Adam Markovitz
May 14, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Steal the Menu

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Raymond Sokolov
publisher
Knopf
genre
Memoir

We gave it a C+

As gastronomic guides go, you can’t do much better than former New York Times and Wall Street Journal restaurant critic Raymond Sokolov, whose jaunty prose in Steal the Menu gets you a tableside seat everywhere from Tennessee barbecue pits to French haute cuisine temples. But as a memoirist, Sokolov leaves the reader underfed. Personal details are scant (he doesn’t even give his wife’s name until 14 pages after he mentions their marriage). Anecdotes about foodie stars like Julia Child and Paul Bocuse are unilluminating, and the lack of any thematic through-line allows plenty of time for your mind to wander to what restaurant reservation you should make when you finish reading. C+

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