Thursday, July 10, 2008

Should I?: The Dilemma of Bad Reviews

"Be nice".

If Apples had to say two last words to me, those would be it. But sometimes it's hard, especially when you're a food snob like myself at a restaurant you know isn't worth the price of water, on an occasion (like a friend's birthday) that simply requires you to show up, eat your food, and have a good time.

But at what point does my duty as a food writer (If I may flatter myself as such) go beyond my duty to just sit there quietly and shovel shitty food in my face?

Last night for example I went to a restaurant that I won't name for a friend's birthday. I had a great time, laughed a lot, and got to spend the evening with the people I like the most. But the experience from a dining perspective was horrible. The service was slow, the menu really restrictive and uninspired, and worst of all, I couldn't find one redeeming quality about the food - the bread just didn't do it for me, my veggie pizza was more like industrial generic white cheese substance melted on matzo, and the steaks that everyone else got looked like they were straight out of the Army surplus crate from Afghanistan.

But all of that being said, I can't help but feel bad for writing that. I didn't pick the restaurant, and I don't want anyone to think that I'm looking down on anyone for choosing it, even though I know there were certainly better places in the neighborhood that would have worked better.

It's easy sometimes to blurt out restaurants run by award winning chefs that have earned the praises of a Sietsema or a Rockwell, and insist that everyone change their plans to go there; but that would be easy.

Sometimes the only way to get through the dilemma of a bad review is to do the hard thing, and just be nice.

1 comment:

bettyjoan said...

I was in a similar situation recently--a friend chose a restaurant, I really wanted to like it, and then it turned out to be quite bad. I had some heartburn about writing negatively about my experience, but I had to be honest. So, I did make sure to point out the highs and MANY lows of the meal, but I did so with careful words. It was the longest it ever took me to write a post! :-)