The Other Critics

Marco Canora Thinks It’s Impossible to Impress the Critics

Photo: Jocelyn Filley

Never one to suffer critics gladly, Hearth’s Marco Canora recently went on the “Mr. Cutlets Show” and vented to Josh Ozersky (who’s now engaged!) about Adam Platt and Frank Bruni’s reviews of his former restaurant, Insieme, among other things. He doesn’t like that Platt and others compared the restaurant to his stomping grounds, Craft (Platt called Insieme “some reconstituted, Mediterranean version of Craft 2.0”), and he also has a general complaint: “It’s hard to impress guys like Frank Bruni who eat out 345 nights a week, or Adam Platt. You have to hit these guys in the head with a two-by-four if you want them to be like, ‘Wow.’ It’s hard to wow that guy — it’s almost impossible to wow that guy. A lot of great restaurants get beat up and subsequently fail because of a tepid one-star review.”

Canora goes on to praise Ruth Reichl’s famous review of Le Cirque, in which she went undercover to show that civilians get less favorable treatment: “I think that happens often, and I think it’s rare to find the restaurant that continues to strive to be ambitious and continues to strive to be perfect and has their eye on the prize every day. I think that’s rare. I think that she really made that obvious when she went. You can’t deny that Joe Shmoe on a Wednesday night, who nobody knows and he gets the shitty table, has a much different experience than Frank Bruni or Adam Platt when they come in during the first three months or six weeks of a restaurant.” Canora then agrees with Ozersky’s premise that writers and regulars get 15 percent better food.

Forget critics dressing as civilians — in this age, when Sifton’s photo is everywhere, maybe civilians should start dressing as critics?

Mr. Cutlets Show [Heritage Radio Network]

Marco Canora Thinks It’s Impossible to Impress the Critics