                                (Keep deleting it mods, and I'll keep reposting)

                                                1. re: Gabatta
                                                  opinionatedchef RE: Gabatta Oct 29, 2013 09:02 PM

                                                  wow gab, i really am shocked. i'm even thinking to myself that maybe tim knew nothing about that (and that maybe he delegates certain areas and just doesn't get involved w/ them.) I keep remembering his father telling someone that his son never reads the media about Strip T's but that he , Paul,checks them all the time...

                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                    MC Slim JB RE: opinionatedchef Oct 30, 2013 05:57 AM

                                                    All industry PR people are not the same. Many are ethical professionals who look for clever ways to highlight the strengths of their team, concept, and food in a fundamentally honest way. There's a much smaller minority of sleazeballs who pull Kyle Melrose tactics (Google it). And there's a lot of people who are just inexperienced -- it's an industry with a lot of turnover -- and so don't have a clear understanding of what's not kosher, like shilling message boards while posing as a consumer. Not sure where Ribelle's firm falls under this -- I keep my distance from the industry PR apparatus -- but clearly someone learned a lesson about Chowhound.

                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                      hotoynoodle RE: opinionatedchef Oct 30, 2013 07:41 AM

                                                      lol, sorry, but do you really believe that? i have worked for numerous chefs and owners and they ALL read everything about themselves and their properties -- from opentable reviews to the globe.

                                                      not everybody has the budget to hire george regan and there are many bumblers in pr. ya get what ya pay for.

                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                        t
                                                        teezeetoo RE: hotoynoodle Oct 30, 2013 08:47 AM

                                                        this unfortunate tendency to romanticize or demonize chefs is all pr driven. People who repeat gossip and share "insider" tips about chefs are, in effect, shilling just like paid pr folks, whether they are aware of it or not. If the food is great and the experience fun, tell us about it. If it is disappointing, crappy and overhyped, tell us about that. Personal insight into the "character" of someone who cooks my food is usually about the narcissism of the writer and rarely about the chef. I enjoy Strip-T's and really liked my second dinner at Ribelle's. Maslow's purported PR "innocence" is irrelevant to that experience.

                                                        1. re: teezeetoo
                                                          MC Slim JB RE: teezeetoo Oct 30, 2013 08:55 AM

                                                          How often do chefs' personalities and other gossipy stuff like that get discussed here? I mean, aside from the criminality of Todd English, which is really about his actions, not his personality, and something his PR people spend a lot of time trying to distract the world from, not promote?

                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                            t
                                                            teezeetoo RE: MC Slim JB Oct 30, 2013 02:23 PM

                                                            I can recall lots of namedropping, tony maw "hate", syrupy affection for Maslow, disdain for Ming Tsai, various chirpy yays for good bartenders, various comments on surly ones, and a generally tedious sense that there are posters who are "groupies". I can't count the numbers. I love hearing about good food and certainly respect insider information that relates to the direction and quality of the restaurants. I didn't much like it when the Celtics caved in and added cheerleaders and I find it kind of creepy here.

                                                            1. re: teezeetoo
                                                              v
                                                              valcfield RE: teezeetoo Oct 30, 2013 02:43 PM

                                                              I certainly feel you in the sense that when you feel like opinions towards a chef- positive or negative- are affecting the content/judgment of the food, it can be frustrating when you are trying to gather information.

                                                              On the other hand, intentional or not from the poster's side, I do find it interesting to hear a community's reaction, positive or negative, to a chef because, given a glut of restaurants i always want to try, if all other things sound like they are equal, i'd rather go and support the person that sounds like they are reputable/hard working/pleasant as opposed to the person who's gotten a rep for abusing their staff. granted, when you start looking at that, you open yourselves to much more subjective impressions, but i still find those opinions have some utility regarding where i want to eat, and i'd rather slog through posts i think might be biased, and glean what i can, then have people feel like that sort of discussion is worthless/inappropriate. but i may just have a lot of free time...

                                                              1. re: valcfield
                                                                t
                                                                teezeetoo RE: valcfield Oct 30, 2013 03:34 PM

                                                                so are you depending on your editorial eye to determine what's believable? who has a grudge? who has an interest? OC is shocked that Mazlow has a pr person and follows reviewers. She's been told he's above all that. Gabatta claims the pr posts on Ribelle were everywhere and were pulled from CH. Good luck with sorting out the info. Much rather know how the menu at Ribelle is progressing (good, I think). If you have personal experience (for example, years ago Chris Schlesinger catered my daughter's wedding and he and has staff were a delight to work with and the food was divine), share it. But all that "I was told, I heard...." is just self-puffery and buying into an annoyingly prevalent celebrity culture. That's my opinion, of course, and no more important than anyone elses.

                                                                1. re: teezeetoo
                                                                  v
                                                                  valcfield RE: teezeetoo Oct 30, 2013 03:43 PM

                                                                  yes, the opinions are much harder to parse, and i completely agree that its *far* more useful to read posts about the menu and its strength.

                                                                  individual posts and back and forth in one thread probably won't shed much light, as you rightly point out. but i like to think that, over time, if you start to see the same sorts of complaints, or praise, build from multiple sources, then you can start to build more of a reliable consensus.

                                                                  as an analogy- i can drive myself nuts reading individual yelp reviews, and the things they praise/deride, but ultimately, if i'm looking at two similar style restaurants, and find out one has a 2 star rating, and the other 4, i'd be pretty comfortable in betting some money that the 4 star place is better, which means that information does possess some value for me, even if i'd rather be relying on more solid reports from people with preferences i understand/appreciate.

                                                                  1. re: teezeetoo
                                                                    opinionatedchef RE: teezeetoo Oct 30, 2013 06:05 PM

                                                                    tz, correction:
                                                                    <She's been told he's above all that. >
                                                                    I was never told that. I was simply told that he doesn't read the media. WHY i do not know.* I have a major problem with assumptions >>they cause so many miscommunications.

                                                                    * I would guess, but it is only a guess, that (if true ) he doesn't read the media about his restaurants because he doesn't want to be distracted from his culinary focus. He may also think that he has other staff assigned to that area, and he leaves them to deal with it and/or bring things to his attention when appropriate.

                                                                2. re: teezeetoo
                                                                  MC Slim JB RE: teezeetoo Oct 30, 2013 03:43 PM

                                                                  I think most Hounds express disdain or enthusiasm for a chef in spite of his or her personality rather than because of it. I don't think Tsai's cooking is all that world-beating, but he's clearly a genial guy and a hard-working front-of-the-house glad-hander. The latter doesn't really influence my opinion of his food. I think we are all aware of the alleged unpleasant personalities of some chefs, but I don't have to hang out with them, so that doesn't influence me, at least up until the point that they start insulting their customers via social media.

                                                                  True front-of-the-house players like bartenders are a different story. Their personality (or at least persona) is a huge part of the bar experience in my book: hospitality is at least as important as technical chops to me. So I think a chirpy yay for a beloved personality behind the bar is perfectly germane to this forum.

                                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                  1. re: teezeetoo
                                                                    c
                                                                    cambridgedoctpr RE: teezeetoo Oct 30, 2013 05:41 PM

                                                                    as to chefs; the buck stops there.

                                                                    I am not expecting to be stroked by the chef; i just want something good to eat and hold him responsible for what shows up on the plate.

                                                                    Who cares about his personality? His SO but not me.

                                                                3. re: teezeetoo
                                                                  hotoynoodle RE: teezeetoo Oct 30, 2013 08:57 AM

                                                                  not sure why insider requires scare quotes. i have worked in boston fine dining for over 20 years and sometimes share personal knowledge. quite a lot more i don't blab about than what i do.

                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                    k
                                                                    kewpie RE: hotoynoodle Oct 30, 2013 06:24 PM

                                                                    HT, why cant i seem to get anything posted here? im in similar circumstances as yourself, but ( in great friends)

                                                                    1. re: kewpie
                                                                      hotoynoodle RE: kewpie Oct 30, 2013 07:32 PM

                                                                      not sure about your posting issues. :)

                                                                      i try to be non-political about the way and things i post. i mostly avoid commenting on threads where i have a personal connection. good or bad, lol. there are restaurants i will NEVER GO because of my poor personal impression or involvement with the chef, but i will NEVER post that here.

                                                                      gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

                                                                      sox.

                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                        k
                                                                        kewpie RE: hotoynoodle Oct 31, 2013 06:26 AM

                                                                        thanks!

                                                                  2. re: teezeetoo
                                                                    opinionatedchef RE: teezeetoo Oct 30, 2013 12:29 PM

                                                                    tz, that's an interesting perspective and i would guess rather prevalent. but for every diner who doesn't care if a chef displays a bust of wagner, there is another diner who won't support that chef. but this is veering into OTland.

                                                        2. opinionatedchef RE: opinionatedchef Nov 2, 2013 12:03 AM

                                                          Since the noise has been talked about so much, i figured to go early, so we got a reservation for 5pm (opening) tonight, Friday. Only 1 other table and maybe half the bar were seated. While people continually dribbled in , we actually had about 1- 1.5 hrs before some 6-8 person parties were seated and it started to get REALLY loud. So that was alot better than i expected.

                                                          The room itself was o.k.; i liked the layout alot and the tables themselves were attractive, but the decor, like Strip T's, in no way reflects the exciting food (and imo, it should.) What is it with grey grey grey...... Anyway, the reason we were there was for the food, and we really had a lot of fun with that. We each did the '3 dishes for $30'( that's the rule; the whole table has to do it. It's offered 5-6:30pm) and we added a few dishes we could not resist, plus dessert, and we left comfortably full. We were very happy with portion size ;none of our plates were skimpy and we felt pricing was fair (particularly given the labor intensiveness behind the food.) We both agreed that we would request bread next time "because bread absorbs these memorable sauces so much better than does my finger."

                                                          This menu is a very complex one. Soooooo many set ups, and so many elements in those set ups. There is very little (if any) overlap of sauces, veggies, starches. One of the things I love about it is that veggies, beans and whole grains play a major part in the offerings, whether in a major or supporting role. (It's such a kick for me to hear myself say "i really want to go back to try that kale dish, or that farro plate.") My only food criticism was that I thought sweetness dominated a few of the savory plates (Shrimp with pink grapefruit, maitake and rye bigoli (pasta); and Carrots with hazelnuts.)

                                                          The highlight dishes for us:
                                                          --truffle fontina egg toast with shishito pepper
                                                          --rigatoni with octopus, fennel, smoked tomato
                                                          -- maitake ragu side (which we requested from the pork dish)
                                                          -- diver scallops w/ cranberry beans, lemon, pea greens
                                                          -- wagyu beef tartare w/ sunchoke puree and...........
                                                          -- roast pear sorbet w/...........

                                                          The myriad components of each plate make them as labor intensive to describe as they are to make (well, not QUITE) but leave it to say that we both were delighted by the little surprises and layerings of flavors and textures in each dish. The best of them remind me of opening the christmas gifts under the tree. (You just never know what lies hidden beneath that scallop...)

                                                          Service was really top notch; our waitress was extremely well informed , efficient and very helpful in steering our choices . Runners were efficient and pleasant.Theresa, the GM with previous long stints at Oleana and Momofuku, was an excellent rep for her wine program. My Love chose his red from her descriptions and enjoyed it. When he asked for the details later and found that it was a Merlot, our surprise gave her to explain that their system allows for that surprise to happen by not letting guests' prejudices limit themselves. ( And for guests who want the wine's name, date, etc. up front, Ribelle will gladly oblige.)

                                                          This was a real fun evening for us. Though it's alot further away from home, we look forward to being able to say we've eaten at Ribelle as often as we have at Strip T's. The menu changes every day, I guess, but there are at keast 6 or 8 things with my name on them, so i hope they'll stay on til we get back!

                                                          1. m
                                                            mkfisher RE: opinionatedchef Nov 5, 2013 07:48 AM

                                                            We went for the first time Saturday. Showed up around 5:30 and waited 10 minutes for a seat at the bar. The room was loud for sure, but not as bad as I expected.

                                                            The 3 for $30 before 6:30 is a tremendous deal. The hits were the garlic knots, canestri with spicy sausage, bolognese and olive oil ice cream. We weren't crazy about the caponata and coffee cake. We'll definitely be back in the next few weeks for an early dinner at the bar.

                                                            I was a little disappointed that the beer list seemed to be a bit of an afterthought. There was no clear way to tell what was on draft vs. bottles. The list itself was on the small side and it could have been a little more diverse. The Firestone Walker IPA is a nice choice, but I'd like to see some more options.

                                                            1. tatsu RE: opinionatedchef Nov 5, 2013 01:05 PM

                                                              Ribelle was good. It wasn't perfectly seasoned but all dishes were interesting and rich in deep flavors, hate to over-say, but umani. Portions can be dialed up or down depending on what you order. We ordered the two most expensive items and were quite full. David Chang from Momofuku ate next to us with his parents and brother. Tim and David seem to be very friendly. Nothing Tim Maslow would have done could match Strip-T's shock and awe when it was new, but Ribelle is a nice step up without most of the pretension of "fine dining", despite what some diners said in the early months. Recommend reserving after 8:30, (Or the 3 for $30 special before 6:30.) the room starts winding down and the staff do not mind lingerers at all. They are easily doing 4 turns a night on some of their tables and it just must be overwhelming, we didn't get seated until 45 minutes after our 8PM reservation.

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