Jump to content

Our Area's Restaurant Critics


DonRocks
 Share

Recommended Posts

I just got this anonymous message from an anonymous chef working at an anonymous (very upscale) restaurant about an anonymous visit by an anonymous critic ...

so i need some advice, what should a restaurant do when they know a major food writer is in and is supposed to experience the whole package and is 45 minutes late for a reservation without calling, brings his/her own wine in that retails for around 15 bucks?

I just find this odd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hopefully the chef swallowed their pride. A human being who would pull the shit that the critic pulled would probably give the restaurant an unfavorable review if treated as deserved. Sure, it sucks for the chef to have to swallow their pride like that, but it's not just their pride that's riding on that review - it's the livelihood of their staff.

What a prick.

His judgement cometh, and that right soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have to agree strongly with DanCole. As horrendous as the critic's behavior is as reported, the restauranteur has to consider what the goal of any action taken is.

Has to be the success of his/her business. Anything else around anger or near-term revenge won't help the business in the short, medium or longer terms.

So, they should suck it up and do a kickass job in all respects as they normally (hopefully) would with anyone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The question is whether that writer was supposed to be anonymous. If not anonymous, then the goal of the action, IMO, has nothing to do with testing the restaurant and has plenty to do with having poor manners and not knowing how a restaurant works. Though I would argue that the behavior, depending on how high end the restaurant is, is douchey anyway. Everyone has a cell phone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The right thing to do in the moment (and I assume what the chef did) was play it cool and make everything as wonderful as possible.

The right thing to do the next morning may be something different, depending on who the "major writer" is.

If this means that it was one of the tiny handful of "name" restaurant reviewers in the area, it MIGHT be a good idea to send an email to the person saying "Gee I know you were in here last night even though anonymous, and I wanted to reach out to you to say that IF you got anything other than our best service I apologize but the system was somewhat flustered by the fact that your party arrived so late. Please do come see us again." That way it's on record, for whatever that might be worth someday. But only do it if you can do it extremely nicely.

If it was somebody from out of town not in a locally-reviewing capacity, let it slide.

I wish that the right thing to do was to tell us all who it was, but that's probably not right.

I am not an expert.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

....... it MIGHT be a good idea to send an email to the person saying "Gee I know you were in here last night even though anonymous, and I wanted to reach out to you to say that IF you got anything other than our best service I apologize but the system was somewhat flustered by the fact that your party arrived so late. Please do come see us again."

Maybe said critic just wanted to see how the place handles a 45 minute late, cheap wine drinking "guest".

I think pizza man got it right. In this situation, it seems to me logical to assume that this critic (supposedly a professional who knows what he/she is doing) is putting some stress on the place to see what happens, how well they handle the challenge. Sending an e-mail suggesting the staff is capable of being flustered by such common issues is a direct admission to the critic that the place is not ready for prime time, and would be so even if they handled it well in this instance. This is not the sort of admission an owner should make, and IMO such an e-mail is highly inadvisable, unless the owner looks forward to a review that mentions how the staff can easily be flustered.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think pizza man got it right. In this situation, it seems to me logical to assume that this critic (supposedly a professional who knows what he/she is doing) is putting some stress on the place to see what happens, how well they handle the challenge.

Well ... this sounds like a plausible theory given unlimited budgets and avant-garde, investigative reporting; but in this day and age, it sounds more like, "we'll give you X dollars a month to spend however you see fit on reviewing restaurants in the DC area, and you can pocket what you don't spend." Witness the ascension of burrito houses in suburbia, and the much-ballyhooed "decline and fall" of fine dining (which is every bit as cyclical as the economy, and don't think otherwise (*)).

That said, I got a text message from another restaurant professional saying that they've recently heard of this exact same thing (a known critic, showing up unforgivably late for a reservation, without calling, and bringing a very cheap bottle of wine) at 2-3 other restaurants.

(*) I just read this bogus story citing the "FedEx factor." Ever heard of ... the "E-MAIL factor," maybe making the FedEx factor about as relevant as having Xerox in the Dow Index? Okay, not quite, but ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well ... this sounds like a plausible theory given unlimited budgets and avant-garde, investigative reporting; ...

That said, I got a text message from another restaurant professional saying that they've recently heard of this exact same thing (a known critic, showing up unforgivably late for a reservation, without calling, and bringing a very cheap bottle of wine) at 2-3 other restaurants.

The thing I find weird about this is "known" critic. It's not really a test then. It's how far can I with a certain status push this. It's nowhere going to be the same experience as the 20-something who walks in pulling something like this. That is pretty flawed methodology.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That said, I got a text message from another restaurant professional saying that they've recently heard of this exact same thing (a known critic, showing up unforgivably late for a reservation, without calling, and bringing a very cheap bottle of wine) at 2-3 other restaurants.

Maybe s/he's doing some sort of survey. A comparison analysis.

If so, it would be interesting to ponder which three or four restaurants (or more) might logically have "made the cut" to have been selected for this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...