Tomorrow, Sam Sifton reviews Chowhound favorite Imperial Palace in Queens. The Eater Oddsmakers have set the action as follows: Sift Happens: 250-1; Two Stars: 3-1; One Star: 2-1.
The Skinny: Sifton’s first two reviews were about unfinished business that Frank Bruni left behind. DBGB and Marea both opened long enough ago that Bruni could have reviewed them—but he didn’t. Sifton had no choice about reviewing these places.
With tomorrow’s review, the Sifton era really begins. There is no particular news event that prompted this review. It is all Sifton’s doing. This is where he wants to go.
NYT critics have often given two stars to this type of restaurant. Like it or not, about 99.5% of the reviewed restaurants are in Manhattan and Brooklyn—mostly the former. Queens is teeming with ethnic restaurants, most of which the Times will never review. On those rare occasions when it happens, the critic ought to at least highlight the better ones.
Sifton doesn’t have much of a track record yet, but we assume he’s not going to start reviewing Queens restaurants on a regular basis. We therefore suspect that his reasoning will be like that of Bruni and his predecessors. You don’t go to Queens to award one star.
The Bet: We are betting that Sam Sifton will award two stars to Imperial Palace.