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Ruth Reichl: Franklin Should Have Made Cronuts

The critic sheds more light on the disagreement over Franklin Becker's dishes.

By Ruth Reichl

OK, what you really want to know is how cool are Lindsay’s parents? Way cool. You’d like them to be your parents. And if you’re Curtis, you’re really really happy they’re your in-laws. Everyone within a few feet of these people can feel that there’s a mutual love-fest going on.

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The next question is how great are his friends. So great. Every one of the people at that party was someone you wanted to spend all night talking to. They’re the kind of people Aussies are supposed to be -- casual, funny, and a little bit raunchy. Totally loyal to their friends. They make you want to pack up and move to Sydney.

And now you want to know about the food. Most of it was seriously impressive. Sang’s deconstructed Korean BBQ was stunningly smart. It wasn’t just that it was flavorful, vibrant, and fun to eat; it was also the perfect dish for this particular crowd. Sue’s curried crab beignets were irresistible, and they too displayed a real feel for the audience. We practically inhaled them. Doug’s shiitake umami broth was innovative and easy to like, but more than that, it gave you a serious jolt of good energy. 

Now let’s talk about Neal’s lamb kefte. You’ve been spared the serious fight we had about them. I thought they were just what kefte should be: juicy and filled with flavor. Some of my co-judges thought otherwise. But who wants a fat-free meatball? As for those who thought they were too simple... they were meatballs! Simplicity can be a virtue, especially when it tastes this good. 

Those doughnuts, on the other hand... they were leaden. And fairly flavorless. Sorry, Franklin: you should have made us cronuts.

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