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Bracketology and Restaurants


gourmetgrazer
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Having perused a book about using NCAA style brackets to determine the best of anything, movie deaths, ad slogans, center fielders, could this be applied to DC restaurants, and American restaurants at large? just choose 6 worthy restaurants and do the work. ie.

Citronelle----

----------------------Citronelle

Equinox----

-------------------------------------------- Citronelle

two amy's---

------------------------two amy's

obelisk---

----------------------------------------------------------------Palena

Courduroy---

------------------------Courduroy

Marcels----

----------------------------------------------- Palena

Palena---

------------------------Palena

Palena Cafe--

(not fair i know)

Maybe washingtonian will push back the 100 best next year to march and use the brackets?

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Well, the seeding would be key to determining the final result, since the match-ups matter so much in tourney play. In the absence of our own selection committee, let's try it with the Washingtonian rankings... top 8 would be:

1. Citronelle

2. Maestro

3. CityZen

4. Palena/ Palena Cafe

5. Minibar

6. Restaurant Eve

7. Inn at Little Washington

8. 2941

So Citronelle squares off against 2941... Maestro vs. the Inn at Little Washington... CityZen vs. Eve... Palena vs. Minibar.

To complete the parallel with tourney play, you'd actually have to go to dinner at both places and decide which restaurant, *on that particular night*, you found to be better. Regular season play gets you to the tournament but once you reach that level, it's one-and-done.

For my money, with the restaurants in this bunch that I've gone to, every single one is the best restaurant in the DC area on the night I'm eating their food. As is Komi, ranked at #10. The obvious question is when you're comparing two incredibly different atmospheres/styles/experiences, like Palena and Minibar, what does "best" really mean? At least with basketball you can count the baskets.

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Well, the seeding would be key to determining the final result, since the match-ups matter so much in tourney play. In the absence of our own selection committee, let's try it with the Washingtonian rankings... top 8 would be:

1. Citronelle

2. Maestro

3. CityZen

4. Palena/ Palena Cafe

5. Minibar

6. Restaurant Eve

7. Inn at Little Washington

8. 2941

So Citronelle squares off against 2941... Maestro vs. the Inn at Little Washington... CityZen vs. Eve... Palena vs. Minibar.

To complete the parallel with tourney play, you'd actually have to go to dinner at both places and decide which restaurant, *on that particular night*, you found to be better. Regular season play gets you to the tournament but once you reach that level, it's one-and-done.

For my money, with the restaurants in this bunch that I've gone to, every single one is the best restaurant in the DC area on the night I'm eating their food. As is Komi, ranked at #10. The obvious question is when you're comparing two incredibly different atmospheres/styles/experiences, like Palena and Minibar, what does "best" really mean? At least with basketball you can count the baskets.

And minibar goes down immediately for me, losing 100-0 to Palena or the cafe or even the tiniest piece of ventworm nut on the floor at palena :o
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And minibar goes down immediately for me, losing 100-0 to Palena or the cafe or even the tiniest piece of ventworm nut on the floor at palena :o

And that's why the tourney approach doesn't work, because this stuff is so subjective, and although Minibar was not better than my best dinner at Palena, it was definitely better than my worst dinner at Palena, which was of course still pretty good. Controversy!

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And that's why the tourney approach doesn't work, because this stuff is so subjective, and although Minibar was not better than my best dinner at Palena, it was definitely better than my worst dinner at Palena, which was of course still pretty good. Controversy!
What can I say, my new years resolution is to not eat at another one of Andres restaurants after my experience there. I'm keeping to it with no problems whatsoever :o
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As a Hoosier by birth, let me applaud your efforts to further integrate college basketball into our day-to-day lives. Well done.
While I find this thread entertaining, there's nothing particularly "college basketball" about this approach to competition. This is the "draw" concept of tournament tennis, which certainly predates the NCAA. For one of the majors, tennis would start with 128 players in each event; unfortunately we don't have rankings beyond 100. On the other hand, in the major tennis tournaments, they only have 32 seeded players (16 until recently), the non-seeded players being (supposedly) randomly distributed through the draw. Since, using the Washingtonian's rankings, we do have 64 seedings (and you need a power of 2), we should probably put the top 64 into the tournament, from Indigo Landing up to Citronelle. Never having eaten at Indigo Landing, I'm still willing to call that match for Michel Richard.
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If we want to do this with 64 seeds I'll put together the bracket and we can track it over the days. If Don will let us start a subforum for it we can do the voting by rounds- a round would take like a week to finish to give everyone time to vote. Could be a fun game, and even amusing if we want to do pre-picks to see who can get this the most right. I'd be interested to see who the dark horses might be.

Only rule I'd want to put on it would be to ask everyone to vow that they've eaten at a restaurant they've voted on at least once. Can't verify that, but it's a game for fun.

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While I find this thread entertaining, there's nothing particularly "college basketball" about this approach to competition. This is the "draw" concept of tournament tennis, which certainly predates the NCAA. For one of the majors, tennis would start with 128 players in each event; unfortunately we don't have rankings beyond 100. On the other hand, in the major tennis tournaments, they only have 32 seeded players (16 until recently), the non-seeded players being (supposedly) randomly distributed through the draw. Since, using the Washingtonian's rankings, we do have 64 seedings (and you need a power of 2), we should probably put the top 64 into the tournament, from Indigo Landing up to Citronelle. Never having eaten at Indigo Landing, I'm still willing to call that match for Michel Richard.

I think the NCAA allegory is more approachable for most in this forum, but the tennis comparison is dead on. To expand on the seeding and brackets, there could be four #1 seeds, four #2 seeds etc. also it would need regions, and of course, who are going to be the midrange(mid majors) to pull the upsets and be the cinderellas? and remember this is only for fun, but i cannot wait to see the debate between ray's the steaks and palena cafe in the "not so sweet sixteen".

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cannot wait to see the debate between ray's the steaks and palena cafe in the "not so sweet sixteen".
Unfortunately, Washingtonian ranks Palena and Palena café both at number 4. I think they'll have to have a single spot in the draw. I've never eaten at Ray's the Steaks (my only excuse being that it's in the suburbs), but I can't see it beating a unitary Palena.
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OK- I'm going to take nominations for 64 seeds. There will be no first round byes. The top 4 most requested restaurants will get the 1 seeds, the next 4 will get 2 seeds, etc.

Rules:

There will be 4 divisions.

There will be no first round byes.

The top 4 most requested restaurants will get the 1 seeds, the next 4 will get 2 seeds, etc.

All tie breaking votes for seeds will be decided by coin toss. All tie breaking votes for matchups will be decided by coin toss. The coin will probably be my Marine Corps Marathon finisher coin. Because I have no other use for this.

You have through COB on Friday or whenever I start drinking after work to put your votes in for seeding (probably about 5 or so PM).

Brackets will be up by Monday and you'll have 1 week (until cob @ 5 PM the last day) to get your votes in for matchups.

Anyone may vote for the seedings, but please do not vote for matchups unless you have been to both restaurants (you're on your honor)

If you all want to play fantasy pick 'em then by all means, but find someone else to coordinate that :o

I'll try and tally every few days to get the standings.

Remember- talk trash and KEEP ALL VOTES AND TALK ABOUT THIS IN THIS THREAD

Go Hoosiers.

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Washington has come to be known as a major league restaurant town over the course of the past decade. That means that we have chefs who can go toe-to-toe with Eric Ripert and Thomas Keller as world-class chefs. And in a partly whimsical and partly serious sense, can we come up with a Top 10 list...?

I'll go first.

1. Eric Ziebold

2. Jose Andres

3. Michel Richard

4. Patrick O'Connell

5. Johnny Monis

6. Koji Terano

7. R.J. Cooper

8. Frank Ruta

9. Jonathan Krinn

10. Bryan Voltaggio

I suppose I missed Cathal Armstrong, Vikram Sunderam, Tom Power, Ris Lacoste and a few others, but then, maybe we can come up with a consensus Top 15 or Top 20....? I believe there would be quite a few Michelin stars scattered all over this list.

What's your list?

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Is Andres actually cooking in any of his kitchens? I was under the impression that he wasn't, and if he's not, I don't know that he necessarily deserves to be so high on the list.

You've got to be kidding me. He's nominated for a James Beard Award for being the Best Chef In The Untied States.

And! I've heard (but cannot confirm) that Robert Parker ate there and gave it 96 points in his Hedonist's Gazette.

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You've got to be kidding me. He's nominated for a James Beard Award for being the Best Chef In The Untied States.

And! I've heard (but cannot confirm) that Robert Parker ate there and gave it 96 points in his Hedonist's Gazette.

What can I say? Thanks for repeatedly bashing me over the head with the rock I've been living under. ;)

Edit to add: I think the spirit of my point is still valid though if, in the same category as Andres got his nod, Tom Colicchio got a nomination for Craft.

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I don’t think that I could put anyone on my list that is not currently working in the kitchen, so some notables included in yours would be left off, also I am not including anyone whose food I have not personally tried. My list would be (I would not consider the order a ranking as I think that all 10 are in the same category):

1. Johnny Monis – is doing things with food that people with 10 times the experience could not even contemplate.

2. Vikram Sunderam – I think that you have to go to London to find Indian food done better.

3. Masa Kitayama – I have had the best that Koji can muster, and he would be the best sushi chef in almost any city in the country, but what Masa and Nobu are doing at the sushi bar can only be matched in Japan.

4. Eric Ziebold – has elevated himself beyond his impressive resume

5. Cathal Armstrong – he lifts the local bounty to a level few others can.

6. Frank Ruta – He does simple better than anyone else, even the dishes that seem elaborate are really just a compilation of simple yet exceptionally prepared components.

7. Tony Conte – each meal I have had from him seemed to filled with more than a bit of whimsy, not everything I have been served works, but most items far exceed expectations.

8. Tom Power – can anyone do soup better? But he offers so much more.

9. Logan Cox – I think that his cooking has been elevated since moving to New Heights, he is Frank Ruta’s finest student.

10. Todd Gray – an immense and underappreciated talent, I suspect that his new ideas will elevate Equinox when it reopens

Those that I would love to one day add – Ris Lacoste (have not had her food), Bryan Voltaggio (have not tried Volt, and I liked what I had from him at Charlie Palmer, but just not enough to make my list), R.J. Cooper (if I had to choose 11 he would have made the list), Tony Chittum (Don calls his cooking muddy but in a good way, I find that he overpowers his dishes with too much mud – a lighter hand would do him well).

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Why is this necessary? Lists like these, by nature, are exclusive. This means excluding all the hard working people in our industry that don't have expensive press machines pumping them up at every opportunity. Just my opinion.

I agree (while at the same time thinking that Kibbee Nayee took a pretty good stab at it!)

The sad truth is that lists, like point scores, grades, etc., are easy solutions to problems that have no easy solution. That's why they are inherently false, and I don't subscribe to their underlying philosophy.

I think rating restaurants or chefs is every bit as silly as walking around the National Gallery of Art and saying "that Matisse gets 3 stars, the Rousseau (Henri, not Armand) is a 92-pointer, Ginevra di Benci, wow! A+!"

The same applies not only to paintings, but wine, music, and any art form that's stupidly treated as a competitive event. Really, you could even say the same thing about figure skating - basically anything that's not timed by a stopwatch, measured by a scale, or pits one opponent directly against another.

Getting back to the sad truth (mentioned in the second paragraph), how many websites have "Top 10 Lists" that force the user to click through each one individually, the page being refreshed each time with different advertisements? These lists are a guaranteed 10-12 click marketing tool.

"But what about your Dining Guide, Don, where you "rate" things in italic and bold?"

My Dining Guide is a quick reference tool for busy people, and not to be taken with any sort of finality. It changes almost daily, and should never be considered to be "correct," even though it's the best and most thorough work of its kind ever written. ;)

Cheers!

Rocks.

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The sad truth is that lists, like point scores, grades, etc., are easy solutions to problems that have no easy solution. That's why they are inherently false, and I don't subscribe to their underlying philosophy.

[...] basically anything that's not timed by a stopwatch, measured by a scale, or pits one opponent directly against another.

I think this is the key analysis. The problem is that there's no established, indisputable criterion (or set of criteria) that equates to "top." I don't know that I'd use the word "false," but I would say that any rankings of this kind are inherently subjective -- but that's also why the Dining Guide is refreshing; it makes no bones about being completely objective or incontrovertible, and as such is far superior to any list that does make those claims.

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Why is this necessary? Lists like these, by nature, are exclusive. This means excluding all the hard working people in our industry that don't have expensive press machines pumping them up at every opportunity. Just my opinion.

Cause it's fun and people have time to waste? It also allows me to calibrate my taste with those of fellow posters. This is really important since I can then weigh the various posters' opinions. For example, I recently asked for a list of top 5 pizza joints. People who posted their five favorites are much more helpful than people who simply nominated one pizza joint. I happen to love 2 Amys so I'm more likely to follow the taste buds of people who also love 2 Amys.

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Why is this necessary? Lists like these, by nature, are exclusive. This means excluding all the hard working people in our industry that don't have expensive press machines pumping them up at every opportunity. Just my opinion.

François de la Rochefoucauld wrote that “There is merit without rank, but there is no rank without some merit.” Saying that these 10 people are my stars of the local restaurant scene does not demean those that toil in obscurity waiting for their genius and hard work to be discovered, but instead sets a target.

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Cause it's fun and people have time to waste? It also allows me to calibrate my taste with those of fellow posters. This is really important since I can then weigh the various posters' opinions. For example, I recently asked for a list of top 5 pizza joints. People who posted their five favorites are much more helpful than people who simply nominated one pizza joint. I happen to love 2 Amys so I'm more likely to follow the taste buds of people who also love 2 Amys.

There, that's why. Simple as that.

Greetings from San Francisco, by the way....is there a door prize for most far-away post...?

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I also agree with Mark.

Just picked up a copy of 7x7, the "This is San Francisco" magazine. On page 51, I quote:

"To properly consume this restaurant-rich, foodie-friendly town, you need more than a Google map. You need a path to enlightenment. May we recommend our master plan: First, meet the people who make our food world go 'round...." What follows are pages after pages of the San Francisco food stars, including quite a few chef-owners, but also sommeliers and producers. Then follows the 100 things to eat in SF before you die, starting with roast chicken and bread salad at Zuni....by the way, #3 was already on my list, the carnitas taco at La Taqueria. But I may have to add #66, pig parts at Incanto, or #64, sand dabs at Tadich...

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I think one problem is that 10 is an arbitrary number, and the upper echelon of the DC restaurant world may be smaller or larger than that. I would argue that there are 4 or maybe 5 in the top of the DC ranks, others may have 15. My list would have to include some but not all of the second tier, and others would be leaving out people they thought were elite. Right now Don has 9 in bold.

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I think I'd like to add Nathan Anda, Will Artley and a second for Tony Chittum. That one restaurant group could have so many outstanding chefs is remarkable. (I'd also like to add that I've posted from India, Sri Lanka and, much closer to home, Pusan, South Korea, so there ;))

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