• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

I don’t see reviewers as enemies of restaurants: Even Anton Ego, in the movie Ratatouille, confessed that all he really wanted was delicious, thrilling food — and what won him over was the homely title dish, authentically prepared just as his mother made it. Every critic wants delicious, thrilling, authentic food to rave about. I rarely review restaurants worth less than two stars, unless they’re glam and glitzy, extracting good money for blah food. The point is to share great discoveries, not to put lackluster restaurants out of business — their customers, or lack thereof, will take care of that. (And if they’re old local favorites, devoted regulars will keep coming back regardless of what I write about limp veggies or canned gravies — for them, it’s comfort food, like Mom’s pressure-cooked pot roast — and they will rant furiously at me for not giving their faves a rave. Ditto for trendy new restaurants where the food may be far from fabulous but the booze flows freely. Then the rants are misspelled.)

Far from a foe, I’m a passionate partisan of serious restaurants, regardless of price range or food style. I go out hoping that every restaurant will be superb — and if sometimes I quibble over small flaws, it’s meant constructively. (Besides, all rave/no quibbles equals no credibility.) What a critic wants more than anything is to find exciting discoveries, share the good news with readers, and try to help honest, high-aiming restaurants survive in a very difficult business. In ethnic restaurants, I’m looking for authenticity — and deliciousness. At the higher end, I love the new “green cuisine,” but also sometimes long for a bit more intellectual/culinary experimentation, more creative audacity — along with deliciousness. This may still take a while — San Diegans (not to mention Gaslamp conventioneers) are stereotyped as conservative in their tastes, and are just warming up to culinary derring-do. But the omens are auspicious. And when they build it, I will come — and rave about it.

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader

Comments

Posse_Dave June 19, 2009 @ 5:06 p.m.

Naomi, Your article about being the "unknown diner" in your restaurant visits is wonderful. It explains to all San Diegans one of the reasons you are such a terrific restaurant reviewer. More power to you!

Dave

0

Fred Williams June 19, 2009 @ 9:19 p.m.

From now on whenever I make a restaurant reservation I'm going to use the name of a restaurant reviewer. My date will be so impressed...thanks for the idea, Naomi!

0

SDaniels June 20, 2009 @ 12:55 a.m.

To further obfuscate Naomi's identity: I once impersonated her for part of an evening to chefs and servers at a swank eatery--easy to do and hard to resist doing, as I was "alone" sitting near the bar, and big pharma footed the bill for a steady river of cocktails, wines by the glass, entrees, appetizers. My status earned me a glass or three from a special bottle produced from the kitchen. Upon revealing that I was not in actuality Ms. Wise, I confided in a hush that she was a slightish, unassuming woman of Asian appearance. I hope that slightish Asian women have consequently been getting the best of service around town the last couple of years.

0

David Dodd June 20, 2009 @ 1:09 a.m.

I call B.S. You, alone? Never! Even when the old man is away toiling away I somehow imagine you surrounded by young men that look like Dustin Hoffman (several years ago, obviously), hoping for that opportunity...

0

SDaniels June 20, 2009 @ 1:18 a.m.

And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson...Nawp. Actually, all the prominent docs, nurses, pharm reps, etc. were in the main dining room. My invite was "secret" and my instructions were to remain incognito, while tucking away oysters and Napa fruit.

0

David Dodd June 20, 2009 @ 1:30 a.m.

Well, obviously your invite was "secret" - in your pantry with your cupcakes (that sounds naughty enough). Woo, woo, woo, ma'am. Oysters, Napa fruit, and all. I hope magics knows that song, we'll sing it out to the public and embarrass ourselves and live to not regret it.

0

SDaniels June 20, 2009 @ 1:37 a.m.

I will refrain from jest about salmon boxty. And yes, we can sing anything you all like--not sure I know any Megadeth tunes, though.

0

David Dodd June 20, 2009 @ 1:43 a.m.

I only know OF Megadeath, not the tunes. My years, once again, betray me.

0

SDaniels June 20, 2009 @ 1:49 a.m.

Now, now, don't take on so, laddie. Yer just gettin' used to this year's newly gifted birthday suit. I'm sure magics will dazzle us with 'deth,' you'll cultivate something Kurt, and I'll busk out my best Beckett :)

0

magicsfive June 20, 2009 @ 8:25 a.m.

lol you two are crazy..shall i pack my ipod? i just got up and i see magics, megadeth, and mrs. robinson...since i love megadeth and am a cougar and proud, i shall have to learn the song...mrs robinson was it? you can teach me. singing right aloud, no regrets. absolutely, just good times ;) xoxo

0

Naomi Wise June 22, 2009 @ 10:59 p.m.

Thanks, Dave. Thanks the rest of you for posting. (Whew, feels like I'm back among friends again after last week's Sarah Palin rally.)

When chefs have teasingly asked me during phone interviews what I look like, I tell them I'm a six-foot tall, skinny blonde. That way, whenever Terryl Gavre (of the SD Metro) goes to a restaurant, everybody will think she's me.

Sounds like SDaniels may have described Candice Woo of City Beat, although I imagine Ms. Woo is more stylish than that description. Sounds like you just bought her some good service and food -- cool! (I don't know if she wears a brown bag on her head, but she's apparently a friend of Kirk of mmm-yoso, so she's quickly clued into interesting Asian new mom'n'pops. Always scoops me on them -- as the villain of the old Wildroot Cream Oil cartoon ads would say, "Curses, foiled again!)

Hey, Magics, I used to be a proud cougar until I got a long-term boyfriend. Now I'm just a beat up old lioness, yawning in the sun. ("Hey, sista, you go hunt today, bring me some take-out." )

0

Sign in to comment

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close