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Fearless Critic Washington DC Area Restaurant Guide


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Someone just bought me a copy of this massive book, which I have spent about twenty minutes leafing through. It contains 500 full-page reviews for Washington DC-area restaurants, and employs "The Fearless Critic's 'brutally honest' philosophy," which they say "can be summed up in one sentence: our duty is to the readers, not the restaurants."

I’ve read through the list of “Fearless Critics,” and don’t recognize a single name (although I do recognize the name of one of the fifteen Contributing Editors).

So anyway, I'd love to know what people think about their reviews and ratings. To get you started, let me highlight a small sample from the index that ranks the “top 100 Kitchens judged from a pure food perspective.” (Ties are ordered by "feel rating.") This is culled from making a single pass through the list:

11) Hank’s Oyster Bar

12) Citronelle

13) Marvin

14) Tosca

17) Posto

18) Vidalia

26) Roger Miller

31) Restaurant Eve Tasting Room

33) Al Tiramisu

34) Central Michel Richard

35) Marcel's

36) The Source

37) Palena

39) Shashemene

40) Corduroy

44) New Big Wong

45) BLT Steak

52) Granja de Oro

53) Café du Parc

56) Rasika

57) Liberty Tavern

62) Kabob Palace

63) Zaytinya

66) Bobby Van's Steakhouse

68) The Oval Room

69) Sushi Ko

71) Costa Verde

74) Buck’s Fishing and Camping

77) Proof

78) Restaurant Eve Bistro

79) Kaz Sushi Bistro

84) Pollo Granjero

87) Hook

I suppose I could do further cross-referencing (such as Al Crostino (#14) vs. Comet Ping Pong (not in the Top 100, but with a lower food rating than Potbelly Sandwich Works (*) (which, incidentally, is ranked higher than DC Coast (which, incidentally, is ranked the same as Chinatown Express (which, incidentally, is ranked the same as Kinkead's (which, incidentally, is ranked much lower than both Myanmar (#100) and Meaza (#58)))))), but for that level of detail, you'll just have to buy the book and explore for yourselves!



(*) Yes, that's right. Potbelly Sandwich Works has a better food rating than Comet Ping Pong, DC Coast, Kinkead's, PS7's, Bourbon Steak, Evening Star Cafe, Heritage India, Jaleo, L'Auberge Chez Francois, Mio, Nicaro, Rustico, Oya, Spezie, and Teatro Goldoni.

P.S. One other thing before I go: La Baguette (in Dupont Circle, for those of you who have never heard of it) and Weenie Beanie have the same food rating as Inn at Little Washington. Ben's Chili Bowl is ranked higher than all three of them. Mind you, this is just the food rating, which does not take price into account.

"Honey! I'm taking you out tonight for our anniversary!"

"Great, sweetie - I want to go somewhere that's just absolutely delicious."


<bats eyes> "Really and truly." <winks>


366 Days Later:

Bailiff: "All rise."

<all rise>

Judge <walking in and taking a seat>: "Be seated. <shuffles papers> The case of Johnson vs. Johnson. You two have been separated now for a full year?"

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This is why universities insist on peer-reviewed publications.

The principal author has an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a J.D. from Yale, and this is his fourth collection of restaurant reviews. Amazon page.

Thanks for the Amazon page. It lead me to their site.

Using "upmarket restaurant" as a qualifier returned a list that's better than the Washingtonian's choices pre-Kliman. Not sure there's much value in an annual website subscription though.

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Using "upmarket restaurant" as a qualifier returned a list that's better than the Washingtonian's choices pre-Kliman.

I don't agree with this statement. Also, it's important to note that it's much easier now to come up with a restaurant list than it was just five years ago, due to the resources available on the internet.

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Nothing says "fearless" like boldly trashing Applebee's. You don't see many food-board types courageous enough to take on the suburban chains. I'm predicting that the next lead post will be a bitter, biting takedown of Ruby Tuesday's.

Unless it's a painfully legalistic take on Alan Richmann's pizza piece.

(Maybe these guys should get Ericandblueboy on the team. He's certainly a more interesting read.)

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I haven't read it. But this, for me, speaks volumes: "Robin Goldstein has authored four books of restaurant reviews and has written for more than 30 Fodor's travel guides, from Italy to Argentina to Hong Kong. He has an A.B. in neuroscience and philosophy from Harvard University, a J.D. from the Yale Law School, a certificate in cooking from the French Culinary Institute in New York City,"

Let's see, this is probably four years in Boston, two years in New Haven and additional time spent in New York. And, he has written a 600+ page book about D. C. restaurants while also authoring travel guides about Italy, Argentina, Hong Kong and as many as thirty other cities and countries among others. I'm guessing he hasn't lived in any of them. Or D. C. But he has found a gullible publisher who doesn't care about credibility.

OK, I am going to Slovenia for the first time in three weeks for two days. With an experience like this I should be more than qualified to write a thick volume on Slovenian restaurants enlisting a number of others' contributions for restaurants I have never heard of in towns and cities I have never heard of either. Of course, I must confess, I just threw away my Fodor's Slovenian travel guide...

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Robin Goldstein is the same guy who exposed the Wine Spectator Award scam last year winning a Grand Award for a wine list full of low scoring wines for an imaginary restaurant in Italy. I tried subscribing, but you can't get out of the PayPal screen. I bought a copy from Amazon for $10.85

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I just don't understand what is so fearless about being a critic in the first place. Seems to be contradiction in terms there...

Shouldn't it be the ones who are being publicly criticized who should be the most fearful? The people that throw down their life savings to "put their money where their mouth is" in a knowingly highly-criticized business platform?

It's more than a job for us. It's our entire lives. A fearless critic is comparable to a shy pornstar.

There isn't one.

ETA: I don't consider anyone on this site a "critic" so I'm not taking jabs here. This is an online community where opinions are shared and the restaurant operators can choose to defend or accept certain criticisms. This is a forum that I've appreciated for a long time.

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