9
Jul 04

The news is a few months old, but I’ve only just read it and didn’t see mention of it in the blog:

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 344 views

The news is a few months old, but I’ve only just read it and didn’t see mention of it in the blog:

The 50 best restaurants in the world, according to Restaurant magazine. The blog world has been all up in arms about it for one reason or another.

Personally, I find the idea of making such a list — the best restaurants, not my favorite restaurants — surreal and ridiculous, enough so that I can’t mind it. Competence you could quantify, sure: and quality of service, and price (but how do you account for different local economies, in that case?), and freshness of ingredients: but how on Earth do you even establish criteria for “the best,” much less weigh them?

And even if Grape Ape and the Superfriends give you the powers you need to accomplish that, how are you capable of determing the 50 best restaurants right now — or even this year? Ideally, you’d go to each more than once: let’s say you go to each twice, that’s 100 restaurant visits represented by the top 50 … which leaves only 265 dining days, which means at best you’re picking your top 50 from a preselected list of 200 or so (in the world!), or you’re not going to a restaurant more than once, or you’re comparing lunches, dinners, and brunches.

And that assumes you only eat out.

The more likely option is that few, if any, of the 300 judges have been to all 50 top restaurants this year, much less a significant number of those restaurants not selected — that the list represents, at its topmost ranks, the significant overlap of its judges’ experiences (which accounts for the French Laundry, as well as Nobu London instead of Nobu New York — it’s a UK-based magazine, so more judges would have been to Nobu London); and at its middle and lower ranks, those favorites which have garnered good reputations or happen to have a handful of fans among people who eat for a living.

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