FOUR EVERY SEASON: “It doesn’t get any classier than this,” read the advertisement for The Four Seasons restaurant that appeared in the New York Post last week. And right now, it doesn’t get any cheaper, either. The full-page ad was promoting a $59 prix fixe, celebrating the eatery’s opening in 1959, which will be offered during lunch and dinner in the Pool Room for all of 2009. Amusingly, Post food critic Steve Cuozzo slammed the deal two weeks earlier, writing about the roasted guinea fowl: “So weak a dish is a sure sign that the kitchen’s heart isn’t in its bargain menu. The parched bird — a moisture-shy creature requiring care so it doesn’t emerge bone-dry — reflected the pattern at the $59 meals I had, when three entrées in four were shocking letdowns.”
Four Seasons co-owner Julian Niccolini insisted the ad’s placement was not a reaction to Cuozzo’s review. “Absolutely not.” And he added, “I was very disappointed because he ate all his food, and he didn’t say anything while he was here” — as if it’s standard procedure for a critic to notify a restaurateur in advance of writing a review. “But they’re there to sell papers; they’re not there to help us out.” Niccolini also said the special prix fixe isn’t a sign the restaurant’s high-powered clientele are cutting their lunch bills in these tough economic times. Only his decision to run this particular advertisement in the Post, rather than The New York Times, was. “It’s not that expensive,” he said.
This story first appeared in the February 3, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.