Yes, I taste everything
SusanWNAJ brought up an interesting point: "You could then tell them that you got a part-time job as a restaurant reviewer and it's important that you try all the foods."
This may have been discussed elsewhere on D@L over the past year, or even in a feature story. How do you go about writing about all of the dishes during a restaurant visit? Do you sample from everyone's plate or rely on their own opinions? Just wondering. Thanks! ...
I never rely on anyone's opinions but my own. If they want to tell me, I'll listen, but mostly my companions know that all they have to do is order what I tell them to. This is harder than it sounds sometimes when you're craving a salad for a first course and I make you order the crispy sweetbreads with apples, raisin spoon bread, a Sauternes sauce and bacon oil. (Yes, this is an actual appetizer on Meli's menu.)
I do sample from everyone's plate. I try to do it as discreetly as possible, but I never write about anything I haven't tasted.
The reason I don't ask what my guests think is that some readers tend to agree with me, and others find my reviews useful because they almost always disagree with me. But at least I'm consistent. The one exception is that if one of us loves something and another hates it, I might mention that (making it clear which side I'm on) to show that it's a controversial dish.
(Photo of Cynthia's in Severna Park by Algerina Perna/Sun photographer)