So you think I'm a mean restaurant critic...
Fans of Pappas Restaurant in Parkville weren't happy with my review last Sunday. Some expressed their difference of opinion politely, some not. But I think that's what inspired EdG to write to me about some of England's much more terrifying restaurant reviewers.
Quoting an article about British food critics, he came up with these two gems: ...
Matthew Norman, Sunday Telegraph
Norman described Shepherd’s eponymous London establishment as being “among the very worst restaurants in Christendom” and “the eighth circle of hell.” “Were it found today in a canister buried in the Iraqi dessert,” he wrote of the crab and brandy soup, comparing it to Saddam’s missing weapons of mass destruction, “it would save Tony Blair’s skin.”
“There is so much about Shepherd's that is wrong that it would, in a more elegant age, merit a pamphlet rather than a review.”
Jan Moir, Daily Telegraph
Reviewing Deya, Jan said, “I’m choking on a really nasty amuse bouche, a kind of savory, macaroon-sized bite flavored with what tastes like dried shrimp. At least, I hope it’s dried shrimp. If not, then it is some suspiciously fishy business of uncertain age and background.”
EdG then suggested a Top 10 list of the worst things I've said about restaurants. Because I've written over 1,500 reviews in my 36 years on the job, I don't think I could research that very easily. I did send him the list of quotes from my early reviews I had in my 30th anniversary article, which I reprinted here. Faithful readers will remember them. I'll reprint the list once again, but please remember that the few of these restaurants that are still around have different owners and different reputations even if the names are the same:
* "Crabtree's has its peccadilloes. (The first time we made reservations, for instance, no one bothered to tell us the restaurant would be closed that Sunday.)"
* "I pointed out [to the waiter] that a small insect was walking on the Russian [dressing]. 'Oh Jesus,' he said." (Baltimore Museum Cafe)
* "I was surprised at how terrible my plain omelette ($3.95) was. ... It tasted as though it had been cooked in automobile grease." (Owl Bar)
* "I had dinner at the Milton Inn in Sparks, Maryland, recently, and except for the food, it was a pleasant experience."
* "My job lands me in some odd situations, and one of them was sitting in the Bamboo Inn's unfestive dining room with a flaming Pu-Pu Platter."
* "I ordered six steamed clams ($2.15) to begin with, but they didn't arrive until after my crab fluff. They were the biggest, hoariest granddaddy clams imaginable. Oversteaming only made them more leathery. They were served with drawn margarine." (Blue Gables )
* "We all need a little romance in our lives, especially this close to Valentine's Day. The question is whether we also need a waiter who not only introduces himself -- 'Hi! I'm your waiter Gregory' -- but also the water bearer, as in 'Your water bearer's name is Ronald.' " (Carolyn's Cafe)
* "There is one small problem with 'Connolly Special No. 6, Pan Fried Rock' ($8.75).
"It's sea trout."
* "You've got to love crowds to love Alonso's. You've got to love people watching you with hawk eyes, willing you to hurry up so they can have your table."
* "There's a certain point at a restaurant past which I suddenly say, 'I don't want to be here anymore.' The Rusty Scupper took us long past it."