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 Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic

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EdSails

  • Total Posts: 3591
  • Joined: 5/9/2003
  • Location: Mission Viejo, CA
Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Wed, 12/22/10 7:07 PM (permalink)
A restaurant owner has taken pics and posted them of the L.A. Time's longtime restaurant critic. Many critics and media outlets pride themselves on their critics being able to enter anonymously into a restaurant so they don't get different (preferential) service and can write a relatively unbiased review. What do you think?
 
http://latimesblogs.latim...d-shown-the-door-.html
 
#1
    Foodbme

    • Total Posts: 9579
    • Joined: 9/1/2006
    • Location: Gilbert, AZ
    Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Wed, 12/22/10 7:33 PM (permalink)
    Restaurant reviews are a double edged sword. They can declare life or death to a Restaurant. I've liked places that reviewers have not and not liked places that reviewers praised. They possess awesome power if not responsibly managed that can ruin peoples livelihoods. A local Restaurant owner recently committed suicide after a poor review. He had been in business a long time and had a very large local folowing. I loved his food as did many others but his business dropped off after the review and he opted to leave the planet.
     
    #2
      JRPfeff

      • Total Posts: 2376
      • Joined: 12/1/2006
      • Location: Pewaukee, WI & Fuquay-Varina, NC
      Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Wed, 12/22/10 7:52 PM (permalink)
      I read the article and it appears that this reviewer went beyond what was necessary to be fair to restaurants by eating 3 times before publishing a review.  That is what led to her exposure.  A simple solution is to stop trying to appear fair, just visit once and publish the review.  If it is an off night in the kitchen, tough beans.  Better yet, just eat and Tweet.  Put some real pressure on the restaurant.  
       
      #3
        EdSails

        • Total Posts: 3591
        • Joined: 5/9/2003
        • Location: Mission Viejo, CA
        Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Wed, 12/22/10 11:38 PM (permalink)
        JRPfeff


        I read the article and it appears that this reviewer went beyond what was necessary to be fair to restaurants by eating 3 times before publishing a review.  That is what led to her exposure.  A simple solution is to stop trying to appear fair, just visit once and publish the review.  If it is an off night in the kitchen, tough beans.  Better yet, just eat and Tweet.  Put some real pressure on the restaurant.  

         
        Interesting point. There is a real tradeoff in the "try it once" vs. the "give 'em a few chances". Amazingly, she had been doing it for the times for 16 years. Amazing she was never caught before!
         
        #4
          sonjaab

          • Total Posts: 193
          • Joined: 6/15/2005
          • Location: Syracuse, NY
          Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Thu, 12/23/10 1:15 AM (permalink)
           Our local "food critic" for the Syracuse NY Herald-Journal news
          named Yolanda Wright (spl)  has just retired after many years of harpooning many good resturants over picky things and her continental tastes for obscure food and her love of slurping down bottles of wine on the newspapers tab.
          Several resturant associations and owners have offered a reward for her picture but none has ever surfaced..........
           
          #5
            BillyB

            • Total Posts: 2851
            • Joined: 2/4/2009
            Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Thu, 12/23/10 8:54 AM (permalink)
            I would rather take the advice of 400 yelp reviews, than the opinion of one. If your food is great the word travels fast. I have never seen a full dining room of unhappy people. There are reasons why some restaurants are packed and some are empty. People are well educated in what they like and dislike, the proof is in the pudding. If there is a line at a restaurant there is a good reason, it's no because we like standing in line, the food will be worth the wait. I enjoyed the article was great and I agree with the manager, he doesn't want to be reviewed, stay out of his restaurant...........He reserves the right to refuse service to anyone...............
             
            #6
              JRPfeff

              • Total Posts: 2376
              • Joined: 12/1/2006
              • Location: Pewaukee, WI & Fuquay-Varina, NC
              Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Thu, 12/23/10 9:51 AM (permalink)
              Multiple choice, whose opinion do you most trust:
              a) 400 BillyB's on Yelp
              b) One buffetbuster
              An easy choice for me. 
              Dennis Getto was the authority on Milwaukee dining.  He earned it and was extremely fair to the restaurants he reviewed.  I eagerly awaited his reviews each Friday and his yearly Top 30.  I have absolutely no interest in what the woman who replaced him has to say.

               
              #7
                1bbqboy

                • Total Posts: 4542
                • Joined: 11/20/2000
                • Location: Rogue Valley
                Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Thu, 12/23/10 10:01 AM (permalink)
                JRPfeff


                Multiple choice, whose opinion do you most trust:
                a) 400 BillyB's on Yelp
                b) One buffetbuster
                An easy choice for me. 
                Dennis Getto was the authority on Milwaukee dining.  He earned it and was extremely fair to the restaurants he reviewed.  I eagerly awaited his reviews each Friday and his yearly Top 30.  I have absolutely no interest in what the woman who replaced him has to say.


                aren't billyB and buffetbuster on the same side?
                I don't understand your disparagement?
                 
                #8
                  BillyB

                  • Total Posts: 2851
                  • Joined: 2/4/2009
                  Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Thu, 12/23/10 10:13 AM (permalink)
                  bill voss


                  JRPfeff


                  Multiple choice, whose opinion do you most trust:
                  a) 400 BillyB's on Yelp
                  b) One buffetbuster
                  An easy choice for me. 
                  Dennis Getto was the authority on Milwaukee dining.  He earned it and was extremely fair to the restaurants he reviewed.  I eagerly awaited his reviews each Friday and his yearly Top 30.  I have absolutely no interest in what the woman who replaced him has to say.


                  aren't billyB and buffetbuster on the same side?
                  I don't understand your disparagement?


                  I think JRPfeff wants us all to come to his house for the winter, then we can all sit around and wait for the Friday review from his idol................I think that was C
                  <message edited by BillyB on Thu, 12/23/10 10:18 AM>
                   
                  #9
                    David_NYC

                    • Total Posts: 2162
                    • Joined: 8/1/2004
                    • Location: New York, NY
                    Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Thu, 12/23/10 8:31 PM (permalink)
                    The fact that the managers of Red Medicine were able to ID S. Irene Virbila indicates that astute restaurant managers already know what their local restaurant critics look like. Why they decided to publish her picture is either a payback for previous unflattering reviews of their previous gigs, or an attempt to get free publicity, like those stories about joints in New York with their $1,000 pizzas and $200 hamburgers.
                     
                    #10
                      chewingthefat

                      • Total Posts: 6100
                      • Joined: 11/22/2007
                      • Location: Emmitsburg, Md.
                      Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Fri, 12/24/10 11:25 AM (permalink)
                      Yelp is a scam, if you get a good review, you get a call from them asking if you want to advertize on the site, if you don't, your good reviews disappear and magically, highly negative ones appear. It happened to me and a number of other owners I've talked with. To hell with yelp.
                       
                      #11
                        wanderingjew

                        • Total Posts: 7408
                        • Joined: 1/18/2001
                        • Location: East Greenwich/ Warwick, RI
                        • Roadfood Insider
                        Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Fri, 12/24/10 11:40 AM (permalink)
                        I take Yelp for what its worth. It's certainly authentic and legitimate, I know a few Yelpers and they're certainly REAL PEOPLE and they are not paid by the website and their reviews are published whether they're positive or negative.
                         
                        Unfortunately I learned by trial and error that other than a few select people here on Roadfood I believe that reviews tend to be more accurate in numbers on yelp, versus advice from a random person or two on roadfood, however on yelp, in addition to checking out the reviews, check out the reviewer too. For example if a yelper trashes a tried and true roadfood classic, check to see the other restaurants that they've reviewed if it's all jacket required high end restaurants then that speaks for itself.
                         
                        #12
                          stricken_detective

                          • Total Posts: 2330
                          • Joined: 3/10/2004
                          • Location: the 262
                          Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Sat, 12/25/10 4:07 PM (permalink)
                          JRPfeff


                          Multiple choice, whose opinion do you most trust:
                          a) 400 BillyB's on Yelp
                          b) One buffetbuster
                          An easy choice for me. 
                          Dennis Getto was the authority on Milwaukee dining.  He earned it and was extremely fair to the restaurants he reviewed.  I eagerly awaited his reviews each Friday and his yearly Top 30.  I have absolutely no interest in what the woman who replaced him has to say.

                          Agreed, 100%. 
                           
                          The other thing about Yelp is you don't know who is posting on there. If you Google a certain restaurant's reviews, there should be a few different sites that have them & a few different people reviewing. It doesn't help when you figure out one poster who never has anything negative to say is the owner's brother. That is when I stopped reading Yelp reviews.
                           
                          As for the LA Times critic, can she sue for the restaurant owner interfering with her income? I think he deserves a visit or ten from the Dirty Dining crew.

                           
                          #13
                            Twinwillow

                            • Total Posts: 4899
                            • Joined: 4/15/2006
                            • Location: "Big D"
                            Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Sat, 12/25/10 5:58 PM (permalink)
                            Leslie Brenner, the former food critic of the Los Angeles Times and now, the food critic for the Dallas Morning News has certainly made her share of enemies in Dallas since she started her job here a while back.
                            However, she was easy to "unmask" because her face picture was easily seen on the back flap of some of her books selling on Amazon.com. All one had to do was go to Amazon and look up her books and then, look at the "back flap" of a title.
                             
                            #14
                              wanderingjew

                              • Total Posts: 7408
                              • Joined: 1/18/2001
                              • Location: East Greenwich/ Warwick, RI
                              • Roadfood Insider
                              Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Sun, 12/26/10 1:51 PM (permalink)
                              stricken_detective


                              The other thing about Yelp is you don't know who is posting on there. If you Google a certain restaurant's reviews, there should be a few different sites that have them & a few different people reviewing. It doesn't help when you figure out one poster who never has anything negative to say is the owner's brother. That is when I stopped reading Yelp reviews.


                               
                              True,  however the same thing holds true for Roadfood too. As I previously indicated there are select few Roadfood members whose advise I will take in a heartbeat, however a random poster  (and I don't mean a fly by night poster, I'm referring to regular posters)will either tout a restaurant or two on the forum or even do a restaurant review and after visiting the experience is either ordinary or unfortunately downright disappointing. 
                               
                              With yelp, reviews in numbers are much more accurate. It's clearly obvious that an owner's brother is favorably reviewing a restaurant when his review is surrounded by a sea of bad or mediocre reviews and when the owner's brother ironically had just joined yelp to post one review- and then drops off the face of the earth.
                              <message edited by wanderingjew on Sun, 12/26/10 1:53 PM>
                               
                              #15
                                stricken_detective

                                • Total Posts: 2330
                                • Joined: 3/10/2004
                                • Location: the 262
                                Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Sun, 12/26/10 11:51 PM (permalink)
                                wanderingjew


                                stricken_detective


                                The other thing about Yelp is you don't know who is posting on there. If you Google a certain restaurant's reviews, there should be a few different sites that have them & a few different people reviewing. It doesn't help when you figure out one poster who never has anything negative to say is the owner's brother. That is when I stopped reading Yelp reviews.



                                True,  however the same thing holds true for Roadfood too. As I previously indicated there are select few Roadfood members whose advise I will take in a heartbeat, however a random poster  (and I don't mean a fly by night poster, I'm referring to regular posters)will either tout a restaurant or two on the forum or even do a restaurant review and after visiting the experience is either ordinary or unfortunately downright disappointing. 

                                With yelp, reviews in numbers are much more accurate. It's clearly obvious that an owner's brother is favorably reviewing a restaurant when his review is surrounded by a sea of bad or mediocre reviews and when the owner's brother ironically had just joined yelp to post one review- and then drops off the face of the earth.
                                It's also very obvious when he uses the same username at every review website.

                                 
                                #16
                                  wanderingjew

                                  • Total Posts: 7408
                                  • Joined: 1/18/2001
                                  • Location: East Greenwich/ Warwick, RI
                                  • Roadfood Insider
                                  Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Mon, 12/27/10 10:28 AM (permalink)
                                  stricken_detective
                                   

                                  It's also very obvious when he uses the same username at every review website.

                                   Yes, that's a "slam dunk"
                                   
                                  #17
                                    Cosmos

                                    • Total Posts: 1448
                                    • Joined: 5/14/2002
                                    • Location: Syracuse, NY
                                    Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Fri, 12/31/10 12:34 PM (permalink)
                                    sonjaab


                                     Our local "food critic" for the Syracuse NY Herald-Journal news
                                    named Yolanda Wright (spl)  has just retired after many years of harpooning many good resturants over picky things and her continental tastes for obscure food and her love of slurping down bottles of wine on the newspapers tab.
                                    Several resturant associations and owners have offered a reward for her picture but none has ever surfaced..........
                                    I always found Yolanda's reviews fair, she knew her stuff. I didn't always agree with her, but she was fair. She did have a thing for fresh hot coffee at the end of the meal. My former boss knew who she was and alerted a restaurant owner. Her table was mostly through with their meal, but he warned the guy to make sure the coffee was fresh and piping hot..

                                     
                                    #18
                                      1bbqboy

                                      • Total Posts: 4542
                                      • Joined: 11/20/2000
                                      • Location: Rogue Valley
                                      Re:Beverly Hills Restaurant Unmasks L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Fri, 12/31/10 12:38 PM (permalink)
                                      I think that's a pretty fair estimation of a place.
                                      My mother always loved coffee after the meal, and
                                      there were lots of lukewarm cups of mud that dampened
                                      the enjoyability of the meal.
                                      Some places always have fresh coffee no matter how close to closing, others
                                      don't think it is worth the effort.
                                       
                                      #19
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