Gothamist, fond of Amanda Hesser ever since we saw cook from her book, The Cook and the Gardener, at Fairway a few years ago, has to hand it to her. In her review of Masa, the swank $300 prix-fixe Japanese restaurant at the TimeWarner Center, she refuses to give it a rating...but not because it's bad:
Masa is my last review as the interim restaurant critic. After several visits, my impressions are firm: four stars when dining at the sushi bar and three stars at the tables. If forced, I could settle on one, but I would rather not. Instead, I will look forward to reading, in the future, what The Times's new permanent critic, Frank Bruni, thinks of it.
Oh, Gothamist, gets it, but, come on, in any other case, there would be "*** (restaurant)/**** (bar)" (read the review for more context). But, no, the last review is left mysterious, crazy, maybe a little beaten down. It is, in short, a "fuck you, fuck-o" review. Ah, Amanda, a couple months on the food critic beat will do that to you. Hopefully, Sam Sifton has a soybean farm in Nebraska for you to visit where you can recharge.
Eurotrash's slam and later parody of Hesser, Felix Salmon on Hessergate, and Amateur Gourmet's Moderate Defense of Amanda Hesser. Gothamist on Masa's chef, Masa Takayama, and his strict ways. And Gothamist on Amanda Hesser.