Name: Sam Sifton
Previous Posts: New York City public school teacher, New York Press restaurant critic, deputy dining editor, dining editor, deputy culture editor, culture editor at the New York Times.
Tenure at the Times: 8 years
Likes: good sesame noodles, fresh oysters, katsu curry, hip hop
Dislikes: noise, silly menus, AC malfunctions, obscene prices
Sample lede: "They just keep coming, don't they, these restaurants? Each week a new one: new concept, new style, new conceit, new cuisine. This isn't the men's department at Brooks Brothers, after all."
Restaurants he's favored: Chinatown Brasserie, BLT Steak, Babbo, Bar Masa
Restaurants he hasn't: Megu
Funny quote: From a q&a:
Q. Do you party? Do you rock and roll?What his voice sounds like: It can be heard here
-- M.D., New York City
A. Good question, Mr. D. Young Jeezy answers best: "e'rybody know I rep these streets faithfully."
Killer food description: Katsu curry, "a thick, fragrant, porky roux glopped across delicate short-grain rice and topped — gilded, really — with a deep-fried pork cutlet, served beside a tangle of shredded cabbage. It’s great."
Writing Style: Humorous, self-deprecating, smart, rife with cultural and literary references. He's easy and fun to read: in that sense, not too different from the Brunimeister. It seems like he's looking for the best in every restaurant, a good that will mitigate the bad.
Important to Note: He is a proficient and knowledgeable home cook; he has a deep background in writing about budget friendly restaurants for the Times and the Press.
Thoughts on Pizza: Sifton has come up with a "pizza cognition theory," meaning "that the first pies we eat become our lifelong template for pizza perfection. If you were raised on Chicago pizza, or New Jersey tomato pies, that becomes your idée fixe."
Thoughts on the star system: "We don't seek to reduce our arguments about a particular piece of art to a number, or letter grade, or golden spatulas, or whatever...These are numbers that aren't based on any rational or countable thing." Restaurants are for some reason "the exception that proves the rule here."
Thoughts on reporters and critics: "We have reporters and we have critics...Think of them as work horses and show ponies. You can put reporters in saddle and get them to do everything. With the critics, you offer them sugar cubes and some ribbons."
· Potlucky, Sam Sifton makes meatloaf for Nora Ephron
· New York Noodle Town, Sam Sifton's Recipe/Take on Sesame Noodles
· Currying Favor, Sam Sifton tackles Katsu Curry
· Three Ways Till Sunday, Sam Sifton's Lobster Recipes
· THE CHEAT; So You Still Can't Get a Reservation at Babbo?, Sam Sifton on cooking Babbo food at home
· Extreme Cuisine With Anthony Bourdain, Sifton Reviews Boudain.
· BLT Steak
· Spice Market
· Bar Masa
· Da Andrea