Today New York Times critic Sam Sifton delivered a spanking to Xiao Ye, Eddie Huang's small but brash Lower East Side restaurant that serves "American-born Chinese diner food," awarding it a goose egg. It's almost as if Sifton wanted it to be good and genuinely wrote the review to encourage Huang to get his shit together. "But if Mr. Huang really wants to stand for delicious, he is going to need to work harder," wrote Sifton.
Huang is a regular blogger known to speak his mind and harangue critics — he called Time Out New York "The Magazine for Murray Hill Tourists" after a negative review — but he took Sifton's review to heart. He wrote on his blog today: "[W]ho wants a star if you didn't earn it? I loved this review... I'm going to change my attitude. I didn't know people expected more of me. I never thought I'd even be up for review with the NYT... But am I going to change this time? Yes. I can't just wing it anymore. People are paying good money for this."
And then he posted an email from his mom that a. reminded him to keep his bar license active just in case, and b. gave him what for. She wrote a lot, here is but a sample:
I feel it is a review of your life... You have so many different fabulous talents, but to focus, and to perfect it is very crucial. No matter what career you explore, there always going to deal with: discipline, honest hard work, social skills, leadership ON TOP OF YOUR PERSONAL TALENTS... Your talents will not shine or truly succeed until you have satisfied the basics that other competitors have already.
Mom is always right! Huang is currently on vacation in St. Maarten, but in his response, referring to his other successful restaurant Baohaus, he wrote, "It's on and poppin when I get back... You all know how good baohaus is after I parked my fat ass there for 6 months." We look forward to Sifton's re-review in one year's time.