I’m sure you’ve seen thousands of us by now: millennials convinced that, because we’ve dined at a few nice restaurants, have seen every episode of Top Chef, and managed to get a lot of likes on a carefully curated Instagram food post, we are qualified to present our own official “restaurant reviews.” Nonetheless, I enjoy writing and I (really) enjoy food, so I’ve decided to add myself to the fray as another self-proclaimed foodie.
I come from a predominantly Italian American background, so the bulk of my food knowledge revolves around pasta varietals, cured meats, and the like, but I have a penchant for trying new foods and have begun, and intend to continue, broadening my understanding of other cultures and cuisines with which I am a bit less familiar. I currently live in New York City so most of my “reviews” will be restaurants from the city, but I do enjoy traveling and hope to sprinkle in writing from other destinations as well.
One of my dreams is to visit Modena, Italy and dine at Massimo Bottura‘s internationally acclaimed Osteria Francescana (in the photo above I am on the left and Massimo is on the right). I first learned of Massimo through his famous “The Crunchy Part of the Lasagna” recipe, which I am dying to taste. When I do, though, I will still be obligated to refer to it as the second best lasagna I have ever eaten, surpassed by my wonderful mother’s version, of course.
While I have always enjoyed food and trying new restaurants, I was energized after attending a speaker series held at the 92nd Street Y for Massimo’s 2014 book tour for “Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef“, which is a brilliantly fascinating and saliva-inducing read. The book is less a cookbook than it is a summary of the inspiration behind many of Massimo’s most notable dishes, and in hearing him speak to the evolution of thought that preceded each dish, I was left in wonderment. Massimo was joined onstage by American molecular gastronomy pioneer Wylie Dufresne, and I left the auditorium thinking that the two of them were artists as much as they were chefs, as corny as that may sound. I’ve been on a mission to try as many great restaurants as I can ever since, and hope to share some of my thoughts along the way. I will leave the lengthy, formal approach to reviewing restaurants to the professionals, and instead will share short blurbs accompanied by a couple of my favorite (or least favorite) dishes and perhaps a photo. I hope you enjoy.
My rating is meant to account for not just the quality of the meal and experience, but also the value, without favoring the ultra expensive. In other words, a high-end restaurant (e.g. Del Posto) and a casual eatery (e.g. BaoHaus) can both receive 4/4 stars, even though they are extremely different atmospheres and the former is clearly “nicer.”
Rating System Guidelines:
4 Stars: outstanding, cannot wait to return
3 Stars: great, would be happy to return
2 Stars: good, though not necessary to seek out
1 Star: forgettable, ought to dine elsewhere