The backlash gets a backlash!
I’ll say that I don’t really get the idea of reviewing a place like LocoL or Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar or a number of other restaurants that Wells has seen fit to critique. It’s certainly his right and once he’s embarked on that assignment he needs to stay true to his voice. And make no mistake, I believe that LocoL is fair game.
But I also can’t help but contrast Wells to the critic of record in LA, Jonathan Gold. Wells writes about the food in a very traditional sense. He’s critical, but fair. His writing focuses on the dishes and service and it seems as though he tries to keep subjectivity at bay in what is primarily a subjective endeavor. However, it’s worth noting that he gains the most recognition when he has negative things to say about restaurants that are well-known.
Jonathan Gold writes about food and dining as an experience. He tries to give the reader a sense of the emotions and feelings they might experience when they become part of the restaurant for those few minutes while they dine. His reviews often leave readers seeking more details about the dishes and how those dishes taste. This is polarizing because readers often just want a critical review of the food and service and Gold often omits that information. Jonathan Gold gains the most recognition when he highlights and champions restaurants and chefs to help elevate how the city views these people and their business.
I’ll say that I’m very glad this city has Jonathan Gold. When I want the details of the dishes and service at a restaurant, a paid critic from a periodical can’t hold a candle to this community. So I really don’t need a critic who operates like Wells (or S.I. Virbila for that matter).
I guess what rubs me the wrong way is I don’t understand why this review was necessary. The NYT is the paper of record for the country, but it still should have a very good reason for sending its restaurant critic across the country to review a restaurant. I’m not sure that applies here.
Again, LocoL is certainly fair game. I think the backlash argumentation has often been illogical and poorly made. Perhaps this post is, too. Nearly everyone’s backlash to the backlash posts make so much sense. Ultimately, Wells’ choice needs to be protected.
But I keep coming back to this: was this a necessary review? Does the NYT readership need a critical review of the food served here? Does this serve a purpose that a Yelp review or a FTC’er starting a new thread hasn’t already accomplished? I don’t see it.