After a negative review of his new pizzeria Pulino's by New York critic Adam Platt, the Balthazar and Pastis owner lashed out in a public letter calling Platt "over-weight" and "bald". Here's the whole Bob Dylan-referencing screed.
Just a month and a half after Keith McNally's new Bowery restaurant Pulino's Bar & Pizzeria debuted to the public, New York critic Adam Platt dropped a tepid one star review for the restaurant and its new chef Nate Appleman. The outspoken McNally is not happy about the situation, taking issue with the timing of the review and the critiques held within. And he lets Platt know it in this scorching letter:
In describing the crowd at Pulino's you employ the usual cliches ("indie-movie moguls" "neighborhood tattoo artists"), but where did you drum up the word "scenesters"?? I haven't heard this word since Dylan went electric. The fact is, you're as out of touch describing young downtown New Yorkers as you are at understanding the restaurants where they like to eat. For in your middle-aged world it's axiomatic that busy, exuberant restaurants cannot and will not serve great food. This, unfortunately, is no less a form of prejudice than restaurateurs believing that bald, over-weight reviewers are incapable of reviewing lively downtown restaurants impartially.
Although I didn't disagree with all of your criticisms I did find it peculiar that so many of them were attributed to other people. ("'I feel I'm at the front row of a U2 concert,' hollered one of my guests"). After all, you're the professional paid to review the restaurant, not some unqualified acquaintance who happens to be at the table.
Finally, another inaccuracy in your review is the bizarre claim that I was wearing (of all things) a cardigan? I may not be a paragon of fashion but I haven't worn a cardigan since 1965. (The year Dylan went electric!).
Let's just hope that in future you can resist criticizing less formal restaurants as harshly as you did Pulino's. And, hopefully, you can do so with a little less bile and prejudice.
Note to critics: KM does not wear cardigans. Please get your facts straight.
Of course this is not the first time McNally has gone public to air his grievances. He called Frank Bruni sexist when he gave his West Village restaurant and its chef Jody Williams one star back in 2007. One wonders if he has a letter in store for Times critic Sam Sifton, who also dropped a (nicer) review on the early side .