Welcome to Sift Happens, the latest in a long line of offerings for Times dining section junkies in which we preview and handicap tomorrow's restaurant review. Before there was Sift Happens there was WellsWagering; and before that there was Ballpark Frank; and before that there was BruniBetting. Now there is this.
Tomorrow, Sam Sifton files his third "Restaurants" review, and true to his $25 and Under and NYPress heritage, he's making a star out of Flushing Cantonese spot Imperial Palace.
PLAYBOOK: Once in a blue moon, Sam Sifton's predecessor, Frank Bruni, ventured outside the Manhattan borders to bestow some loving on outer-borough gems. Sripraphai (two stars) and Spicy and Tasty (also a deuce) come to mind. Oftentimes, such a review meant the place was so good, so worthy of a long 7 train ride that it merited the deuce. Schlepping to a onespot? No thanks. But friends, we inhabit a whole new era. A man who knows his outer-borough ethnic spots well won't limit his column inches simpy to two-star spots. So, we're most likely looking at a straightforward one-star review in which Sifton puts a Chowhounder favorite on the broader map—with pop music references and plenty of exclamation points.
SIFT HAPPENS: But if Sift Happens, and he wants to make it clear that his reign will be all about the outer boroughs, it takes home the three.
LINE: Sift Happens: 250-1; Two Stars: 3-1; One Star: 2-1 [Imperial Palace Reviewed; NYT; after ~8 PM]