Shocker: Josh Ozersky Thinks the Restaurant Letter Grading System Deserves an ‘F’


It comes as little surprise that Josh Ozersky has come out against the new restaurant letter grading system — most true epicureans are. In his latest Time column, he highlights some of the gravest crimes against cuisine that New York City’s Department of Health perpetuates, some even more lamentable than frozen sushi. Quoth Mr. Cutlets:

Case in point: fresh mozzarella, one of the greatest gifts of Italy to the world, is instantly and irretrievably ruined when it goes into a refrigerator. It’s meant to be eaten warm, with tepid, salty milk-water dripping profusely from it. In New York, even when experts make mozzarella in-house from curds and warm water, they are forced to plunge it into ice water, turning it into a white rubbery blob good only for sealing window cracks.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of fluffy, bouncy Campania bufala knows the man is right. He goes on to rant against the lack of recognition of sous vide cooking, and the fact that chefs have to hide their house-made charcuterie. Of course, these regulations were in place before the grading system was introduced, but the problem is that lay diners will now judge restaurants based on their grades without knowing that, to get an A, a chef might have to compromise his standards or serve something downright inferior. And, yes, much of this has been said before. But redundancy is sometimes necessary to drive home a point.