Food critic Steve Cuozzo at the Post threw down the gauntlet on Thursday, writing in a column that decent Upper West Side restaurants never seem to last because Upper West Siders simply have no taste. In fact, he calls the entire food scene here “crap-tastic.”
“Something in the water from the wooden rooftop tanks seeps into local pores and neutralizes tongues and palates. They deserve Manhattan’s dullest restaurant scene, even if they don’t recognize it.”
In short, Cuozzo says we don’t stay out late enough or desire inventive food, choosing “mediocrities” like Cafe Luxembourg over the now-closed Bar Eighty-One, Fatty Crab and BarBao.
“Restaurants that bravely open with creative menus quickly dumb them down for proletarian tastes left over from the age when bearded “intellectuals” debated Sino-Soviet relations over refried beans, and “fine dining” struck West End Avenue sages as capitalist decadence.”
Among the restaurants that Cuozzo disses are Cafe Luxembourg, Papardella, Cesca, Nice Matin, Bustan, and Cottage.
The column is gleefully mean, but it’s fun and worth reading.
That said, we’ve got a few quibbles.
1. Cuozzo recently berated food critics for not paying attention to the kinds of food that people really like to eat. Now he’s blaming customers for forcing restaurants out of business. Blame the customer never got anyone very far in business.
2. How can you open a restaurant that takes risks and serves inventive food when landlords are asking $64,500 a month in rent! many of the city’s most inventive restaurants are opening these days in areas with cheap rents that allow chefs to serve dishes that might be unfamiliar to the average customer.
3. Some of the restaurants that do take chances or offer something different are more humble, and don’t attract food reviewers used to being wined and dined. Check out our food adventure series from a few years ago.
Anyway, have at it in the comments! If there’s one thing we’ve learned, Upper West Siders have no shortage of opinions on local restaurants.
Photo by bionicgrrrl.