Two months since its opening, Mix continues to elicit a mixed reaction from food critics, primarily in terms of the dining experience. Last week William Grimes wrote of Mix, "Someone needs to tell Mr. Ducasse that Americans, even if they do watch a lot of television and have short attention spans, do not need to be distracted every second that they are in a restaurant. Mix is fun, but a little less fun might work just as well."
Adam Platt of New York Magazine writes: "Of course, Monsieur Ducasse’s version of a good-old fashioned meal is different from yours and mine. Mix may be a spin-off, but being a Ducasse restaurant, it has nothing casual about it. The tone of the place. . . is elaborately, even purposely confused. It’s a mad jumble of transatlantic styles and intentions, an entire restaurant lost in translation." and ". . . some of the dishes have a stilted, off-key quality."
Certain places flagrantly take customers to the cleaners. Two weeks ago, I called out new Alain Ducasse-backed Mix over its obscene prices, which much of the foodie press seems determined to deny. The Times reported Mix's pre-fixe dinner options as $48 or $58. It unfathomably chose not to mention the $72 option - the only one that includes a real entr‚e, and the one most diners will want.
The new Zagat Survey ranks Mix as "E" for expensive. In the zany world of Zagat, "E" means $31-$50 for dinner per head with one drink and a tip. At Mix, $31 will cover a glass of wine plus tax and tip, leaving maybe $4 for food. Eat up! Pretending prices don't matter is unfair both to customers and restaurants.
But never fear, dear foodies and fans of Monsieur Ducasse! Egullet.com's Steven "Fat Guy" Shaw has come to the rescue, defending Ducasse from the haters who clearly do not understand the concept of fun and tremble in the shadow of cool! He writes,
Mix is fun.
If you don't like fun, don't go to Mix. If you don't like fun restaurants, don't go to Mix. If your exclusive idea of culinary fun is going to La Caravelle at 6:30pm and sitting all night with a Dover sole and a $2,000 bottle of wine, don't go to Mix.
There are a lot of people for whom Mix simply is not the right restaurant, including, it seems, the major New York City restaurant reviewers: William Grimes of The New York Times advocates "a little less fun." Adam Platt of New York Magazine calls it "busyness on a grand Euro-centric scale." And rumor has it that died-in-the-wool Alain-Ducasse-hater Gael Greene (who doesn't even like Ducasse's restaurant in Paris), no longer having access to the reviewer's podium at New York Magazine, wrote an off-the-record review of her own, scribbling "POOR" across her check when she dined there during the restaurant's first week.
With these assessments, the current crop of New York restaurant reviewers continues to express its collective literary death wish and to further its descent into irrelevance, further expanding the vacuum for Zagat to fill. Because every night at Mix, there they are: people, customers, readers -- sophisticated, well-heeled, young, experienced restaurant-goers . . . having fun. And if restaurant reviewers fail to speak to them, they'll seek other sources.
Mix is cool.
Ultimately, the success of Mix depends not on the food critics, but on the diners. And last I checked they were a comfort food, fun loving, and cool seeking crowd.