Reviews By Borough from The Stats: Wells, Sifton, and Bruni Through Six Months

The Stats: Wells, Sifton, and Bruni Through Six Months

Ariel Kaminsky and Nathan Cyphert

Reviews By Borough

The critics were even on one count: reviews by borough. No surprise. Still, with 25 of his reviews in Manhattan, Wells has been more likely than Sifton (23 restaurants) and Bruni (22) to review restaurants there. At this point, Sifton and Bruni had reviewed restaurants in both Brooklyn (three each) and Queens (one each).

Bruni, the most adventurous, reviewed Blue Hill at Stone Barns as far out of the city as Westchester. You could argue that Dan Barber’s restaurant was a special case. Though Mario Batali’s Tarry Lodge restaurants in Port Chester and Westport could merit similar attention, reviews beyond The Times’ regional sections. If Bruni’s authority stretched that far, why not? Do his outerborough roots (the Rhode Island native calls Brooklyn home) inspire focus on Manhattan? Who knows. But his outerborough reviews include two Brooklyn restaurants.

Ariel Kaminsky and Nathan Cyphert

Star Ratings Given By Critic

The three critics reviewed the same number of restaurants, but Wells’ 50 stars in six months makes him the most generous out of the gate. That’s three more stars than Bruni, and 14 more than Sifton. That generosity was also mirrored in how the new critic distributed stars. Wells bestowed two goose-eggs, seven one-spots, 15 two-fers, three three-star reviews, and reaffirmed one restaurant, Le Bernardin’s, four-star status. The three three-star reviews were on par with Bruni (4) and Sifton (3). But Sifton was more than twice as likely as Wells and five times as likely as Bruni to drop a big fat zero. Both Sifton and Bruni were almost twice as likely as Wells to give a restaurant one star.

Most notably, Wells has been the czar of the two-star review. More than half of the restaurants he has reviewed have gotten two stars. That’s nearly twice as many as Sifton awarded and a third more than Bruni. Does Wells just like restaurants more than Bruni and Sifton? Were their standards higher? Or are the restaurants being reviewed now just consistently better? It’s up for debate. Numbers less so. Wells averaged just points lower than his favorite two-star rating with a 1.8 star average. Bruni’s average through his first six months was 1.7 stars. Sifton was stingiest, giving restaurants on average just 1.3 stars.

Ariel Kaminsky and Nathan Cyphert

Reviews By Location

The critics’ most popular neighborhoods during their first six months? Bruni was most likely to be found in the West Village followed by Midtown West or TriBeCa. Sifton most frequented Midtown West, followed by Midtown East or the West Village. Wells seemed to spend his time more diversely, but was most likely to be spotted in the West Village and the Flatiron, or Midtown West and the East Village.

Ariel Kaminsky and Nathan Cyphert

Cuisines Reviewed By Frank Bruni

During Bruni’s first six months, he reviewed European restaurants nearly half the time, followed by Asian, and American. His three most frequently reviewed cuisines were French, Italian, and Modern American.

Ariel Kaminsky and Nathan Cyphert

Cuisines Reviewed By Sam Sifton

Sifton played favorites, too, reviewing European restaurants about half the time, followed again by Asian, and seafood restaurants. He reviewed Italian restaurants more than a third of the time during his first sixth months, followed by Chinese and French.

Ariel Kaminsky and Nathan Cyphert

Cuisines Reviewed By Pete Wells

You could argue that Wells’ cuisine selection has been more even. During his first six months he reviewed American, Asian, and European restaurants a third of the time. Of the 27 restaurants that Wells reviewed, a whopping eight were Asian. If that seems like an uptick, that’s because it is. At six months, Sifton had reviewed four Asian restaurants, down half from Bruni’s own eight. That’s not to say the restaurants didn’t deserve reviews, but it’s interesting that Wells’ average star rating for them has been… you guessed it, two stars.

Ariel Kaminsky and Nathan Cyphert

Downtown vs Midtown vs Uptown

Wells spent the most time downtown. He and Bruni were more than twice as likely as Sifton to eat there. On the other hand, Sifton was almost a third more likely to review in Midtown as Wells, and three times more likely to dine in a restaurant there as Bruni. And while Wells ventured uptown once, Bruni and Sifton braved nosebleeds at least three times as much.

Ariel Kaminsky and Nathan Cyphert

Manhattan Location Breakdown

The critics’ most popular neighborhoods during their first six months? Bruni was most likely to be found in the West Village followed by Midtown West or TriBeCa. Sifton most frequented Midtown West, followed by Midtown East or the West Village. Wells seemed to spend his time more diversely, but was most likely to be spotted in the West Village and the Flatiron, or Midtown West and the East Village.

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The Stats: Wells, Sifton, and Bruni Through Six Months

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