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January 27, 2015- By Steven E. Greer
BatteryPark.TV recently wrote our review of not only North End Grill and Blue Smoke, but of the entire Union Square Hospitality Group chain owned in part by Danny Meyer (he sold at least 40% of it last year, and will be diluting his ownership more by spinning off Shake Shack in an IPO). In our article, it mentioned how the influential New York Times food critic had visited North End Grill several times late last year, but failed to actually publish a review.
Well, perhaps we shamed him into it. In tomorrow’s paper is a combined review by Mr. Wells of both Blue Smoke and North End Grill, which is odd indeed. He gave Blue Smoke only one-star, consistent with our survey of the place.
Mr. Wells gave North End Grill two-stars, but his written praise is scant and consists of fewer words (350 to be exact) than what he devoted to the Blue Smoke section. He praises none of the entrees and likes the appetizers the best (which are good).
Mr. Wells also began the entire article by pointing out the chaos in chefs and leadership within Union Square Hospitality Group. That was the main point of our article, “Is Danny Meyer on his third strike in BPC?“.
Last week, Blue Smoke shut down for a few days for “training”. They likely got a tip about the upcoming review.
The fact that Mr. Wells has given two-stars to both Marta and North End Grill, despite he clearly being less than enthused about them, indicates that his star rating system is meaningless. He even admits as much when he wrote his “The 10 Best New Restaurants of 2014” article that included at the top some places which he ranked low in stars. Danny Meyer is an important figure in the culinary world and Mr. Wells is doing him a favor with the two-stars.