I'll probably have more to say on the "professionals'" "reviews" about Suna tomorrow. Right now, I'm not going to bother.
But I will say that it's time for a change in this town.
I look forward to that as I’d like to know what the “behind closed doors” talk is about regarding our local critics. Sometimes people drop veiled comments about Tom or Todd that I don’t really understand.
Just as observation from the peanut gallery as a casual reader of DR:
It seems when Tom S raves about a place that is one the DR.com darlings, like Ashby Inn, everyone agrees with him, and when he slams a place (or chef) that many people seem to have soured on, like Jose Andres/minibar/barmini, everyone agrees with him. But when he raves about a dish or a place that is deemed underserving by the mob, he’s a hack with a crappy pallet, or if he trashes a place that the insiders or local food community loves, he’s a megalomaniac with an axe to grind.
I don’t know the guy, but from reading his stuff for years, that doesn’t seem to add up to me. It’s in his best interest to have DC become a premier food destination in the country/world, but raving about a place that doesn’t deserve it serves no one but the restaurant in question. Can you imagine if he raved about Suna (or any other place) and the food critic from the NYT checked it out and then savaged the same place, and DC as a whole, in the Times? I can see the review now: “If this is what DC considers a 4 star restaurant, plan your visit around the monuments and museums, not the restaurants.”
And regarding all the conspiracy theories and wailing and gnashing of teeth about the Post running this article, I’m sure it wasn’t logistically or financially possible to pull the article. This is a huge embarrassment for them. I can see Fox News and Rush Limbaugh having a field day: “The Washington Post is so out of touch, they ran a review of a place that has been closed for over a week! If you can’t trust them to get a simple restaurant review correct, how can you believe anything they say!?!?” And then they could go on to bash the “liberal media” ad infinitum.
Leaving it up on the website is probably something beyond Tom’s control too. They’ve invested a huge about of money and time into their website and there’s probably a policy that everything that appears in print gets published online (along with a ton of other stuff that doesn’t make the printed version). They’re a news organization first and foremost. It’s highly unlikely that Tom could bust into the editor or publisher’s office and demand major action over a lowly restaurant review.
Reading this back, I think I may sound like a Tom apologist. I’m not, or at least I don’t think I am. There are plenty of things about him with which I disagree, but in this case I think it’s just as simple as bad timing of a bad review.