How hard is it for a restaurant to earn three stars in the New York Times? Real estate journalist Michael R. Stoler posits the question to four New York City chefs/restaurateurs whose restaurants have earned the rare rating: chef/owner Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar and Grill), chef Markus Glocker (Batard), chef Bryce Shuman (Betony), and restaurateur Drew Nieporent (Tribeca Grill, Nobu). The four gentlemen discuss if/how price is a factor in critics' judgement, the authority of the NYT, and how a three-star review impacts business. "We were dead," Shuman says of the early days at Betony, which received its three-star rating in August 2013. "When we opened, we were doing maybe 20-30 covers in a space that was 135, 140 seats... That review came about, and it was like you were on a horse, and somebody just smacked the back of it, really hard."
Nieporent also puts things in perspective, pointing out how a three-star review will "pay dividends" in the increasingly competitive restaurant scene. "In the calendar year, there's only 52 weeks... so there's 52 restaurants that are going to get reviewed," Nieporent says. "Sometimes there's 52 restaurants that open in a month. The restaurants that get reviewed, basically, everyone gets two stars if you do good. The New York Times will tell you that one star is 'good,' but the populace is not gonna waste time with the one-star restaurants." Stoler also asks the chefs how they feel about gluten-free diners, because why not. Go, watch the stimulating conversation above.