BlogChef Duilio's "Critic" of the Month - Apr 25, 04:02 PM
The advent of internet review sites has made many of us into food critics. While you might hear dozens of pros and cons about this, one thing is for sure: don’t quit your day job just yet. Being a critic is not as easy as it seems, especially when it comes to restaurants.
Soooo, here to help out on your promising new career, I will waste some perfectly good space that could have been used to write about something of actual interest and give you a few monthly tips on how to properly review a restaurant. To help with that, I will randomly select a “case study” (ok, maybe not so randomly) of a written review without the consent of the reviewer. Wow, is that even legal? I might be writing this from the Blue Roof Inn next month…
Ok, without further delay let’s bring forward our first case study.
Anna F. from Corte Madera writes:
“Frantoio certainly has a great atmosphere and friendly service but the quantity and quality of the food was not meeting my expectations.I agree that the bread and olive oil is delicious, but it should be in an Italian restaurant. I ordered the pappardelle di duilio (the rabbit dish) and the pasta was overcooked, tough and rabbit meat was too rare to eat more than a few bites. My friend ordered the cernia alla radice di rafano (Baked Pacific seabass) and the dish laked [sic] flavor and there was not even eough [sic] on the plate to satify anyones hunger. Considering the prices, there should be a decent amount of food on ones plate and it should be cooked to perfection.I would not recommend this restaurant and there are pleanty [sic] more in Mill Valley to choose from.”
In this review Anna F. makes a few allegations and assumptions, and that’s a no no for any credible food reviewer. She agrees that the “bread and olive oil is (are?) delicious, but it (they?)”, she proclaims “should be in an Italian restaurant”. Says who? The labor department? The bible? Your hair dresser? Do not make this assumption; Italians are not required to pass a bread and olive oil making exam before they are allowed to operate a restaurant. Our bread and olive oil are delicious because…well, we make it good, not because we are an Italian restaurant. Capish?
Second assumption: “there was not even eough [sic] on the plate to satify anyones hunger”. It would be more useful if the reviewer described his or her definition of “anyones”. Obviously a 300 lb. caveman has quite a bit more appetite than a 110 lb. ballerina, so in this instance, instead of saying “anyones” it would have been more valuable to the reader to perhaps state the actual size and appetite level of “your friend”.
And here are the allegations: “the pasta was overcooked, tough and rabbit meat was too rare to eat more than a few bites.” Ok, this comment would be quite upsetting to most chefs but to me it’s a massive compliment! Wow, I can overcook pasta while keeping tough and I can braise rabbit for two hours and still have it rare! Fantastic! Well, I just wish that was the case.
The reality is, when you make serious accusation about someone’s work, at least make it believable or your hard work as a restaurant reviewer will be quickly discredited. However I do confess to Anna F. that I have occasionally overcooked pasta, although when I tasted it I recall it being soft .
In any case, I hope you have enjoyed my tips on how to write a restaurant review. Till next time… now back to the new book I’m writing: The joy of over-cooking.