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tcapper
tcapper

Critics slam Gordon Ramsays new restaurant / but why the public ?

message posted 08-Jan-07 09:49:26
First look at the article and the comments below.

http://news.scotsman.com:80/international.cfm?id=2...


Restaurant critics, as we all know can be biased depending on who you are. So lets assume that they are right in their judgement this time. Are the comments to the article fair.
In my opinion they are not !

Firstly as chefs we would all dream of having the amount of michelans as Ramsay and we all know how difficult one is to achieve, let alone several. The New York restaurant had just opened and is probably experiencing teething problems, it was reported that just before opening Ramsay got rid of a chef for being sub standard, of course the union jumped in and he almost lost all of the brigade, Im sure he would have liked to get rid of them all and bring in UK chefs but the critics would have gone mental.
Another comment was "only in Britain, the home of uninspiring food and chips with everything mentality" what the hell is that comment all about.

No matter What your personal opinion is about Ramsay, the man can cook, you know it and I know it, whether we like his style or not. Im sure if we got that ripping from critics we would be heads down trying to fix it and Im bloody sure Ramsay is doing the same right now.

What is your opinion?
kman
kman
message posted 09-Jan-07 16:40:07
I never realised that this would get so heated.

http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/showthread.php?p=15...


TonyD
TonyD
message posted 31-Jan-07 18:45:16
New York Times Only gives the London * * stars.

THE chef Gordon Ramsay has a British television show called “The F Word,” an American television show called “Hell’s Kitchen” and, by all accounts and appearances, the kind of foul mouth and foul temper those titles suggest.

You might expect his debut New York restaurant to be brash and any of its shortcomings to be attributable to audacity, not timidity.

You’d be wrong.

Step into Gordon Ramsay at the London, so named because it inhabits the London NYC Hotel, which used to be the Rihga Royal. Look hard for any vibrancy, any color. The walls, which resemble mother-of-pearl, are less a hue than a mood: coolly, even icily, elegant.

The flowers on and around the dozen tables are white. Against this monochrome, red letters above the doors — the ones spelling exit — exert the most potent tug on your attention. Those aren’t promising signs.

The cautious palette foreshadows a cautious menu, as reliant on default luxuries and flourishes like foie gras and black truffles as on real imagination. Most ingredients are predictable, most flavors polite, most effects muted. Mr. Ramsay may be a bad boy beyond the edges of the plate, but in its center, he’s more a goody-two-shoes.

And for all his brimstone and bravado, his strategy for taking Manhattan turns out to be a conventional one, built on familiar French ideas and techniques that have been executed with more flair, more consistency and better judgment in restaurants with less vaunted pedigrees.

An appetizer of caramelized sweetbreads with creamed artichoke had a textbook luxuriousness, but it didn’t venture into any new or particularly gripping chapters. An entree of roasted chicken for two was adorned with a sufficiently flavorful fricassee of bacon, onions and prunes, but it was still just a roasted chicken for two.

Mr. Ramsay is probably England’s most famous chef, draped in Michelin stars. His arrival in Manhattan reflects his continuing global expansion — he’s also in Tokyo, also in Dubai — while looking forward to the seemingly inevitable day when your top-tier restaurant choices in a major destination on one continent are much the same as those in a major destination on another.

Ramsay? Ducasse? Vongerichten? Perhaps you just go with the restaurant of your countryman, supporting the home team. That’s the route suggested by the makeup of the dining room at the new Ramsay, where British visitors were abundant. It’s comforting to know that Americans aren’t the only tourists who travel far from home and then stay and sup in reminders of it.

There are actually two conjoined restaurants under Mr. Ramsay’s supervision and banner in the hotel; the other one, through which visitors to the inner sanctum walk, is called the London Bar. It’s bigger and more casual, with a shiny retro look that makes you feel as if you’re inside a gargantuan vintage car.

The London Bar’s menu of small plates — three to six make a meal — yielded an equal number of hits (a layered parfait evoking the components of a B.L.T. sandwich) and misses (a layered parfait of warm avocado, ice-cold crab and sweet corn sorbet).

The barroom has a more adventurous spirit than the formal dining room, which makes you feel as if you’re in a space capsule floating through a supra-national limbo. The accents of the servers are English, French and German (or was it Dutch?), as if the entire European Union was tapped for the right cast of characters to stride across the restaurant’s carpeted floor.

And they stride with grace and good sense, finding the right note of solicitousness, not intrusiveness. Their deftly calibrated pitch reflects the restaurant’s success in presenting most of the coddling staples of traditional haute dining — the service carts, the tableside anointments — without the full degree of pomp.

Without too crippling a cost, either. The $80 that Gordon Ramsay charges for a three-course prix fixe is entirely reasonable in this city’s current dining climate, considering everything the restaurant provides: croutons with foie gras and truffled cream cheese spreads at the start of a meal; a flurry of first-rate petit fours at the end; genuinely helpful guidance through the restaurant’s comprehensive lists of wines and other spirits.

But the restaurant fails to deliver the most important thing of all: excitement. And it’s impossible, given Mr. Ramsay’s reputation, not to be primed for it, and not to be rankled by the low-key loveliness that you get in its place.

The cauliflower beignets in an appetizer of caramelized sea scallops were adorable, but they were playing cameos in a dish whose stars turned in dutiful, forgettable performances. Among roughly eight appetizer selections on the prix fixe menu most nights, the only bold standout was red mullet, served as pan-fried fillets that were framed and tamed perfectly by the brightness, acidity and sweetness of a pink grapefruit vinaigrette.

Among a similar number of entrees, there was a similar dearth of inspiration. While chorizo and artichoke lent plenty of personality to a beautifully roasted fillet of black bass, a bitter chocolate sauce and a beet fondant didn’t jazz up slices of venison loin quite as much as they needed to. The dish’s music remained faint.

And there were a few off-putting concoctions, like a cloying, gummy wedge of turbot poached in St. Émilion and a bizarre appetizer combining delicate little langoustine tails with indelicate nuggets of boneless chicken wing, crusted with hazelnuts and sweetened with maple syrup. Eric Ripert, meet Colonel Sanders.

The best desserts by the pastry chef, Alistair Wise, were terrific: a tarte Tatin with crisp pastry, and a flawless apricot soufflé with sugary almonds and almond ice cream.

Mr. Wise and the chef de cuisine, Neil Ferguson, are running a serious kitchen here and capable of impeccable work. And that makes the restaurant’s tentativeness and its bad decisions, which were too numerous, all the more frustrating.

Why did envelopes of raw, thinly sliced, unpleasantly papery red beet, which were stuffed with ricotta and sprinkled with pine nuts, appear so often? They showed up as a trio in a dish on the London Bar menu, as a duo in a course on an extended dining-room tasting menu and as individual amuse-bouches for the dining room’s prix fixe. Seldom have such frail shoulders been asked to carry such a heavy load.

And seldom has a conquistador as bellicose as Mr. Ramsay landed with such a whisper. It’s not an unappealing sound, but it’s nothing that’s going to prick up your ears.

Gordon Ramsay at The London

* *

The London NYC Hotel, 151 West 54th Street; (212) 468-8888 or gordonramsay.com.

ATMOSPHERE A shiny, almost colorless room of just a dozen tables that seem to exist in a luxury space capsule floating through a limbo without any distinct geographic tether.

SOUND LEVEL Quiet.

RECOMMENDED DISHES Pan-fried red mullet; caramelized sweetbreads; black bass with chorizo; halibut with smoked salmon; apricot soufflé; tarte Tatin. In the London Bar, tuna and swordfish carpaccio; “B.L.T.”; roasted sablefish with creamed parsnip; beef “tongue ’n’ cheek.”

WINE LIST Wide-ranging, well-chosen and commendably varied in price, with many bottles under $70 and an appealing array of wines by the glass.

PRICE RANGE Three-course prix fixe, $80. Six-course tasting menu, $110. In the London Bar, tapas-style dishes from $12 to $18, with a four-course prix fixe for $55 and six courses for $75.

HOURS Lunch from noon to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5:30 to 11 p.m. daily. The London Bar is open from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., with a breakfast menu in effect until 11 a.m.

RESERVATIONS For prime dinner times, call at least one month and as many as two months in advance.

CREDIT CARDS All major cards.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS Hotel lobby, London Bar and restaurant itself all on street level, with accessible restrooms.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: Ratings range form zero to four stars and reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration. Menu listings and prices are subject to change.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN:

(None) Poor to satisfactory

* Good

** Very good

*** Excellent

**** Extraordinary

Ratings reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration. Menu listings and prices are subject to change.

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