iOS app Android app More

Sam Sifton's Restaurant Reviews: The 10 Most Scathing And Glowing Pieces From The Past Two Years

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 09/13/11 06:55 PM ET   Updated: 11/13/11 05:12 AM ET



Today's announcement that Sam Sifton would be soon stepping down as the Times Restaurant Critic has prompted many to look back over the new National Editor's two years on the food beat. Reuters media critic Felix Salmon was quick to condemn Sifton's record via Twitter, even suggesting that its mediocrity was grounds for the Times to hire from outside this time.

With the end in sight, it seems safe to say that Sifton will not go down in history as one of the Times' best restaurant critics. At his worst, his star ratings felt arbitrary and his prose was overwrought. Our friends at Eater loved compiling his bon mots into slideshows of purple decadence. He never wrote a review as gleefully mean as Frank Bruni's uproarious review of Ninja or as incisive as Ruth Reichl's famous review of Le Cirque.

But Sifton has his moments. The Sifty Fifty, a recurring list of his favorite restaurants, was a reliably useful guide to New York eateries. He can be a deft stylist and has a keen sense of the social currents that define New York's restaurants -- two skills that will translate well into his post on the news desk. At his best, he was as clever a chronicler of urban life and food culture as New York has seen since Joseph Mitchell got writer's block.

Here are ten moments from Sifton's tenure that warrant at least a strong two-star review. They show him at his most scathing and his most glowing.

SCATHING: Imperial No. 9
1  of  11
PLAY
FULLSCREEN
ZOOM
SHARE THIS SLIDE 
Sifton absolutely demolished the food Top Chef contestant Sam Talbot's SoHo seafood restaurant, giving it a "Fair" in his most notoriously scathing review.

Siftiest Line: "It can be awful there, the kind of restaurant where groups of women who might be Real Housewives gather in blowouts and big rings to talk and use their mobile phones, as that guy from 'Heroes' who used to be on 'Felicity' makes his way out to the lobby and everyone orders a second sweet cocktail before the salad comes out."
RATE IT!   |  
VOTE
Middling
Extreme
CURRENT TOP 5 PICK YOUR OWN TOP 5
USERS WHO VOTED
NEW! CREATE YOUR OWN SLIDESHOW

FOLLOW HUFFPOST FOOD