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142 Reviews
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid
Like a lot of people, I love to eat and I love to cook. I have often toyed with the idea of opening a restaurant. I know I'm never going to do it, though. It's a lot of work. Most restaurants fail within their first year. I'm fairly certain that the pleasant fantasy would turn into an unpleasant nightmare if I really tried...but still, a book like this allows me to live...
Published on May 13, 2012 by Robert I. Katz

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61 of 70 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wow, this guy is obnoxious
Not often that I read a memoir and come away repelled by the author. The misogyny (one small example - see what kind of 'broad' a man is with at a restaurant to gauge how much to upsell him on wine), the preening and egotism, the rampant promotion of his restaurants and his wine, the self-satisfaction....what an arrogant, grasping, desperate-for-attention jerk this man...
Published on August 15, 2012 by Allynn T


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61 of 70 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wow, this guy is obnoxious, August 15, 2012
By 
Allynn T (Brooklyn, New York USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Restaurant Man (Hardcover)
Not often that I read a memoir and come away repelled by the author. The misogyny (one small example - see what kind of 'broad' a man is with at a restaurant to gauge how much to upsell him on wine), the preening and egotism, the rampant promotion of his restaurants and his wine, the self-satisfaction....what an arrogant, grasping, desperate-for-attention jerk this man is.

Upped my review to two stars from one because I did read the whole book, in appalled fascination about what self-congratulatory nonsense he'd come up with next. Shook my head at his description of Eataly as some sort of common man's piazza (at those prices? please), open-mouthed at his utter inability to admit failure (his bad restaurants were just ahead of their time - the ideas and food were always good, it was the customers that failed to comprehend the genius). And get comfortable for the long smug passages about his wine knowledge, wine brilliance, wine intelligence, infallible palate and memory for wine - you'll be reading for a while.

Vulgar.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just what you'd expect, June 5, 2012
By 
KGS (St. Louis, MO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Restaurant Man (Hardcover)
Everyone knows this guy is a jerk, so the book is no surprise. Sort of sad. Anyone this full of bluster and self-promotion must be terribly insecure.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No Need To Prove You're Macho, September 23, 2012
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This review is from: Restaurant Man (Hardcover)
Great book, but the use of expletives to prove what a Macho Man he is is unnecessary. He seems to want to prove himself worthy of being in the company of his mother and Bruno. He is successful in his own right without adding to his image. The language only detracts from the worthiness of the book. In fact, it ruins it!!!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the worst book I have ever read., July 22, 2012
By 
Cooosh (Glenview, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Restaurant Man (Hardcover)
The writing is horrible. Joe presents himself as an arrogant, entitled, judgemental, immature and obnoxious human being. I presume, in his position, he must have publicists or media handlers and I cannot imagine why they would want to shape his public image in this negative way.
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65 of 81 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 10% readable; 90 % trash, May 15, 2012
By 
Peg L. (Rhode Island) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Restaurant Man (Hardcover)
I found portions of the book on how restaurants work to be interesting.

However...and this is a big however....Bastianich's ego, snobbery and fondess for swearing made only about 10% of this book worth reading.

And after reading the following, I felt very sorry for his wife: "What's the worst that could happen? You drink a bottle of wine that you don't fall in love with? You can 'F-Bomb' a lot of broads before you buy a diamond ring." Very nice. That attitude must really give his wife the warm and fuzzies.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a self infatuated bafoon, June 1, 2012
By 
w langelier (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Restaurant Man (Hardcover)
This guy lacks class but will never recognize it. I feel sorry for his mother who does have class.The book is not worth reading because it is so self promoting,egotistical and uninformative. Who would go to a restaurant where the owner( Joey B) boast about seeking out swordfish at the wholesale fish market that is about to go bad for a bargain of 4 dollars a pound? That says it all about this guys ethical posture and respect for his customer's health and well being. This is one to forget.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Self-congratulatory and poorly written, September 30, 2012
This review is from: Restaurant Man (Hardcover)
Joe Bastianich is a genius and a pioneer. Don't believe me? Just ask him; he'll tell you how much of the restaurant experience as we now know it he invented, over the course of 288 poorly written pages. It's not often you find yourself wishing that a memoirist had used a ghost writer, or a stronger editor for that matter, but I think either would have improved this vanity project.

Perhaps the best way to read this book would be to start at the end, where Bastianich writes of his children, who he clearly loves. He worries that they will never discover the ability to find their way in the world without relying on the family connections he has cultivated in the food industry or the wealth he has built and speaks of, perhaps excessively. He worries that they might never be able to start from scratch, with no help from others, as he did. If the reader then starts at the beginning of the book, where Bastianich details learning from his parents and then exploiting their food and wine industry connections in order to wander aimlessly in Europe as the indulged son of a successful mother, you realize the level of delusion of this "self-made" man. There's no doubting he has worked hard to achieve the success that brought the contract for this book but I'm certain there wouldn't be such a long list of restaurants to his credit without Lydia Bastianich and Mario Batali out in front, being much more likable than the Joe Bastianich presented in these pages.

The contradictions of being Joe Bastianich are legion. He seems to hold a disdain for celebrity chefs while his career seems to exist primarily because of two of them. He claims he didn't want to simply license his name to a Vegas restaurant (lazy and money-grubbing, he calls it) but then complains that Steve Wynn didn't "get" what he does and wanted him to actually be in the restaurant more than he or Batali was willing. He writes as though Manhattan were the only city that could ever appreciate his work properly, failing to mention the outposts of his dining empire in Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

Bastianich calls himself a rule-breaker and a badass but I think referring to anyone as a badass is best done by their admirers and not by themselves, which brings us to this book's biggest weakness. Joe Bastianich is self-referential in this book to a degree that even Garth Brooks, Madonna or Jesus Christ would find tedious. Bar dining? He invented it. Italian wines? He got everyone drinking them. I kept turning pages wondering when I would be told that he invented cutlery and plates.

Bastianich is at once crude and over-reaching. His approach to this book seems to have been to overuse (and misuse) the words he learned in Philosophy 101, in order to impress the reader that he is something more than a Queens Gino (his phrase), while at the same time using crude and misogynistic language in adequate measure to ensure his credibility with the boys whose approval he craves.

Bastianich has achieved much in his career. It's too bad that he didn't lean more heavily toward an analysis of his own success instead of a long tribute to it. He acknowledges few mis-steps here, choosing to lay blame for his failures with customers who weren't savvy enough to comprehend his genius.

In the end, I found myself enjoying the book for the nuggets of insider knowledge dispensed on the restaurant industry but wading through too many pages between readable passages. That won't keep me from visiting the Batali-Bastianich restaurants but it wouldn't be in the hopes of meeting the author.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Self-important Jerk, March 28, 2013
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This review is from: Restaurant Man (Hardcover)
He's such an arrogant jerk it's hard to appreciate the merits of the book because you have to view them through the lens of this jackass. I think he never really fit into his fancy prep school and with the wall street crew, so he adopted this overbearing persona to compensate. But that's just me playing armchair psychiatrist. I work in NY and have been to some of his restaurants, but I don't think I'll go back. Mainly because it sounds like he makes a game of sizing you up the second you cross the threshold and then congratulates himself on swindling you. And the bit with the wines - come on! Believe it or not, restaurants were serving Italian wine in NYC before you showed up, Joe. I guess his business success is undeniable, but as a person he is so repulsive that I think a little balance is needed on his part. You don't have to be a pretentious braggart to be considered accomplished.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, May 13, 2012
By 
Robert I. Katz (Port Jefferson, New York USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Restaurant Man (Hardcover)
Like a lot of people, I love to eat and I love to cook. I have often toyed with the idea of opening a restaurant. I know I'm never going to do it, though. It's a lot of work. Most restaurants fail within their first year. I'm fairly certain that the pleasant fantasy would turn into an unpleasant nightmare if I really tried...but still, a book like this allows me to live the dream without any risk other than the price of the book.

I've read the negative reviews and I found most of them to be irrelevant. One reviewer is savaged and I have read a plaintive comment from this reviewer complaining he was misquoted. Maybe, but all of the other restaurant critics in the book are regarded with respect. Sirio Machioni, of Le Cirque fame, is spoken of disparagingly, but Bastianich's statement that Le Cirque has not grown with the times nor kept up with changing tastes, that the restaurant's clientele has grown old and that younger diners no longer go there, is probably accurate.

There are some contradictions. For one, the idea that a restaurant should grow with the times and keep up with changing tastes would seem to be directly contradicted by the many statements that the vision and the art and mission of each restaurant is timeless, that a great restaurant will live forever. At one point, Bastianich, who makes wine in Italy, states that most wine is overpriced as it costs no more than 5 dollars to make any bottle of wine. In other parts of the book, he bemoans the tremendous costs of running a vineyard and making wine.

Still, I found the story fascinating. Bastianich, his family, his friends and his partners have become a major part of the American food scene over the past 30 years. Anybody who wants to open a restaurant should read it and anybody who loves good food should enjoy it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A total waste of time, July 18, 2012
This review is from: Restaurant Man (Hardcover)
I didn't bother to finish this book. This book could have been written without all the curse words,badmouthing everyone, sounding like a total jerk. I feel sorry for his mother whom I am sure is not proud of his filthy mouth. When you can't speak or write without using this language sure does show a lot of low class. This idiot needs to get over himself.
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Restaurant Man
Restaurant Man by Joseph Bastianich (Hardcover - May 1, 2012)
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