The critics at Time Out aren’t exactly known for being easy to please. Whether its their definite opinions on barbecue, steak houses, or high end dining, they aren’t ones to simply give a restaurant a pass and look the other way. Still, we don’t think anyone was quite prepared for Julia Kramer’s one star review of Grahamwich, a restaurant where she believes “Graham Elliot sinks to the lowest common denominator, keeping actual cooking to an absolute minimum and embarking on a disastrous dalliance with ‘ethnic’ cuisines.” Wow…so what exactly does she not like?
Kramer thinks that the sandwiches “reflect not just repeated failures of execution but a lack of care in their conception.” The worst is the banh mi, which contains “congealed, gelatinous cubes of pork belly, slimy strips of pineapple and dank shiitake mushrooms.” Also, the jibarito taco doesn’t work thanks to “too-sweet pork shoulder in too paltry a portion.” She was “turned off” by the the whitefish sandwich due to the “mouthfeel of soft fish against soft ‘naan.’” The “crunchy, salty marcona almonds” should have helped, but those almonds “turned out to be bitter.”
The only two dishes that Kramer remotely liked were the grilled cheese and the reuben. Still, she damns these two with faint praise, comparing both unfavorably to transcendent versions elsewhere, before saying that they are “simply hot, toasty, cheesy and delicious.”
The side dishes get ripped apart. The chips “were stale,” the popcorn covered in “whiff after tiresome whiff of truffle oil,” the salad “comically basic,” and the pickles were “visibly oxidized and dull.” She evens pans the soft serve, which made her cheeks pucker “in horror.”
She believes Graham Elliot’s recent fame gave him “the ability to phone in his food with very little consequence,” finding it “pretty insulting to his fans that he went ahead and did just that.”