Well, another one bites the dust. No, not another print newspaper going under -- I feel like we've leveled off on that front, thankfully -- but rather another restaurant critic shedding the mask of anonymity. This time, it's Rick Nelson of the Minneapolis StarTribune. He's been rather quiet on the review scene lately (the Kansas City Pitch's Charles Ferruzza and Carol Deptolla of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, too, but his face is already out there, and her anonymity's not going anywhere), though he did swing through Wisconsin not too long ago. Revealed faces, facing facts, busting chops -- the face, literal and figurative, is on my mind in this week's Flyover Friday.
I don't know where Lorenz lives if a golf course view is homey, but good livin, K.L.! This is one of those small reviews that reads way too promotional in its praise. Also, with a goofy name like "nines" getting easily lost amidst the regularly-lowercase nouns, grammar and punctuation are key -- and I feel like the editing on this one is a bit lax.
A perfectly cromulent mini-roundup review, if a little bit adrift in the front half; three deployments of the word "decided" in the course of five sentences. Could have used an additional paragraph or two per restaurant.
This review's a bit of a mess, but it's not all Acevedo's fault (though "review" is used where I think "revue" is meant): "Michelin-trained" is an odd way to describe a chef's experience, it's "la dolce vita," and both Acevedo and Blue Tomato biff the sausage name "n'duja." The menu was a key away (n'duka), and Acevedo misses in a different direction with "n'duma." Acevedo leaves too many internal monologue wonderings in the review where there should be definitive statements instead.
I love that Jackman and his guests razz this restaurant on its positively Fierian name. And there's nothing like an exhaustive barbecue review; this one goes on to mouthwatering lengths.
Okay, here's the thing. I give Abraham the business for being too brief, but it's not just length that I'm missing. It's this feeling that she could have walked in and looked around for a few minutes and written most of these comments, never having touched an arepa or forked a lime-marinated shrimp. Readers deserve a little more from a critic.
There's a little more room between the four-week marker and the date of this review's publication than there was with the State Journal's review last week -- but only a little. I still want to know what the rush is.
Austin sneaks into everywhere, including St. Louis. Sounds good though -- but how does a place like this make everything from scratch but not the tortillas? Isn't that, like, the easy part? I don't know. I don't run a restaurant.
Some editing mishaps in here, but this review clears the bar. I don't know that the rating echoes the text, though, unless it's four out of five.
A very conversational review. Reading about Moroccan food will never not make me miss Faouzi's here in Madison.
I actually saw this review pop up in my Facebook feed, which is unusual. Even more unusual: I'm fairly certain I'd never heard of Bonchon before, and it's apparently a Thing. Benton's unmoved but satisfied; I kind of wish I could see the old fuddy-duddy critic that Benton replaced review this place.
There's something about this review that doesn't read like a typical Darlington review; I think it's the lack of a statement placing this restaurant not only in a Madison context, but also a national one. This is not necessarily a complaint, just a statement on something he does frequently. I'm also sent down memory lane with this review, to Cortadito Express and the erstwhile presence of actual Central American street food on the near-near-east side.
I suppose I should stop complaining about the State Journal's one-visit policy. Funny story: when I last visited Willie Ty's for my review of it, a couple next to us at the bar was talking with the bartender, who mentioned that they'd been written up once or twice, but that they'd never had a real, full review. I figured the place would be excited when the Isthmus review came out, but the review never got posted on the restaurant's Facebook page. But of course, this sort-of review did. Oh well.
Proskocil isn't the regular OWH critic, but there isn't too much of a sense of just-filling-in-itis. A couple trips, a fairly broad view of the menu -- yep, this'll do fine.
It makes me happy every time someone gets to experience pelmeni for the first time, even though I question whether any pelmeni is as good as those at Paul's Pelmeni here in Madison. That they share a menu here with a banh-mi (misspelled in the most common way in this review) is a very odd but intriguing bit of synthesis.
Double oof. An almost universally negative review (Oof No. 1), that isn't nearly as much fun to read as, say, a Pete Wells skewering usually is (Oof No. 2). As with a previous review this week, I'm unsure how this even rates a two-star review -- and this scale is out of five.
The Reader doesn't label this as a review, but Sula himself refers to it as such in the post-script. It's short, and maybe the place just opened. I don't know. I do know there's a little bit of looking-down going on here, and I sort of get that -- it's semi-homemade fare done very tongue-in-cheekily -- but it's not like the walking taco just showed up on the scene a month ago. If it had been me writing this, I might have mentioned the idea of food-shame solely to discourage it; I certainly wouldn't have employed the "avoid eye contact with your one-night-stand" tone that Sula does.