Filed under: Local Food Commentary | Tags: a-holes, Food Blogs, Food Critics, New York Times, Noah Ellis, Red Medicine, S. Irene Virbila
OH, I love it when restaurateurs take their fate into their own hands! They might be undermining themselves, they may be poising themselves for a “Person Of The Year” award from local diners, or they might just be kicking out another paying customer. Such is life, when making decisions regarding your own fate compounded with the inclusion of another person/group of people you can only predict the outcome to so many decimals. That is what makes life interesting, and in this case:
In this episode of Restaurant Life we encounter an uh…encounter betwixt a Restaurant Owner and a Restaurant Critic who are at odds as to whether said Critic should be seated. This scenario may sound VERY familiar to you tens of readers who experienced “Wini-Gate” in all of its Meh-ness.
Here is the tale as told by the New York Times:
December 22, 2010, 6:04 pm
<!– — Updated: 6:29 pm –>
Restaurateur Ejects Los Angeles Times CriticBy PETE WELLS
If you are an owner of a restaurant that keeps a critic waiting for a table, you could spend the rest of the night trying to make it all better. Or you could just throw the critic out on the street.
Noah Ellis chose the second route when the Los Angeles Times critic S. Irene Virbila came into Red Medicine last night. Mr. Ellis recounted the episode on the restaurant’s Tumblr, and posted a photo of Ms. Virbila that he snapped just before expelling her. Here’s how he explained making that call:
Our purpose for posting this is so that all restaurants can have a picture of her and make a decision as to whether or not they would like to serve her. We find that some of her reviews can be unnecessarily cruel and irrational, and that they have caused hard-working people in this industry to lose their jobs — we don’t feel that they should be blind-sided by someone with no understanding of what it takes to run or work in a restaurant.
Ms. Virbila told Daily Dish, her paper’s food blog, that she and her party had been waiting 45 minutes past their reservation time when Mr. Ellis walked up, carrying a camera. Her editor, Russ Parsons, told Daily Dish that Ms. Virbila was unsettled by the encounter and by having her picture taken without her permission. Most of all, he said, “She was upset because she has worked extremely hard for more than 15 years to maintain her anonymity in the L.A. restaurant scene.”
He also told Daily Dish that the Times will continue with its plans to review Red Medicine. The blog did not state whether he intends to have the review carried out by Ms. Virbila or by another critic.
6:25 p.m. | Updated In a phone interview with Glenn Collins, Mr. Parsons said that Ms. Virbila preferred not to speak about the incident. “She would rather let her writing speak for itself,” she said.
He confirmed that the paper intends to have the restaurant reviewed, either by Ms. Virbila or by another staffer. “We may dress her up in a clown uniform,” he said with a laugh, “or enlist one of Ruth Reichl’s makeup artists.”
This is the part I have found to be the most profound, and is almost the thesis statement on which this blog was founded on one year ago:
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