'Worse than herpes': Restaurant owned by Lady Gaga's parents is slammed by critics… but singer finds food so good she blames it for her sudden weight gain
19:42 GMT, 27 September 2012
The Italian restaurant owned by the parents of Lady Gaga has been slammed once again, this time by the New York Daily News, which called Joanne Trattoria 'worse than herpes'.
But after the music idol blamed her family's Upper West Side restaurant for for her recent 25lbs weight gain, can the simple family establishment, owned by Joseph and Cynthia Germanotta, be that bad
She told radio host Elvis Duran: 'I’m dieting right now, because I gained, like, 25 pounds… My father opened a restaurant. It's so amazing… it’s so freaking delicious, but I’m telling you I gain five pounds every time I go in there.'
Hit hard: Since Joanna Trattoria opened its doors to the public in February, it has received scathing reviews
While paying diners appear to agree with Gaga (Yelp! and Zagat are both littered with rave reviews), since the spot opened its doors in February, it has received only scathing verdicts – the latest published yesterday in the New York Daily News.
After the New York Post's surly Steve Cuozzo popped in for what he called 'a 2 1/2-hour meal that seemed like as many days,' and described the interior as a 'brick-walled affair of the sort considered cozy in certain Brooklyn neighborhoods, but which in these parts registers as plain cramped (and loud as an avalanche),' it seemed the only way the restaurant could go is up.
But despite the trattoria's celebrity connection (Gaga isn't involved in the restaurant), and the kitchen boasting Art Smith, who for years was Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef, reviews continued to take a nose dive.
Famous by association: Music idol Lady Gaga is not involved in the restaurant
The New Yorker, which waited five months to put its own palette to the test, was similarly unimpressed.
Leo Carey, the magazine's senior editor, described a homemade focaccia as 'good in the same way that the garlic bread at Domino’s is good.'
He continued in the July write-up: 'The squid in the grilled-calamari salad, though bearing the browned
marks of grilling, has none of the charcoal richness you might
expect – indeed, it has almost no flavor at all.
he throws the restaurant a bone, calling a few staples 'creditable,'
like the lasagna, 'an overwhelming paving-stone slab of meat and ricotta
with micro-greens on top,' he labels the more 'ambitious dishes' as
going 'uniformly awry'.
'Osso buco is more or less just osso, and such bone marrow as there seems to be is oddly chewy,' he notes.
Finally, Michael Kaminer, one of two dining-out critics at the New York Daily News, called the Italian spot now frequented by Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise, 'an incomprehensible imitation of a restaurant.'
came with an open mind, despite the fact that most of my colleagues
have portrayed Joanne as the worst thing since herpes,' he admits.
taking offense at the restaurant's fine dining prices, which lack the fine dining experience, he says: 'A dry lemon
chicken ($28) did have a discernible taste, but only in its zesty skin.
'The meat itself came closer to those
supermarket birds in foil bags. And people: That $28 doesn’t include
sides. The only adornment is a shriveled lemon segment perched atop the
meat. Sauteed spinach or rosemary fingerling potatoes will set you back
He calls the servers
'sweet, solicitous and patient,' however, adding that 'they genuinely
seem to enjoy sharing the stories behind Joanne’s recipes, like the
Sunday gravy Joe cooks for family.'
goodwill is short-lived however. He continues: '[The] “Expresso” – yes,
with an “x” – for $5 on Joanne’s menu… is more like concentrated
Sanka, but you’ll need it to avoid choking on a tiramisu cake ($14)
whose desiccated base holds gelatinous cream tasting vaguely of
Diners appear to have formed a very different opinion however.
One local, who works in
the food industry, said: 'I have eaten in the restaurant and I know for
a fact that the portrayal in the Daily News was inaccurate and seemed
to be more about selling a sensational story than giving an unbiased
Famous by association: Joanne Trattoria, located on the upper West Side of Manhattan, is owned by Joseph and Cynthia Germanotta, the parents of Lady Gaga
'What they have failed to mention is
the warm, inviting atmosphere the staff happens to create for all of
their customers, regular and otherwise…
'They also failed to taste the
best item on the menu, the meatballs.'
Restaurant critic Gael Greene also had reservations about the pricing, however, writing for The Insatiable Critic:
'Aside from the fine focaccia, a lush lasagna (too small, too pricey)
and my $38 veal osso bucco, much needs to be reconsidered. Okay, the
meatballs and spaghetti were fine – but $23'
Celebrity chef: The restaurant's kitchen boasts Art Smith, who for years was Oprah Winfrey's personal chef
Cozy interior: Yelp! and Zagat are littered with rave reviews, praising the food, the servers' attention to detail and the cozy atmosphere
rave reviews on Yelp! and Zagat praise the food,
the servers' attention to detail and the cozy atmosphere.
Zagat reviewer wrote: 'Met the owner, Cynthia, who was lovely and
engaged. Food is amazing. Service is quick. Decor is very friendly.
Traditional Italian fare with a twist. Comfortable ambiance. If you can
get in..worth it.'
And a Yelp! visitor, possibly one the many groups of young girls chaperoned by their mothers, excitedly tweeting about Gaga, commented: 'Came here for lunch and this place is adorable!'
Celebrity guests: Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise (left) as well as Tony Bennett (right) frequent the restaurant
However these seemingly misguided appraisals are scattered in between even more disturbing quips from unhappy customers.
One restaurant go-er wrote: 'ATROCIOUS! An insult to Italian cooking. This place makes Olive Garden a viable option.'
While a neighbourhood local said: 'Okay. They are passionate. They are trying. They are re-staffing. BUT…they are just not doing it to it…yet. I'll give them a few more tries (because I live next door…and that's the only reason).'