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Paula Deen's "The Lady and Sons"... seventeen thumbs down!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, Raymond Sokolove in today's Wall Street Journal probably doesn't have that many thumbs, but they'd all be down if he did.

I don't think I've ever read such a scathing restaurant review. Everything he tried, apparently, was not good enough to qualify as merely lousy. :eek: He follows up this tender evaluation with directions to nearby restaurants in Savanna where you can get the good Low-country food.

He says locals feel it went bad when she expanded from 85 seats to 360 in 15,000 square feet. And he points out, with trepidation, that they're in the process of adding two more floors of dining space.

Guess I'll stick to her on TV.

Mike
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #2 of 15
Raymond Sokolov is someone whose culinary credentials I admire and trust. I'm not that surprised now that her recipes are half Sandra Lee-inspired (cup of mayonnaise, a boxed biscuit mix, etc.). She's become a TV personality and lost her way. I used to adore watching her but now I flip the channel clicker past her.

Another one ruined, courtesy of Food Network and overexposure. :(
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post #3 of 15
I tell you what -- I'm a pretty tough critic (although an extremely nice person ;-) and Sandra to this day probably still hates me, however I think Paula has come a long way. Look at what that single mom of 2 boys has accomplished! Yes, I believe anyone in front of the camera has a responsibilty to the undisclosed audience viewing them, especially on a network that is based on "teaching," but again, let me reiterate what I and fellow cheftalkies have said, the FN is entertainment. As for her restaurant, I have not had the opportunity to sample her food nor the atmosphere. If I did and found it appealing, I would make it known. If I did not like the experience, I would also be honest and communicate what I found distasteful, on every level.

Typing fast, gotta run! Excuse the typos!!! Cheers, Stevie
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #4 of 15
That's too bad. My wife and I took my mother and father to the Eighth Air Force Museum in Savannah eight years ago. It was a cool and emotional weekend for my father. We had a buffet brunch there I thought was terrific. Great fried chicken with giblet gravy, and this kind of different mac and cheese stick out in my mind. It was a fun place, and one of her sons went from table to table talking to people. My daughter was about two, and they treated her like a princess. I think the personal southern feel of it was a big part of the experience.

Of course this was pre-Food Network, and the way I remember it, I don't see how it could have even seated 85 at that time. Pretty hard to offer up the Southern charm when you seat 360 on a couple floors.

Bigger's not always better.

Kevin

I like muskies.
post #5 of 15
I've worked on two of Paula's cookbooks, and just finished editing her brother's book (Uncle Bubba's Savannah Seafood), which will be out sometime next year. I've never eaten at either place -- never been to Savannah, although it's on the list of places I want to go -- and frankly, if I ever get there, I doubt I will now that I know some of the recipes. Then again, f they make use of some of the great raw ingredients available, and treat them with respect, they might be worth trying. But I fear that respect for the ingredients' quality is lacking.

(The "reviews" of Uncle Bubba's Oyster House on Citysearch were pretty scathing, too. :( )
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #6 of 15
I absolutely agree with Stevie's point about Paula Deen overcoming a lot of hardship (agoraphobia and poverty are big things to overcome) and applaud her for doing so. The same is true of Sandra Lee's early personal life. But lordy- what those women can do to perfectly good provisions! I would not be at all surprised to hear sad news that Paula Deen suffered a heart attack (all that butter and mayonnaise!) or that Sandra Lee had a stroke (excessive amounts of sodium in her food). :(

Suzanne, I wish I'd been a fly on the wall to hear your comments as you dealt with Bubba's book....
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post #7 of 15
I read her cookbooks during my foray into Southern Cooking. I thought they were awful. Then I discovered she had a restaurant and couldn't fathom these were the dishes they served. Then I learned she had a TV show (I don't have any subscription TV service) and was completely flabbergasted.

I agree with Suzanne and I know less about the whole thing than she does.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #8 of 15
Phil talked about Southern cooking well being from the South I feel I can add my two cents here. I do not own any of Paula Deens or Sandra Lees cookbooks why? Well thats the advantage of being able to thumb through them at the bookstore before buying. I think Paula has kind of lost touch with what got her to where she is. And like MuskyHopeful said bigger is not always better. If I ever got to Savannah I would most likely by pass the restaurant and go straight to the old cemetery they have there. I have heard and read some way out things about that place.

Rgds Rook
post #9 of 15
Well, at least with Paula Deen she was raised to cook the proper way and owns a restaurant... with Sandra Lee she just throws a bunch of packets together, throws in a can of tuna and a can of soup and calls it a meal. Her skills and knowledge set and horrendous.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #10 of 15
I ate at The Lady & Sons in December on a trip to Savannah(a wonderful City).I was a lone diner but I was made to feel very welcome.I was given a piece of cornbread and a Hoecake first just for a taster and the Hoecake with Maple syrup was one of the nicest things I have ever put in my mouth.(No jokes please!).My entree was the Savannah Crabcakes,very nice but a little highly seasoned for my palate.I couldn't manage a dessert but I asked my waitress if I might try a small piece of fried chicken from the buffet which was delicious!I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the prices were very reasonable.My bill came to $105 but $65 of that was for a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne!:crazy: I think people have too high expectations sometimes.Paula Deen doesn't pretend to be a fine dining High Priestess.She does good home cooking and that's what you get.
post #11 of 15
Indianwells -- you raise a good point about Miss Paula's restaurant: she wants people to feel welcome and comfortable. And that counts for a lot. :D And you are absolutely right: she never claims to be providing haute cuisine, just "good Southern cooking."

It's just that a lot of us here (including some of us Northerners ;) ) can cook the same stuff just as well or better. :lol:

For those who love her (or not :rolleyes: ): Watch for another book* from her in a few months, this one a memoir (with recipes). She is very forthcoming about her problems, and admits that she is not always a nice person. Her fans may be a bit shaken, but will come out still lovin' her to death. :p

*Yeah, I worked on this one, too; I am now part of the Paula juggernaut. :look: She just loves us editors, each one pickier than the last. That's good, 'cause she really needs us. :lol:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #12 of 15
Paula's attraction is her irreverent and warm southern personality. Her success is born from that personality and some serious perseverence. I'm sure there a million other southerners and yankees that can cook as well as Paula Dean, but her personality is one in a million. Whether she's genuinely as fun and interesting in person I will not speculate on, but if it's fake, she deserves an award.
post #13 of 15

Paula

Well, I ate there 2 or 3 years ago. It was ok. just ok. From what I remember it was pretty typical of the many many meat and 3 Ive eaten at through the years here in the deep south where I have lived my whole life. (I dont think it is classified as a "meat and 3", but that's what it was like to me.) Let me tell ya, I love these kind of establishments...but Im used to spending between 5 and 8 dollars for a big good meal.

Ive never watched Paula, Ive just seen clips. (Im embarrassed to say her accent is a little strong for me. Shameful, huh, coming from a girl from Birmingham?:blush: ) So I cant really comment on her cooking or recipes. I have seen enough to know she's not trained in the culinary arts. This, of course, doesn't (and shouldn't) preclude her from cooking, owning a restaurant, publishing a cookbook, or even having a show on Food TV. Good for her.

eeyore
post #14 of 15
Eeyore, I love the comment on her accent. Born and raised in southeastern Georgia about one and a half hours west of Savannah, it's a bit much for even me! It's like most of the "southern" accents you hear on tv, sounds fake to my ears. I haven't eaten at her restaurant and most likely never will. I have read some of her recipes and I'm sure she's a good cook. I choose to not eat at "southern" restaurants because I can cook the same things myself. All southern cooking is not equal. It varies from family to family, region to region, and state to state. What is good to my family isn't necessarily good to another. My parents were both raised in the same area within 30 miles of each other. Their mothers cook nothing alike! It's really strange!

Why pay so much for "southern" cooking when I do it almost every day of my life and with less butter and mayo? lol
post #15 of 15
re: her accent...seeing as how she sounds just like most of the ladies I grew up with I can't imagine it's fake.

I actually like her personality.

When it comes to a decent 'southern' cookbook I really like Craig Claibornes "Southern Cooking" since it's not full of the same 'ole stuff as all the others.
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