Posts Tagged: Sam Sifton

'Times'splaining Pizza

As one ages, one gives up a few of the youthful struggles against the generations that came before, and one tends to finally accept more of the common precepts of society. For instance, I now own a pizza peel. For many years I burned my fingers and clumsily threw pizzas from the oven onto the counter. Those days are behind me now. It's okay.

With that one exception, however, I stand by our exceptional pizza recipe. Sure, you can have the Times Timessplain the making of pizza to you, if you wish! If that makes you feel fancy and validated, so be it. But we know the [...]


Man Finishes Job

"By point of context, though, an aisle orchestra seat at the Metropolitan Opera for Donizetti’s 'L’Elisir d’Amore' runs $330, also excluding wine." —I am a huge sucker for departing Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton, but I do recognize that he is probably the most divisive person in that position since Ruth Reichl started flinging stars at Chinese joints. In any event, this sentence from his final review, in which he designates Per Se as New York's best restaurant, echoes on SO MANY LEVELS that even if I were disinclined to enjoy it I would still need to doff my cap.

Photo by Peter Bond, via Flickr


The 11 Most Revolting Things Sam Sifton Ate in London

Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton goes to London and what is there to eat at the hottest places in town? DISHES OF HORROR MOSTLY. A textural nightmare. A heart-stopping pile of Englishisms.

• "a plate of 'rice and flesh'… a kind of buttery risotto Milanese, heady with saffron and studded here and there with tiny nuggets of meat taken from a calf’s tail."

• "What you are served appears simply to be a Mandarin orange…. Cut through the dimpled skin of the fruit, however, and a mousse is revealed: an interior of whipped chicken liver with a flavor that is beautifully enhanced by the taste of its bright [...]


Sam Sifton Is Sambivalent

"The restaurant’s steaks are taken off grass-fed cattle, and butchered to the thickness of a Frisbee. This is a grim combination, leading to giant flaps of crust-free, overly chewy meat the flavor of nickels. Most people cut bits off, then push the rest around the plate as if it were a pile of napkins. At $45 for a rib-eye, this is a nasty business." —Sam Sifton gives the very attractive new East Village restaurant Peels a nice kiss at the start of his review in today'sTimes. But then he slaps it across the face! But then he gives it a kiss again at the end, saying of their breakfasts, [...]


"Southeast Asian-Aware" Just Really Worked For Me

"Only a marvelous chicken-and-crab salad ($19) with coconut, cherry tomatoes and a spicy green chili dressing really worked, and it's not so much Southeast Asian as Southeast Asian-aware. It'd be an excellent lunch option at one of those fresh-salad restaurants where people line up with plastic takeout bowls and then eat in the park." -Sometimes it actually seems downright unfair to set Sam Sifton loose on the city's restaurants, the kicker to this dining brief on the new Thai-inspired Betel being a case in point.


Why, yes, I am very hungry this morning, how could you tell?

"For dessert, sticky toffee pudding and a marvelous version of Eton mess, meringue slathered in lemon ricotta cream. There is also eggnog as interpreted by someone interested in the intersection of hallucinogens and psychotherapy, all folded egg whites and sugar: liquid velvet, ecstasy in a cup. A shot of Sailor Jerry overproof spiced rum is down at the bottom of it, a base of caramel beneath the cloud of white. It is either an antidote or a force multiplier. It may be both." -Detractors can suck it: Sam Sifton is doing some bracing work in his new gig as Times restaurant critic. See also: "The Breslin is the sort [...]


Food Writer Writes Good

We're two weeks in to Sam Sifton's stint as dining critic and his second effort is pretty great: "The very first item on the menu at Marea is ricci, a piece of warm toast slathered with sea urchin roe, blanketed in a thin sheet of lardo, and dotted with sea salt. It offers exactly the sensation as kissing an extremely attractive person for the first time – a bolt of surprise and pleasure combined. The salt and fat give way to primal sweetness and combine in deeply agreeable ways. The feeling lingers on the tongue and vibrates through the body. Not bad at $14 a throw – and there [...]


Man Divisive

Stuffed bell peppers. Where do you stand?

— Sam Sifton (@SamSifton) October 15, 2013

Why does Sam Sifton want to TEAR THE INTERNET APART?


Restaurant Chinese

"The setting is dropped-ceiling bland, with a few plants and paintings for color. This is in keeping with the neighborhood’s restaurant history: 456 resembles nothing so much as a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown." —At the corner of Nostalgia and Zen you will find Sam Sifton's review of 456 Shanghai Cuisine. Oh my God, I am SO HUNGRY RIGHT NOW.


Italian Food Less Oleaginous Than Italian PM

"THERE are two remarkable things going on at Ciano, the casual, new-style Italian restaurant that Shea Gallante opened a few months ago on East 22nd Street. The first is Mr. Gallante’s food, which is ambitious, beautiful and flavor packed, a kind of Italian home cooking made grand and attractive, rich as Berlusconi, not as oily." —Oh, Sam Sifton, don't you ever change.


Mr. Critic Strikes Back Against Those Snobby French Foodies

"We'll get to your needs in a minute. Here's what would be great from my point of view, and which would make up entirely for the time I was in the Marais with my pregnant wife and this jumped-up little terrier in a Basque restaurant sneered at us for arriving without a reservation at his entirely empty restaurant at 6 p.m. He was plenty sophisticated-European. He responded to our request for a table for two with a curt, 'Non,' adding that all the tables-he even swept his arm back to indicate them-were reserved. So do me a favor and take your husband to Peter Luger in Brooklyn and see [...]


The World Is Going Down The Rabbit Hole

"Then lobster, a slash of red and white claw meat in a lobster bordelaise so deeply flavored as to recall both veal stock and opium smoke, with cabbage to bind them together. And sturgeon, a rectangle of meat the color of ivory, with a sauce of reduced grape must and a grape-pumpkin marmalade. It's a mad hatter's dish, cooking out of Lewis Carroll." -Alice In Wonderland is everywhere these days: movies, hip-hop, politics, and now restaurant reviews-Sam Sifton gives Colicchio & Sons three stars in today's Times. I'd complain about oversaturation. But that would be Petty.


Fancy Restaurant Chooses Questionable Decor

Times dining critic Sam Sifton has mixed feelings about SD26, Tony May's downtown 21st century version of the venerable San Domenico. On the one hand, the candele with cauliflower, saffron, pine nuts and anchovy oil evokes "the very essence of great Italian cooking." On the other, the octopus carpaccio with sun-dried tomatoes, "to the good, looked like a Chuck Close painting," but, to the bad, also "tasted like one." (And, in a nice touch: "SD26 is the restaurant equivalent of a second wife: younger, considerably more nervous, dressed in a way that might raise eyebrows in the social circles the original restaurant was opened to serve.") Either way, I [...]


Sam Sifton Enjoys Tacos

This brief Q&A with new New York Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton affirms our excitement about his selection. [Via]


A Quick Cheat Sheet to the Best Dishes in New York

Other dishes that will haunt my memory include the spinach garganelli that Mark Ladner cooks at Del Posto, and the stuffed rotisserie duck available at Momofuku Ssam Bar only by reservation (it took me two months of trying), and the wild mushrooms you get at Craft, glistening with butter. There was a lentil soup at Veritas. A plate of pork ribs at Fatty ’Cue. A small pile of shaved razor clams with caviar at Le Bernardin.

I can call up the flavor of the split-pea soup at La Grenouille just as some can see a turkey and remember what Thanksgiving smells like. Likewise the veal chop at Ai [...]


Fusion Joint Gets Savage Beatdown

The last sentence in Sam Sifton's most recent restaurant review is pretty brutal.


The Evolution of Language

A cursory search of the New York Times' archives reveals that today marks the very first use of the word "Broheim" in the paper's 159-year history.


DIY NYT Review

We are on record as being fans of New York Times dining critic Sam Sifton-his review of ultra-hip Carroll Gardens abattoir Prime Meats this week was extremely enjoyable-but we've got to admit, this Sifton Mad-Libs construction is also pretty great. It is obviously the product of close reading.


Sam Sifton: More Than Fair

"At its best, the British version of Le Caprice is filled with lords and skeevy barristers, hacks and publicists, actors on the make, drooping aristos, pop stars and spectacular women. There is a wonderful story about the punk-rock chieftain Ian Dury crashing through the place, drunk and outstanding on his cane. It ends with Omar Sharif punching him in the face." -For a visual accompaniment to Sam Sifton's latest punking up of the Times' dining section, the video for 1978's "What A Waste" is pretty excellent. Also excellent (from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, don't you know) the thought of fried rice with a fried egg on top, rather than [...]


Meh = 1 Star

"ATMOSPHERE People who sell in the bar, people who own in the dining room. All act accordingly." Sam Sifton visits Charlie Palmer's latest iteration of Aureole and comes away unimpressed, describing the restaurant as "meh" and "a love letter to an America we see reflected back at us in unflattering light: relatively happy, unthinking, desirous mostly of sugar and fat." There is a lot going on here.