Has it gotten to the point when one cannot talk about dining in Brooklyn without an us-versus-them, Manhattan-is-for-snobs mentality?
The buzz on Twitter and, in today’s “Hey, Mr. Critic” post on The New York Times‘ Diner’s Journal, seems to suggest as much. Last week saw a bit of a catalyst in the guise of former Times food critic Mimi Sheraton’s blanket dismissal of the borough of Brooklyn.
“The Times has certainly been very exaggerated in its Brooklyn coverage, because most of them live there,” Sheraton told Capital New York, from atop a tower that looked suspiciously like it was made of ivory. “They begin to see it as being better than it is because it’s so close to them.”
Food critics from a variety of news outlets — many of whom do, in fact, live in Brooklyn — responded with defensive jabs at Sheraton. Sam Sifton’s knocks were perhaps the craftiest: the Times dining critic tweeted “Seriously, let’s hear it for Mimi” and posted a link to a Mariah Carey video (“The Emancipation of Mimi”); tweeted about seeing “this cool band play in the garage near the food truck I ate at last night with Brian Williams, on Meserole” and posted a link to a Muppets video (“The Muppets Beaker and Mimi”); and tweeted “Dress Mimi up, bring her to Brooklyn!” and posted a link to a Barbie dress-up game (“Mimi Barbie”).
So when Sifton answers a question in “Hey, Mr. Critic!” about “that Brooklyn no-reservations thing,” it’s hard not to place whatever he says in this context. Is not taking reservations part of the Brooklyn food scene charm? One can’t get reservations and indulge in relief from the island’s too-tony, stuck-up and stuffy bastions of elitism. You can’t have your Cake Man Red Velvet Cake and eat it, too, right?
“There are a number of Brooklyn restaurants that take reservations without displaying Manhattan snobbishness,” Sifton wryly informed the river-hopping Manhattanite looking to explore.
Well, look at that! It turns out Sifton has a few suggestions of Brooklyn places one can plan ahead at, such as The Good Fork in Red Hook, the DuMont in Williamsburg, and Fornino Park Slope. The borough food wars rage on!