When it comes to visiting a new restaurant for the first time, especially one that has not yet established a reputation, critics have varying opinions on what dishes should act as the calibration for their review. If you're going to an Italian restaurant, most agree that basic marinara sauce should be your test. Some critics claim their radars are attuned to things even more elemental: good-quality olive oil, aged vinegars, homemade stock, and the distinctly acrid taste of fryer grease that needs changing. Most concur that if you're going to a breakfast place, the deceptively simple poached egg is a pretty good indicator of what the rest of your meal will be like. I interviewed a chef once who told me that even if your restaurant doesn't have eggs on the menu, everyone on your line should be able to make them poached, sunny-side up, over medium, and in an omelet, or they have no business working in a restaurant. If that sounds unreasonable, just think back to the last time a too-runny egg managed to put you off your whole brunch. It's the worst. For my father, who is admittedly not a professional critic but makes a good point nonetheless, the mark of a good restaurant is simple, and he encountered it when we visited the Kenwood, a new restaurant in — you guessed it — Kenwood, owned and run by critically acclaimed chef Don Saunders. "Well, they serve their beer at the right temperature," he declared after his first sip of a Fulton. Things were... More >>>