Musings on negative reviews
Other Reviewer Richard and I were e-mailing back and forth just now about the dining out edition of the Taste section, which happens next Wednesday; and he mentioned his review of Sushi Sakura.
I could tell he was facing the same quandry I've been facing in a troubled economy.
You hate to hurt anyone's business; but at the same time, you don't want to steer readers wrong. It's a delicate balancing act. Often you have to hope folks will read between the lines. ...
His review interested me because it addresses another problem I struggle with when I review sushi restaurants, particularly in the suburbs. There are so many of them these days, and so many that seem very much alike.
They are today's equivalent of the neighborhood Italian or seafood eateries of yesteryear. They serve a valuable function in that neighborhood, but don't need citywide exposure.
As reviewers, we don't get to know a restaurant's menu and what it does best. We usually don't find out how nice the owners are to regulars. In other words, we don't know why some of these places are well loved and why people are outraged by our reviews. That's why I like these Monday Morning Quarterbacking and Thursday Sometime Quarterbacking posts. It gives you a chance to tell us -- and others -- why these restaurants are better than we think they are.
(Kenneth K. Lam/Sun photographer)