FoodMolly Abraham

Being a critic

By September 22, 2016 No Comments
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By Molly Abraham

 Here’s a little something about my philosophy of restaurant reviewing: It’s an unscientific occupation, mainly requiring confidence, a reporter’s eye and a certain amount of bravery. Does that oyster look right to you?

 What it doesn’t require is membership in the clean plate club. Normal people who go out to dinner don’t order four or five different entrees, so I don’t either, although I’m willing to accept a taste of what someone else at the table or next to me at the bar is having. Had a great bite of cheesecake one night at Angelina Italian Bistro from a nice guy sitting next to me.

 My method is to order a typical meal based on the house specialties rather than delving into the menu’s fine print. I don’t try to catch some chef omitting a key ingredient in a recipe, or otherwise set up a rigid standard. It’s an overall impression I’m after. And that includes not just what’s on the plate, but the atmosphere and the service as well.

  While I believe atmosphere is very much a part of the restaurant experience, it’s less important than the quality of the food and service.

 Restaurants come in many varieties, and it’s impossible to apply the same standards to all of them. I don’t expect soothing service and fancy tableware at a little Salvadoran cafe where the check is probably $6.75, but I’m fairly demanding about the extras at a restaurant with greater pretensions and prices.  The filet mignon is how much?

 So I try to come up with a judgment based on a balance of the three factors, food, service and atmosphere, plus an intangible – the desire on the part of the people involved in the enterprise to go a little bit above and beyond.

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