Yesterday, Sam Sifton awarded two stars to Casa Lever, finding that, although it does nothing innovative, it does many things very well indeed:
The service is appealing, comic-opera stuff. And the food, while basic, is often quite good. The spirit of Sant Ambroeus, a restaurant born in Milan in 1936 and mother to the society rooms in the Village, on the Upper East Side and Main Street in Southampton, has never been more serene. . . .
Is an appetizer of seared scallops with white asparagus and black truffle a good use of $18? That’s a question to wrestle, and there’s no correct answer. It’s the culinary equivalent of wondering whether Ferragamo shoes are worth the scratch. If they are to you, they are. The scallops are certainly well cooked.
We have to smile at this, as Frank Bruni most certainly would have insinuated that there is something deeply wrong with restaurants that charge a lot of money to those who have it to burn.
Predicting Sifton’s ratings is turning out to be a lot tougher than we expected. We and Eater were wrong again, losing a dollar on our hypothetical bets—a depressingly common outcome in the Sifton era. We’re glad to see that the Bruni era has ended, but it has made betting hazardous.
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Life-to-date, New York Journal is 75–32 (70%).