Restaurant reviews - an interesting art

Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 02:28 pm
I've read restaurant reviews at least since the mid seventies. Some of us used to follow a couple of writers to hole in the wall restaurants of many cultures in the very large Los Angleles area.

Reviewers taught me a lot over the years. Sometimes I'd confuse the reviewer with myself, as in movie reviews. On movie reviews, I was amazed when Paulene Kael, back in her day, wrote what I thought in better language than mine. On food reviews, my favorites were in the old LA Herald Examiner - those were the ones that found great small restaurants. Now I read a lot of food bloggers and newspaper restaurant reviewers like the SF Chronicle's Michael Bauer, and am starting to follow sites like Yelp and Chowhound - all as a kind of hobby, just to follow what's happening.

Which brings me to the first review lately that has struck me as a effort towards satire, if not mastery of it, somewhat mean, but acknowledging of an institution, the recent review by NYTimes critic Sam Sifton on the restaurant, Nello.

Do you follow any food reviewers?
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Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 02:36 pm
Our local newspaper ran a Nomadic Nibbler column for years and gave stars (up to 4) for the food. Always pretty bland articles on pretty bland eateries.

Detroit Free Press Molly Abramson still does good reviews. One review talked about a "slack-jawed buss-boy who was sulking around the restaurant with a jug of icewater, ignoring all the tables" that made us laugh for days. We had noticed the same thing just a few days before.

Splendid Table on NPR is very good. Sun. AM

Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 02:49 pm
I'll have to check out Molly Abramson. That's the kind of observation I appreciate.
I finally managed recently to link to NPR but am not yet a listener, so thanks for that too.

Splendid Table, that's the name of a cookbook, if I remember...
yeh, I checked (I have it), by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Wonder if she is involved in the program.
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Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 03:17 pm
That's a food review as creative writing; very good.

In my little burgh I believe the reviewer is paid by the restaurants. I've never seen a cross word in 20 years.
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Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 06:45 pm
I used to love reading Gael Greene in New York magazine, she was their original food critic, and quite an original. After she stopped doing their restaurant reviews, she continued to write for them for decades on food related topics and other matters.

I don't know if you've ever heard of her



You can check out her reviews at her web site


In this one, she dined on osso buco Smile


Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 06:47 pm
I've heard of her, but don't remember reading articles..
will check them out.
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