Steve Cuozzo Wages War on Williamsburg Food Scene

12/23/2010 9:43 AM |


The Brooklyn backlash continues! Steve Cuozzo, the grumpiest critic at New York’s trashiest paper, thinks Williamsburg is overrated. Legitimate criticism or red meat for his audience of semi-literate mouth-breathers?

Its restaurants wouldn’t receive one-sixteenth the attention they get if so many food writers and bloggers didn’t live there or nearby. There are better places to eat in Red Hook, Downtown Brooklyn and in unfashionable Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge. The stomping ground of subsidized slackers who spend fortunes trying to look poor, Williamsburg needs a one-year media blackout. Maybe it will encourage restaurants to prepare themselves for real-world scrutiny.

He is right in that Williamsburg gets an inordinate amount of coverage thanks to the fact that so many writers live there (guilty!). It’s the last part of his quote that rubs me the wrong way, like Sarah Palin’s s’more dig at Michelle Obama. Just substitute any Williamsburg resident for the elitist, latte-sipping, organic produce-growing intellectual and readers from more conservative areas of New York as Joe Six-Pack and you’ve a classic case of pointless class warfare. Quite frankly the whole “Oh look at the trust-fund kid with his skinny jeans and asymmetrical l haircut!” shtick got old a long time ago. I don’t know anybody living off a trust-fund and other tired Williamsburg stereotypes just don’t hold up if you take a stroll down most Williamsburg streets. If anything, the neighborhood is becoming more conventional by the day, with strollers and condos replacing Cuozzo’s much-hated hipsters.

No disrespect to Red Hook, Downtown Brooklyn, Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge, which are all great neighborhoods with fantastic restaurants, but really Steve Cuozzo? You stepped into Marlow & Sons, Dressler, Pies ‘N’ Thighs, Peter Luger and Motorino and said “Fuck it, I’m going to Downtown Brooklyn where I can get some real food.” Really? We get it; you think Williamsburg is annoying. I think that sometimes and I live here. But to disparage the work of some genuinely talented and hard-working chefs and restaurateurs so you can stir up some controversy and get the red blood of your readers boiling is both lazy and crass. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to ride my fixed-gear bike to my local CSA to prepare for my underground supper club tonight.