Today, Sam Sifton delivered the first heavy-duty smackdown of his tenure as New York Times restaurant critic, damning Le Caprice with a rare FAIR rating:
The Manhattan outpost of this elegant St. James’s institution opened off the lobby of the Pierre hotel in the fall. It has a menu straight off the plane: mostly nursery food with colonial accents.
But the crowd that might offset it, that might offer wit to counter the mushy peas and sticky sauce, doesn’t run to British eccentricity and glamorous conflict. Instead, it’s just plain-Jane American wealth. There are business travelers and older residents of the Upper East Side, a few Eurobankers and the odd plastic-surgery victim.
The London restaurant may present a kind of British translation of class-free American culture: a democracy of fame. But the American retranslation of that conceit falls flat. At Le Caprice New York, there’s no lurching about with actors. There’s just a senior vice president having drinks and a salad, then checking the Nikkei before bed.
He also complains about a reservations policy that holds back most of the tables: the restaurant claims to be fully committed, even though it’s nearly empty. We tried to get in several times, and couldn’t. At this point, Le Caprice is off our list.
We don’t feel badly about our inaccurate prediction of two stars. Opinions about this place have been all over the map. This is one of the few times we can recall that New York Journal and Eater made different predictions, and both were wrong. We each lose a dollar on our hypothetical bets.
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Life-to-date, New York Journal is 77–33 (70%).