A Moveable Feast:
First off, chef Crawford, by law, has the right to refuse service to anyone as his restaurant is on private property. Further, it is his prerogative to decide if he wants to be reviewed or not. Believe it or not, there are some restaurateurs who do not wish to be reviewed: while it has become status quo for journalists to write flowery, Faulkner-esque prose when describing restaurants for their reviews except that they focus less on the culinary side and "show off" their desires to be architects, art historians or psychologists--and in some cases, these self-proclaimed "culinarians" think that because they have been to Paris, or eaten at Alinea (or some Top 50 restaurant of the world list) they are qualified to potentially condemn someone else's livelihood; potentially ruin a man (or woman) and his/her family simply because the brown butter isn't brown enough?! It makes perfect sense that some would NOT want their story told by a person or persons with minimal credentials, a bone to pick or perhaps a conflict of interest (i.e., this business is an advertiser, "...make it glorious.."). Not to mention, that human error happens; Murphy's Law exists; EVERYONE has an off day. Should it it be THAT day when our whole world is exposed to ink, paper and/or keyboard?
Even if that wasn't the case, these reviews should tell the reader what is at the essence of the food experience and not spend the majority of a 1000 words dedicated to the Corinthian vs Doric columns or the post-Renaissance meets Shabby-shic wallpaper or spend an instant using the term "hipster." Who cares about tattoos or presumed egos? i surely don't. I thought we were trying to steer away from labeling and stereotypes.
I like to digress.
So, I will do some more of it. I don't read restaurant reviews. I don't write them either. When I travel, I find friends who live there or have been there and their recommendations are where I eat, where I sleep and where I go for adult beverages. I have never chosen a restaurant because it is the #1 on WELP, scored highly on Urbanspatula, FaceGram or the other social network sites out there.
I prefer reading the classics. My favorite writer is probably Hemingway. Sadly, he is not with us any longer...but that doesn't matter because he wouldn't have written or read restaurant reviews because there is more fun in living: catching fish, running with bulls, drinking Hemingway Daiquiris to spend on such trivial things. I like to think that his "review" would have been simple: he would have been a patron or he would not have.
But what do I know?
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Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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