There is nothing quite like the comments section of a food blog. Shots are fired left and right, and verbal bombs are lobbed indiscriminately—in this case, all in the name of a bowl of ramen.
Earlier this week, Eater food critic Ryan Sutton dropped a two-star review of Mu Ramen in Long Island City, which offers a $18 oxtail and bone marrow ramen. Sutton writes, “The correct price for that dish, per Smookler, should be $26. ‘I wish everyone would understand what it takes to make soup,’ the chef says. ‘People think it’s cheap, but it’s really not.'”
Down in the comments section, “jkaww” criticizes Mu Ramen’s prices, saying they are unjustified. Jkaww writes,
This “I shouldn’t be paying over X amount of money for a bowl of ramen” isn’t a sentiment we haven’t heard a thousand times before. Diners don’t want to pay money for foods they have already deemed cheap. Ramen is one of those foods, along with most non-Western foods, to be fair. Case in point: people will pay $20+ for pasta with sauce, but balk at $10 Thai noodles made with the same quality of ingredients.
Mu Ramen chef Joshua Smookler felt compelled to respond to Jkaww’s negative criticism with his own comment. Smookler writes,
The chef then welcomes jkaww to “come into Mu Ramen, price out all the things we buy, work in our kitchen from start to finish, see our bottom line and see what kind of effort we put into our food.”
Smookler continues, “[then] you might have a completely different opinion or it may stay the same, but at least you will be more informed and not so ignorant. However, this I can guarantee, you will definitely walk away knowing that we are definitely not fleecing our guests but in fact undercharging for most of our menu items considering industry averages.”
The first part about ignorance feels like a personal attack on jkaww, which isn’t exactly a good look for Smookler. Another commenter in the thread, Socko, calls the chef’s response “pathetic.” Socko writes,
A different commenter, Miami Danny, says he “lost interest in the restaurant after seeing the chef’s comments.”
The question here is: Do we admire chefs who feel compelled to argue back, or do they just come off sounding like dicks? Leave your own opinion, criticism, and name-calling in the comments section below.