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restaurant reports

« Xing: 1,649,728,211 xings | Main | bruniland posting difficulty »

February 21, 2006

Comments

da poooz

can i say she is a (silly word deleted A.) and people go to morimoto for the food(and the food is that good) so who gives a (explitive deleted A.) about what their cost was!!!

Steve Plotnicki

While I don't have seven omakase meals under my belt like Augie, I do have one and it was very good. Unfortunately Ms. Strong decided to eat in the main dining room instead of sitting in front of Morimoto at the omakase bar and having him cook for you personally. I wonder if her opinion of the restaurant would change had she done that. And oh yes, who cares what it costs to open the place and how does that affect the way my food tastes?

bub

whatever. FATWA against strong.

were it not for openings and closings news, which she is admittedly good at breaking, there would be no reason to read her reports whatsoever.

strong is kind of like amanda hesser on crack. hers is the food blog equivalent of "lifetime: television for women". i picture her as a northeastern version of blanche from "the golden girls". the heavy breathing review is spot on.

reading her posts as she blathers on about her friends and her loves, all of whom certainly have a lot of drama going on their lives - but who may or may not actually have any taste or interest in food - is an exercise in patience. it may be a food blog, but it's not really about food.

i guess once you accept that her blog is about her life and not strictly about the food then it becomes easier to deal with. sort of.

pixelchef

I think that as a writer, she's quite good. But I don't think her knowledge, insight, or experience within the culinary world provides a suitable vehicle for her writing. As a rule of thumb, if you're going to position yourself as a critic in any given field, it'd be nice if you had half a clue of what you spoke (or in this case, typed). I would suggest that Ms. Strong consider writing fiction. Her continuous misrepresentation and mischaracterization of important aspects of dining leave her frequently lambasted by some of the true professionals of the field.

-ed

Strong may be a little unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine, but her comments regarding the service issues are something we like to hear about. The fact that someone sitting in the main room of a restaurant has an ENTIRELY different experience than one sitting at the (SMALL) omakase bar is definitely a problem for a restaurant the size of Morimoto. Most customers will not be sitting at the Omakase bar!

Dave H

Unfortunately enough, 184 of the 192 seats in Morimoto are *not* at the omakase bar. So it's hardly valid to criticize Strong for reviewing the food and experience that the vast majority of customers will receive.

I haven't been to either, but just as your review of the omakase bar was generally corroborated by Steve's at OA, Andrea's opinions on the main restaurant are not far afield from what others have written, either. Indeed, Andrea's food criticism tends to be very, um, forgiving (seriously: the accusation that Andrea Strong is an inveterate complainer is just ridiculous). So the fact that she lambasts the food at such length--and no, her review is about much more than just per square foot costs and the inability to scan the entire dining room for "cute boys"--indicates to me that the food served to 96% of the restaurant is likely pretty bad.

This is not at all incompatible with the notion that the omakase bar is currently putting out some of the best and most interesting Japanese food in North America. It's an entirely seperate kitchen, audience, philosophy and price point. Nothing about the omakase bar gives me any reason to doubt that the food in the rest of the restaurant sucks.

So far, all reports seem to indicate that Morimoto is essentially a Masa/Bar Masa combo that happens to share the same front door. But the fact that the dining room and the omakase bar are ostensibly the "same" restaurant inevitably means the former is going to get nearly all of the mainstream press attention. (When was the last time you saw a review of, say, the chef's table at Cafe Gray?)

This seems unfortunate, but it's no reason to host an Andrea Strong bash-a-thon IMO. Perhaps we might better direct our ire at Stephen Starr, the man who yoked them together in the first place. Of course, were it not for him we might not have Morimoto's omakase bar in New York at all.

andrea strong

Hi all,
first, thanks for the feedback on the morimoto review. dissent is what this world if about. i do want to address some of your comments though, because i feel that your attacks are sort of mean.

first, i had a terrible meal at morimoto, and i am not sure what you are all in arms about. some of you comment that i do not know cuisine. i beg to differ. i have worked in restaurants and in kitchens. each dish i ate was precicesly critiqued for it's flaws. i was with two chefs that night who also agreed with me. I am not sure where the "she doesn't know her food"" comes from. just because you don't agree with me does not mean that i don't know what i am talking about. reviews are subjective. soggy batter is a fact. mutilated toro without flavor is inexcusable. shoe-leather braised pork is also not what i like to eat.

certainly, i do have a style and i write about the see and be seen factor and if you tell me people go out for food alone i think you are mistaken -- why not eat at home in a box? most people go out for the total dining experience: vibe, the atmosphere, and decor are part of the dining experience. If you staring at a blinding wall of glass water bottles all night, it's not pleasant.

now, if i do write about personal aspects of my life -- about boys and my friends -- that is just me -- and i certainly understand it's not the style for everyone, but i am not sure why the fact that I write about boys or friends is so upsetting to people. my blog is certainly a lot more than my friends -- i report a huge amount of information each week about restaurants news and chefs on the move. The TIMES credited me with breaking the 71 Clinton closing story last week. Clearly, there is value on the strong buzz.

I am a well-regarded professional writer. i find it interesting that many people are so irate with my blog and my writing style. i am not sure what all this rage is about (particularly the one who is launching a FATWA against me) but i am just one woman writing her opinion that is just one part of the large and wonderful body of food writing out there. Please, don't read me if you don't like me, and certainly don't spend so much time bashing me. It's sort of curious and transparent. There's a thin line between love and hate, no?

I write to share the joy of a meal at the table. And I wish you all the same.

yours,

andrea-heavy breathing-strong.

Laurence

I read the above postings, and was dismayed to see the direction that the discussion had taken. I certainly agree that making dissenting opinions on food into personal attacks on Ms. Strong seems silly and irrelevant to a food blog. (This despite the fact that Ms. Strong’s column is also often unnecessarily personal, and therefore sometimes quite silly and irrelevant to food. In her defense, that aspect of her column is seldom at anyone else’s expense.) However, in the interest of preserving Ms. Strong’s status as a well-regarded professional writer (which she refers to in her recent posting), I submit forthwith the following grammatical, punctuation and syntax corrections to her letter, so that she might make a stronger impression of her skills in that area:

1. Even though the note is in blog form, it is introduced by standard capitalization, and therefore it is a bit strange to randomly capitalize some sentences and proper nouns, while leaving others in lower case. I trust these were oversights and not value judgments on the items in question (e.g. “The TIMES” and “Clinton” Street being more important than “morimoto” (sic) and the lower case “i” with which she so modestly refers to herself).

2. First paragraph, second sentence: I’m sure Ms. Strong meant that dissent is what this world IS about not “IF about”.

3. There should be a comma in the third sentence of the first paragraph after “comments” to properly set apart “though”, although it could be dispensed with entirely without affecting meaning (and superfluous interruptions are generally considered cumbersome writing).

4. Second paragraph, first sentence: I’m sure Ms. Strong meant “up in arms” rather than just “in arms”, since the latter refers to hugging. If Ms. Strong thought the previous writers had intended to hug her, I’m sure she would not have taken such offense.

5. Second paragraph, fifth sentence: precisely should be spelled precisely “precisely”, not “precicely”, which is approximate.

6. Second paragraph, fifth sentence (again): Your reference to “it’s flaws” (sic) should really be “its flaws”, since the latter is possessive and your usage means “it is flaws”. I don’t understand the latter, so I must assume you didn’t mean that.

7. I’ll gloss over the fact that “shoe-leather braised pork” actually suggests that the pork was braised WITH shoe leather rather than to the point of resembling it, but must point out that the hyphen in the phrase is misplaced. Regardless of the intended meaning, I’ll pass on eating the stuff.

8. Third paragraph, first sentence: Wow, that was quite a run-on sentence now wasn’t it and there wasn’t even any punctuation after any of the “ands” which made it really hard to follow and really hard to tell which verb was attached to a dependent clause and which ones were attached to the independents and contained a lot of information that could have been put into separate sentences and I think this sort of thing might usually be addressed by an editor but there wasn’t one here because it was written just for a blog and that may have been part of the problem. See what I mean? I must admit that there’s a certain irony to the massive run-on being located in the sentence in which she describes her personal writing style and defends it.

9. Third paragraph, third sentence: This sentence contains no verb, just a participle. (Either that or it’s meant to be an approximation of how Mr. Morimoto himself might have said it.) In order to avoid making any major changes, I’d suggest trying the following minor adjustment. “If you are staring at a blinding wall of glass water bottles all night, it's not pleasant.” Even better would be, “Staring at a blinding wall of glass water bottles all night is not pleasant.”

10. Fourth paragraph, second sentence: There’s a little issue with the phrase “restaurants news”. It should probably be “restaurant news”, or “restaurants’ news” if she prefers the possessive.

11. She does deserve recognition and credit for breaking the 71 Clinton story, which was a sad tale for all foodies. (Obviously, this is not a correction, but it seemed only fair to stop and give some well-earned props.)

12. You mention not understanding why people are “so irate with my blog”. I, too, do not understand this, but for an entirely different reason: one cannot be irate with an inanimate object. The people might be irate with you, or irate BECAUSE of (or about) your blog, but it seems unlikely that they are blaming their unhappiness on the blog’s behavior.

13. Paragraph five, sentence three: It’s a minor quibble, but the agreement between “this rage” (a noun of quantity, not number) and “the one” (a single noun of number, and a person, to boot) is a bit clumsy and grammatically incorrect. And by the way, I don’t think he’s really going to mobilize the world’s Muslim population against you. I suspect it was intended as a joke, but I’m happy to check with Islamic leaders to see if there’s any precedent for that type of behavior in response to issues with Japanese fusion cuisine.

14. Paragraph five, sentence five: Unless there’s been a mistaken usage of either “curious” or “transparent”, it seems that your observation of the writer’s intent is a bit contradictory. Intent that is “transparent” is obvious, and that would make it unlikely to seem simultaneously “curious”, which generally means strange or inexplicable at first glance.

15. Paragraph five, sentence six: In addition to being trite, “there’s a thin line between love and hate” is pretty irrelevant here. Unless, of course, you’re suggesting that you actually love the “one” who declared FATWA. If so, this feedback area might make an excellent forum in which to ask him out. Naturally, that in turn might provide some excellent material for your food/dating column, so it seems like a win/win proposition.

I hope that you find these editorial adjustments helpful. Employing them should make your point about being a professional writer much stronger. Since you’re a writer, I know that the above demonstration of verbal virtuosity has probably got you all hot and bothered, so I consider it my unfortunate duty to inform you that I already have a girlfriend. However, I would be happy to help you with your writing on a freelance basis if you’d like to use that as an excuse to hit on me.

Sincerely,

Laurence (not Sterne)
“Friend of Fowler”

p.s. I will certainly continue to read your column for the fine information you described in your posting. It is indeed useful.

p.p.s. In an attempt to keep this string “on message”, I’d like to add that I recently did go to Morimoto, and ate at the omakase bar. It was one of the most creative and delicious meals I’ve ever eaten anywhere in the world, and I’d highly recommend that Andrea (after immersing myself in her work, I feel close enough to be on a first name basis) give it a try. I’d repeat the experience several times a week if it weren’t so expensive. By the way, how did you manage the financial portion of the 8 day omakasefest, Augie?

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