clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Critic Michael Nagrant and Juno Engage in Twitter War, Virtually Hug it Out

The RedEye critic eviscerates the lauded Japanese restaurant on Twitter, leading to confrontation and realizations.

Nagrant and Juno
Nagrant and Juno
Michael Nagrant/Marc Much

A real-life scene straight out of the movie "Chef" erupted on Twitter last night and lasted through this afternoon.

RedEye critic Michael Nagrant dined at the recently-reopened Juno last night for his wife's anniversary and proceeded to eviscerate the lauded Japanese restaurant in a flurry of Tweets. While praising chef B.K. Park's sushi (and saying Park should "get as far away from that mess as soon as possible"), Nagrant lambasted nearly everything else, terming the hot food "a terrible parody of an Alinea interpretation of Japanese food," such as calling the takoyaki "undercooked and flaccid like a 90 year old with circulation problems."

Today, Nagrant and the Juno Twitter feed, run by Jason Chanengaged in a tense public back-and-forth before eventually coming to an understanding. Many of which were responses to other Tweets, Chan said Nagrant is "not relevant," that "understanding is what makes it possible to tolerate a person like you" and "class is not what you're good at."

In the end, both Juno and the critic actually did come to an understanding and will talk it out in person. Nagrant, in an email, put forth a thoughtful explanation that gets deep into the psyche of a critic. Read that, and a few of the Tweets, below.

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary.  I was super excited to do Juno (my own dime).  BK has always been a go to for me.  I celebrated the birth of my son when he was at the Fairmount hotel.  I celebrated other big occasions at Arami.  So I decided Juno was it for us.  Like any other diner, I went online looked at the menu, salivated, and planned and was excited.

Then I dined.  I arrived at the restaurant with a res.  The hostess was like hold on.  Another party was waiting. She disappeared.  She came back and said hold on again.  It took like 10 mins to get seated.  No big deal.  But then the hot food was ridiculously sloppy across the board, and super expensive.  I tweeted about hot food seeming like a bad Alinea interpretation of Japanese.  I said a few other things about the takoyaki etc.  I did make a comment about the hostess looking like Ralph Lauren 1982.  I apologized for that this morning, because it's true - that has no bearing on the experience.  Juno came at me (I assume it's probably Jason Chan) saying he doesn't care about disappointing me and that my opinion is irrelevant, etc.

What I wish he would have said, is "I'm sorry. What went wrong?  How can we improve?"  What's fair is obviously I have a tendency to be very honest in a creative way.  I get that can ruffle a feather.  But once the ruffling is done, how do we have a dialogue and not a rejection of the criticism as being baseless.

And continued:

Yes, it looks like me and Juno have come to an understanding.  We got where I think we both wanted to go.  My criticism always comes from a place of wanting to make things better. If you look at my history with Chan and BK and McDermott, it's not a vendetta or some weird occupation with being an asshole.  I loved Butter and Urban Union and am on record as such.  I'm also a fan of Elizabeth and Arami etc.  So when I am disappointed, it's just a true response, not some attempt to get a rise. And that's what I think people think sometimes, that critics are all out in their parent's basements spurned by the masses trying to get even.  And the reality is we're the biggest fans of our subjects in the world.  We want the best for them, but like fans or proud parents, we get disappointed when the objects of our affection stumble.

Juno Restaurant

2638 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 872 206 8662

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Chicago newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world