As our nation celebrates the annual television spectacle that is Summerslam, I thought I'd catch up with last week's Great Taste-caused miss and run this week's Flyover Friday as a head-to-head matchup when possible. Some papers didn't run a review last week, some didn't run a review this week, but for those that did, a little friendly competition is in order.
The Warm-up Acts
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Carol Deptolla's review of Pizza Man
Only sort of a review, but considering Deptolla's spotty publishing schedule of late, I'll take it. Pizza brunch: good idea. Garlic bread Benedict? Great idea.
Jolene Ketzenberger's review of Three Carrots
A "non-ethnic vegetarian restaurant"? It literally comes from no culture? I'm convinced that any sandwich that riffs on po'boy but is called "rich" instead will be a disappointment.
Kansas City Pitch
Charles Ferruzza's review of Slap's BBQ
People who complain about barbecue places running out of food seriously do not get it. People who call themselves food bloggers should absolutely know better. Even Ferruzza seems put out, but really: scarcity is the name of this game.
Douglas Trattner's review of Urban Farmer
"Ripped-from-Portlandia" has become a remarkably evocative phrase, but I wouldn't be nearly as forgiving as Trattner for the shtick that inspires the term.
Molly Abraham's review of Republica
Molly Abraham: Not a Fan of Kale.
Andre Darlington's review of Hong Kong Station
SMH at the cultural territoriality here. You opened the restaurant, Hong Kong Station; serve your food to everyone or don't bother. Warning customers off of some menu items and not others is insulting.
The opening historical anecdote provides a snappy hook for the review, but feels kind of inappropriate. That said, so do the photoshopped Anglo celebs in Arabic and Muslim garb that the restaurant displays.
Sarah Baker Hansen's review of Five Spice
The W-H site says that Nick Verlaney penned a review of Borgata last week, but it's a brief, bulleted affair. Baker Hansen's review of Five Spice is legit and fun, as her stuff has tended to be.
The Main Event(s)
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Bob Migra's review of Kabob Place vs. Peter Chakerian's review of Brennan's Colony
I can't believe the review that starts with a total lack of awareness of Ramadan won, but Chakerian's review barely talks about the food amid non-specific praise of the restaurant in light of the former owner's recent untimely death. Maybe that review should have waited. Winner: Kabob Place.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Ian Froeb's review of Peshwa vs. his review of A Pizza Story
Two eateries opened by non-food professionals itching to get into the restaurant biz enter, one walks out. I'm always ready to praise a solid review of Indian food, and I'll do it again today. Winner: Peshwa.
Des Moines Register
C. Acevedo's review of La Pena vs. his review of Taj Mahal
Acevedo's reviews have stopped appearing in the Register's RSS feed, but I've found them all the same. Unfortunately, the Taj Mahal review is not one of the good ones. Winner: La Pena.
Rick Nelson's review of Agra Culture Kitchen & Press vs. his review of Copper Hen
I've begun to think that Nelson might have too much room to fill. I don't need to hear about his morning gastrocolonic effect. Winner: Copper Hen.
Milwaukee's Shepherd Express
Ciera McKissick's review of Milwaukee Beer Bistro vs. Amanda Sullivan's review of Kasana
Yay for both of these reviews; you've heard me wish for more space on this paper's dining page, and it's apparently been given. A little too much passive voice in the Kasana review. Winner: Milwaukee Beer Bistro.
St. Paul Pioneer Press
Jess Fleming's review of Libertine vs. her review of Tongue in Cheek
Fleming's Tongue in Cheek review had to have come earlier than 4 weeks, and includes a reference to a fruit snack that is too dated to be widely received (indeed, even her editor appears to have missed it, given the lack of capitalization). Winner: Libertine.
Minneapolis' City Pages
Bridgette Reinsmoen's review of Mattie's on Main vs. Emily Weiss' review of Tongue in Cheek
Tongue in Cheek reviews aren't faring well. Too much input from the restaurateur for my taste, and Weiss describes a solid block of salt as frozen; it's just salt, Emily. That's how it comes. Winner: Mattie's on Main.
St. Louis' Riverfront Times
Cheryl Baehr's review of Death in the Afternoon vs. her review of Pizzeria Mia
How does a New Jersey-esque pizza joint not serve New Jersey-style pizza? I wish Baehr had asked this. Meanwhile: Death in the Afternoon, Blood & Sand, children playing in a fountain -- is this a restaurant review, or the next season of Game of Thrones? I mean that as a statement of approval. Winner: Death in the Afternoon.
Madison's Wisconsin State Journal
Samara Kalk Derby's review of Chimmies vs. her review of Rare Steakhouse
The Rare review is not as bad as some of the commenters make it out to be, but it's not good. (Though the State Journal editors are as much to blame for their ridiculous one-visit review policy.) The Chimmies review is actually fine. Winner: Chimmies.
Detroit Metro Times
Aaron Egan's review of Ale Mary vs. Jane Slaughter's review of Full Belly
Slaughter's review walks too closely to the line between critical praise and business advocacy, even if the place does seem deserve it. Winner: Ale Mary.
Jon Christensen's review of Asian Go vs. G.A. Benton's review of Katalina's
Christensen's reviews lack a narrative, a structure that makes them more than a series of descriptions hanging from a clothesline. I'd love to see him tune up his game, but for now... Winner: Katalina's.
Anne Mitchell's review of The President's Room vs. Kristen Franke's review of Happy Belly on Vine
Only the Mitchell piece is described as a review on the CityBeat website, but they both read the same. Which is to say, minimally. That said, at least the Mitchell review covered a respectable amount of territory -- though who orders an iceberg salad and asks for the lamb bacon left off?? Winner: The President's Room.
Anonymous' review of El Nuevo Vallarta vs. Anonymous' review of Melt Shoppe
The former weirdly ascribes molé as a Mexican food item to the American Southwest, while the latter -- an exceptionally, bitingly negative review -- avoids goofy small-city Midwestern provincialism. Winner: Melt Shoppe