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Robert Sietsema

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Sietsema Brutalizes Restaurant Girl, and That's Just Not Right

Robert Sietsema had some hard words about the Restaurant Girl yesterday. It’s rare to see a critic calling out another one so publicly, which probably made the post that much more enjoyable for readers hungering for gore. Sietsema tells Metromix, “Her writing has been improving, but still she seems to take an a priori, frivolous attitude towards the material. And the fact that she did choose to be recognized is, to me, like, really horrible.” Horrible, Bob? Really? That sounds like a cheap shot to us. Freeman was already publicly known as a blogger when she got the Daily News gig, and, in fact, all the major critics are familiar to chefs and restaurateurs, as everybody in the business knows. (Sietsema’s Senegalese soup kitchens wouldn’t know him if he was on the cover of Newsweek, but that’s just his own good fortune.) As for his other charge (“I presume that part of her being non-anonymous is that she goes into a restaurant under her own name, flashes her cleavage, and they just bring her free food”), it’s ugly and ungallant, and someone his age should know better than to say it unless he knows it's true. As far as we know, it isn't. Q&A: Robert Sietsema [Metromix NY]

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Around the World and Down the Gullet at Choice Eats

Last night’s Village Voice Choice Eats tasting at the Puck Building would have been better called Sietsemapalooza — its far-flung outer-borough diversity was a testament to his dedication and mobility. The Puck Building also hosted Taste of New York last year, but this crowd was a different demographic. Piercings replaced pearls, and a young, scruffy, and hungry crowd overwhelmed the restaurants accustomed to serving only a few regulars at a time. Highlights: the extraordinary barbecued pastrami from Fette Sau; the fried rice and pork from Krik Krak; and the beef rendang, the best thing on Fatty Crab’s menu. Nearly everything we tried was good, especially the starches: couscous, grits, various exotic-bread puddings, and even some spongy Ethiopian bread from the Queen of Sheba. Sietsema, presiding over the event like a proud father, could be seen eating all of the above — and a lot more besides. Related: Sietsema Previews His Own ‘Choice Eats’

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Bar Boulud, Loved at Last; Cuozzo Not on the Dovetail Bandwagon

“It's a new era, and Bar Boulud belongs to it.” That's why, even though the hot items are mostly “snoozers,” the restaurant deserves two stars. Another Zeitgeist review from Frank Bruni. [NYT] Steve Cuozzo doesn't give out stars, but if he did, he wouldn't be giving three to Dovetail, whose stellar critical reception he recapitulates in a forceful, acerbic review. “The Times' Frank Bruni, who found 'drab' décor at Anthos a reason to deny that truly original, forward-Greek place three stars, overlooked Dovetail's butt-ugly brown palette to exult over the likes of — holy cow! — monkfish and lobster on the same plate.” [NYP] Writing on his GQ blog, Alan Richman obliterates Brasserie Les Halles, but why? Who was thinking about it, anyway? And who thought it was good? The review seems conceived as a blow against Tony Bourdain, but it does him no harm. [GQ]

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Sietsema Previews His Own ‘Choice Eats’

As a leadup to tonight’s Village Voice Choice Eats tasting event, Robert Sietsema gives Gothamist a lengthy interview and a barely disguised photo. Sietsema recalls his worst restaurant experience (cockroach) and explains how Frank Bruni maligned Katz’s by only giving it one star. His picks are after the jump.

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Dovetail's Food Editor–Hostess Tells Her Tale; Dessert Truck vs. Treats Truck Tonight

The Food & Wine editor–cum–hostess at Dovetail had a hard time learning the ropes of the job at first, but by the end she learned that star ratings from critics matter, and there’s more to being a hostess than checking coats. [TONY] Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has filed a suit against Tonic East for “a pattern or practice of denying African-Americans from admittance into its club.” [Down by the Hipster] Unbeknownst to us, rapper Coolio has a cooking show on the Web called, succinctly, Cookin’ With Coolio, but he might not be the most adventurous kitchen personality we’ve ever seen: “I don’t like pork, I don’t eat pork, and I don’t cook pork.” [Serious Eats]

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Wylie Wins Respect for Molecular Gastronomy With a Third Star; Bar Boulud Finally Gets a Good Review

In a landmark for molecular gastronomy in America, the movement’s top proponent, Wylie Dufresne, gets his third star for wd-50. A historic review, especially as Frank Bruni expresses the usual reservations about overly cerebral cooking. [NYT] Bar Boulud finally gets some respect from Alan Richman, who praises its blue-ribbon charcuterie and says of its much-maligned mains, “The worst that can be said…is that the recipes are relentlessly conventional — lamb stew, roasted chicken, boudin blanc. The best is that such a style of cooking is terribly missed.” [GQ] Restaurant Girl seems to have been distinctly unimpressed with about half of the dishes she tried at Adour, resulting in a lukewarm, two-and-a-half-star review. Ducasse’s latest is not getting off to a great start. [NYDN]

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Bar Blanc Draws Its Deuce; Mia Dona Welcomed by Richman

Frank Bruni finds Bar Blanc fussy, mannered, overly fastidious — and very, very good. The two stars should take the sting out of his review for the place's owners. [NYT] Related: Raising the Bar Restaurant Girl hits Williamsburg’s Zenkichi and, between the room, the food, and the sake selection, seems to have a real find on her hands. [NYDN] Randall Lane joins in the general enthusiasm for Dovetail , but now he seems unwilling to go back to his five-star-granting ways and so ends up giving them only four — the equivalent, in traditional star terms, to a two-star review, which is not what this reads as. [TONY]

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