The LA Times restaurant reviewer gave Ilan's place a really good, two star review, despite the lack of money put into the design of the place. In comparison, this same reviewer tore Fabio a new one and gave him zero stars. And, Harold from Season One was only awarded one star by the NY Times.
I wouldn't put a lot of stock in anything Irene Virbila writes (review is here
), she's come under fire for reviewing - and giving very high marks to - restaurants that were owned/operated by personal friends. The handful of industry folks I know in LA have lost some respect for her because she's known for "over awarding" stars to places that don't really deserve them. Now, that's not to say she's off base about Fabio's place, because I know people who have been there and had less than stellar dining experiences.
As for Harold getting "only" one star from the NY Times as opposed to Ilan's two is a misleading comparison. Ilan opened in August of 2009 and this review was written in late January 2010, Harold opened Perilla in late May 2007 and Frank Bruni reviewed it in July 2007. If Harold's review had been 6 months after he opened, he might have worked out the few kinks he had in his menu and could very well have gotten 2 stars as well.
Edited by screamapiller, Jun 25, 2010 @ 5:06 PM.