A Word Analysis Of The New York Times’ Rudest Restaurant Reviews
Stand down, Guy Fieri
New York City’s Per Se was once considered one of the best restaurants in the world. But apparently Thomas Keller’s legendary eatery has slipped. A recent review in the New York Times called the place “among the worst food deals in New York,” and stripped it of two of its four stars in a gleefully mean fashion.
So we decided to revisit some of The Times’ most famously scathing restaurant reviews to see how they stack up.
Vocativ analyzed the most-used words for the most vicious food critic reviews of seven restaurants: Kobe Club, a lavish Midtown steakhouse with samurai swords hanging from the ceilings that has since closed; The Bistro At Villard Michel Richard, the now-shuttered eatery in the New York Palace Hotel that was deemed “awful” and awarded no stars by Times critic Pete Wells; Box Tree, also closed, a “pretentious” Midtown restaurant with unpriced menus that Ruth Reichl said was “as expensive as it is inept”; Hudson Cafeteria, another no-star Midtown hotel restaurant that served a dessert reviewer William Grimes likened to toxic waste; Javelina, a trendy Tex-Mex restaurant that opened last year near Union Square; Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, Guy Fieri’s Donkey Sauce-slathered behemoth in Times Square; and of course, Per Se.
The reviews come from different periods of Manhattan food trends. Kobe Club was around in the mid-aughts when big gimmicky concept restaurants were a thing. Box Tree closed at the end of the 90’s, and was one of the last holdout of stuffy restaurants that were too self-important to include prices on the menu. But the reviews themselves have a lot of things in common, like sarcasm and disgust. And the most common words in their reviews tell a story of what the place was (or is) like.