Flyover Friday - Authoritative voice

Kind of a shitty week for the traditional media this last week. Retirement announcements, scandal, and the sudden deaths of two respected journalists, one of which -- David Carr of the New York Times -- was a media columnist and constant commentator on the state of print media. Carr's authoritative voice is awfully compelling, and I wish I'd paid more attention to him while he was with us. (And excuse me for coming off as a bandwagoneer, since I'm just now watching Page One.) I get to touch the world of journalism, the best parts of which are exemplified by people like Carr, and that's really an honor. A heavy lead-in to an insignificant corner of the media landscape, but here's this weeks' Flyover Friday.

C. Acevedo's review of Hibachi Grill for the Des Moines Register

It's been a few weeks since we've had a review from the Register. Acevedo starts out gamely acknowledging his predisposition against buffets -- okay, at least that's honest -- but by the end of the review, his tone has shifted to weirdly classist. The popularity of these restaurants bewilders me, too, but I'm not about to level judgment on who they're for, or for what goal.

Charles Ferruzza's review of Avenues Bistro for the Kansas City Pitch

A fascinating review for the restaurateur's choice to expand in square footage but actually reduce the number of seats. If I was in that industry in Kansas City, Ferruzza's critical eye would keep me up at night editing my menu.

Michael Taylor's review of Pontiac Bourbon and BBQ for the Cincinnati CityBeat

Oh no. Oh, no no no. "Ohio-style barbecue." That's not a thing! You're not going to make it a thing! At least, not by mashing up a hodgepodge of styles. That said, it does look pretty good -- except for that pulled pork nacho cheese poutine abomination. (Curdz 4 Lyfe.) Taylor presents enough barbecue knowledge, though, that I generally trust his analysis.

Jane Slaughter's review of Frida Mexican Grill for the Detroit MetroTimes

I don't really know what to think of this review. Slaughter pooh-poohs the Meximerican touches on the menu -- chimichangas and the like -- but then undercuts the slightly more Mexican seafood dishes for the fact that Dearborn's nowhere near the sea. Let the restaurant do what it do. Trivia: Dearborn has, historically, been home to a large Muslim population, which should explain the standout mention of halal meats.

Molly Abraham's review of Antietam for the Detroit News

Thanks to Abraham for mentioning what a previous review of Antietam didn't: that the name comes from a nearby street, not the Civil War battle site. I guess it's too much to expect every review to be written so some guy in Madison can understand the nuance, but I appreciate it all the same.

Lindsay Christians' review of Angelo's Italian Restaurant for Madison's Capital Times

It's a "small-town operation" review, so naturally it's going to be pretty heavy on restaurateur commentary. Christians (along with the Cap Times editors, probably) isn't going to turn the laser sights fully on an old beloved kitchen like Angelo's anyway. It's a cute little spot, and an appropriately-toned review.

Cheryl Baehr's review of Avenue for St. Louis' Riverfront Times

Baehr provides essential context for Avenue's existence and appeal by briefly referencing the restaurants that preceded it. She dings the lunch menu pretty hard, which, as the odd duck meal in today's brunch and dinner world, is a kitchen fail that doesn't surprise me too much. If a ball is going to be dropped, I feel like that's the one a place will drop first.

G. A. Benton's review of Little Sicily's Pizza for the Columbus Dispatch

Let's talk for just a second about that meaty-as-hell Works pizza in the header image. Whoa, sausage verticality. Actually, I don't have much else to say besides whoa. Quaint-sounding old-school pie shop, and a decent review.

Blade staff's review of Fatty's Diner for the Toledo Blade

Hey, the camera got an upgrade! -- though, the second shot has been weirdly photoshopped to delete the background. They're in their own heads with these pics. Just take a good picture and post it! I have a lot of problems with this review, but I'll limit myself to advising you, the reader, to count how many sentences start with or hinge on the pronoun "I." The reading experience suffers under this kind of spark-less writing.

Samara Kalk Derby's review of Macchiatos for Madison's Wisconsin State Journal

Danger, small-town restaurant! Danger! The real estate may be cheap, but you've got to pay to heat, light, and fill all that space. Ultimately I don't really get this place; the name is weird, the size is odd for a café, the menu is odd for the size, and the ingredient sourcing -- the cook had to leave the restaurant to "restock" the teriyaki sauce for the ribs, and Derby doesn't call that out? -- is just plain suspect.

Carol Deptolla's review of Dublin's for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This review feels shorter than most of Deptolla's, but it covers the bases well and really illustrates how she feels about Dublin's -- which is to say, quite good. And I agree, the menu appeals to me from afar. The salmon cakes sound great.

Jess Fleming's review of Paddy Shack at Half Time Rec for the St. Paul Pioneer Press

Look at that, the first proper review from the Pioneer Press since September 2014. It's a superstar pop-in joint, not entirely unlike the original Mission Chinese in San Francisco, so you can understand the draw to come out of review hibernation. If not that, then the mac and cheese popcorn hotdog would've done the trick.

Mike Sula's review of Bascule Wine Bar for Chicago's Reader

Before I got to the end of Sula's paragraph extolling the virtues of the chef's seafood skills, I was skimming back up top to see if the place was indeed a seafood restaurant. And then I got to the end and realized that's the point he was making. An unpolished restaurant with promise. (And I think you mean Hitachino Nest beer, Mike!)

Sarah Baker Hansen's review of Spin Neapolitan Pizza for the Omaha World-Herald

I'm getting to a weird point in my life, where gluten-free pizza crusts are becoming more and more appealing -- a perspective Hansen seems to share. Again with the mouth-watering header pizzas. What an odd choice for a Beard-winning chef to pin his name to a salad menu section at a regional franchise pizza joint. No one's going to leave talking about how great your salad is even if it's the best thing on the menu, but they're certainly going to notice if it sucks.