The Other Critics

College Critic Enters ‘Lair of the Beast,’ Reviews Colicchio’s Latest Undercover

Photo: Danny Kim/New York Magazine

This week, one review was so notable that it deserves its own spotlight aside from The Other Critics: Jason Bell, the reviewer for the Columbia Spectator who griped about the “overpriced, grotesque food” at Colicchio & Sons and told its chef to stop the “schizophrenic charade” and pack his knives (prompting Colicchio to ask Grub Street, “Since when did you start reprinting reviews from college newspapers?”), has finally made good with the chef. On his blog, the College Critics, he went “undercover” to visit the newly opened Riverpark: “I knew that I needed to visit,” he writes. “Both to see whether Colicchio’s latest creation might surpass his disastrous last and to resolve a nagging tension in my psyche. Entering the lair of the beast, I might do battle with the (imagined) monster within and unmask him to my mind’s eye.” Wow, good stuff!

Please do read the many words Bell spills fretting about whether or not he’ll be caught using the fake name Aaron Radfurd. (Who’s perpetrating the schizophrenic charade now, big guy?) And don’t miss his discerning criticism of chef Sisha Ortuzar’s pumpkin-seed tortellini (“boring and predictable”), roasted snapper (“overcooked”), the rack of lamb (“the amount of protein is diminished, leaving not enough to satiate hungry college students”), and the pork chops (offering “too much pork chop and not enough hash,” they “arrive too cold to the table” and need “more vegetable and starch accompaniment for balance”). Despite all this, he thinks the entrées are “comforting without overt pretension,” and finds the place “a welcome addition to the neighborhood; I, on the other hand, will likely never return.”

So will this review prompt any “immature ravings” from Colicchio (Bell’s words, not ours!)? We’re keeping our eye on Twitter …

Covert Operations: Going Undercover at Riverpark [College Critics]

College Critic Enters ‘Lair of the Beast,’ Reviews Colicchio’s