Nothing gets Eater or Curbed commenters riled up more than a thread about Williamsburg (please see Masten Lake). Add in restaurant world scene-maker Taavo Somer, a demanding artistic chef, alleged emotional abuse in the kitchen, and the complete overhaul of a hyped and superbly eccentric restaurant and the discussion gets really good. Here, our top 11 comments from yesterday's IsaGate, Taavo-haters, Williamsburg doubters, potty-mouths, and all:
1) "...i am done with all of taavo somers restaurants - there are so many other good guys in this business with awesome places to support. done with this wacko. triangle mirrors and vintage weird speakers in the bathroom and high design Scandinavian chairs - but the damn toilet rocks back and forth! they make espresso and americanos, but they wont make a machiato or cappuccino. done with these bozos."
2) "It's laughable because it proves that the entire dining 'scene' in Williamsburg is based on public relations and hype."
3) "I worked at Isa, don't have an axe to grind or a bias whatsoever and all I can really say for sure is that this had to happen. Not because of business. It was always busy there. But the kitchen was running a self promotional terror show. Talented crew but arrogant and abusive. Not the usual kitchen abuse either. The you leave work crying type of abuse and fear for your life at work. Good luck to all there."
4) "Kids menu. Says it all right there.= Freemans is the worst crap there is."
5) "We can't deny that Tavo runs scenester restaurants, hence my 'insecure' inkling. Perhaps, I'm insecure. You can get a confirmation from my therapist."
6) "My impression was that the food was weird. Weird and excellent in Manhattan is one thing but weird, just ok and too expensive for the neighborhood in W'burg is something else."
7) "Anyone who liked Isa for what it was knows that the experience could be incredibly frustrating - some dishes were sublime and other was just awful. Awful for one seating is bad enough - but night after night of the head chef insisting on 'educating' the customers is a recipe for career suicide. Some people 'not getting it' is one thing but the menu and experience was polarizing. Perhaps Ignacio sees himself as the next Ferran Andria but his food is not that inventive or varied. Two entrees a night - one being the poached to a custard consistency Cod that was widely derided in reviews - is not particularly smart."
8) "Nobody cares about brooklyn and williamsburg you cry, until you have the slightest opportunity to seize on hope that there are problems there and you litter this trap for the captured fever dreams of shitbirds and dickrots like so many stains in poor wiper's undergraments."
9) "Yeaaaaa, because peels and freeman's are known for their great food. The 'delivery' thing is a red alert that this guy is dying for money."
10) "Is it too early to put in a vote to nominate Isa for Shitshow Week?"
11) "Williamsburg is not ready for anything remotely close to fine dining. It's a cheap tacos and beer kinda neighborhood. It has everything to do with demographics (the numbers of which seem to elude chefs here). 75% of the tragically hip trend setters have moved on to other neighborhoods or settled down, had a kid and moved to Park Slope. Those were the people with disposable income for restaurants. Those residents have been replaced by families with very small children, many of whom rarely eat out. Certainly a lot less than when they were childless. The rest of the neighborhood is low and middle income, blue collar and would never consider going to Isa or Masten Lake. They probably don't know these places exist.
The chefs who open in Williamsburg seem to be opening these places 7 years too late. If you weren't here when Diner and Marlow first caught the attention of the crowd, you are late to the game and following a demographic that is fleeing for greener pastures."
· Isa Temporarily Closes Amid Rumors of Staff Shake-Up [~ENY~]
· Taavo Somer Clears Kitchen at Isa, Possibly for Revamp [~ENY~]
· Taavo Somer on Isa's New 'Mediterranean Vision' [~ENY~]