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S. Irene Virbila is decidedly more enthusiastic about Gordon Ramsay's eponymous restaurant at the London West Hollywood hotel than her peers were with his New York debut. What she deemed a once-staid room is now sparkling with energy, from the Champagnes to the "glamorous" crowd to the lights through the windows. She gives Ramsay high praise for his cooking, even if its chef de cuisine Andy Cook who's doing it on a regular basis. She also saw a change when the man himself made an appearance:
On several of my previous visits, Ramsay was not in town. But this time, three months after the restaurant opened, he is, and what a difference his presence in the house makes. The food didn't approach this level before. It was very correct, but somehow dull -- even though the ingredients and preparations were exactly the same.She said it so we didn't have to. Would the food have been so fabulous if the celeb chef didn't announce his presence by spontaneously stopping to chat at the table next to hers? Two and half stars for Gordon Ramsay at the London (a half-star more than what Frank Bruni gave the NYC sibling). And not one mention of the Hell's Kitchen winner to be found. Today the "S." stands for "star struck." [LAT]
It has to do with the balance of flavors and the crispness of execution. At their best, Ramsey's [sic] dishes have a tension that makes them exciting, and very often that tension is the presence of an acidic element. It's possible I'm making too much of his being on site, and the difference is simply that the kitchen staff has come together as a cohesive team.
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