MARK’S ARTICLE -- April 14, 2010
“A reluctant restaurant reviewer”
I’m not sure I have the temperament to be a critic. Oh, I don’t mind criticizing friends or family. I do that all the time. After all, what are they gonna do? Hurt me? They just better not.
But, when it comes to publicly criticizing someone or someone’s business, that’s another thing all together. That’s scary. And that’s exactly what I got myself into.
You may have noticed that over the last couple of months I’ve mentioned restaurant critic Brad Meyer. Made no sense. I barely know the guy and I’m eating out with him. Except for family and the Plilers, I seldom eat out with anybody. And, for the most part, people are good with that.
But, awhile back somebody got the idea that Brad and I should do restaurant reviews together, record them and then put them on the Internet and/or radio. I don’t think it was my idea, and not even sure it was Brad’s. But, someone put the bug in somebody’s ear. So, we “did” lunch a few times to plan stuff.
Well, for better or worse, the planning part is over. We’re without plan. What we’ve got now is our first audio review in the can… as it were. Our first effort may come across as a bit awkward, but what first effort doesn’t? That’s rhetorical. Quit trying to think up stuff.
The presentation will run smoother in time. That’s a dream. Hey, it’s gonna take me awhile to even get to like Brad. The guy is such a meany. I’ve mentioned that. He doesn’t mind telling waitresses and managers, right to their face, exactly what he thinks of something.
At one restaurant staff the was bragging about their pie, so Brad ordered a slice. When he finished, the waitress was beaming when she asked him how he liked it. He said, “Not that great. I’ve had better.” Can you believe that?
Brad thinks that if you’re afraid of the answer, don’t ask, ‘cause he’s not going to lie. He won’t, either. If you happen to think you’re a good-looking elderly lady and want Brad to guess your age… uh, just don’t. I’ll miss your age by 10 years on the young side. Brad will nail it. Just take the wind right out of you.
That’s really what you want in a critic. However, it may not be what the owner or manager of an eating establishment wants.
Truth is, food critics show up at an eating place at one particular time on one particular day. They get one person out of an entire wait staff to take care of them. They order one entrée from a menu. Some menus have a whale of a lot of stuff on ‘em. The restaurant gets judged by one or two.
That’s not fair. I would certainly not enjoy being graded on just one article. Sometimes what I write really stinks. – Beg pardon? -- Anyway, you may have to read about five or six articles to find a gem. Or, less of a stinker.
The bottom line, when you hear one of our reviews, you’ll be getting an assessment from a guy with my tastes who orders one entrée. My tastes are highly unprofessional. That means I’ve never been paid to eat. I don’t like spicy food, don’t care for alcohol and am always concerned about the price of something. Even though Brad’s “Courier” budget is paying for my meal, I still hesitate to order expensive stuff. Brad gets after me for that. If a place specializes in steaks, he thinks I should order a steak. There is a chance we could get to be buds.
With Brad, you’re getting an assessment from a professional. The guy has been all over the place. He’s promoted hotels and restaurants in Vegas, Florida and the Caribbean. I’m fairly sure he’s not involved with organized crime, but, like I say, I don’t know him that well.
There is no doubt that Brad Meyer knows his stuff. I’ll ask him about something on a menu and he’ll say, “You don’t know what that is? Good grief, man, you need to get out more.” He can be pretty much a snobbycake.
Brad likes some of the same stuff I do, and just a whole lot of stuff I don’t. I’m not sure you could serve him something too spicy. He loves the heat. To me, heat is not a flavor. It’s just hot. If you put a lot of hot, spicy stuff on beef, chicken, fish or corn, it’s all gonna taste the same, just with a little different texture.
Anybody can do hot. I can do hot. I just won’t ‘cause it really messes up a meal for me. Brad calls that wimpiness… a word thought up by a real snobbycake.
I have not idea how this food critic tag team thing is going to work out. There’s a good chance it’ll lead to a big food fight. I only hope it won’t lead to a bunch of people hating me. I don’t care if you hate Brad, ‘cause he can take it. Me, I’d rather take a kick.
Oh, I should probably tell you that our first review can be heard by logging onto www.hcnonline.com/media/buffalo.mp3.
If our findings upset any of you, let Brad know. He’ll probably welcome the criticism.