Flyover Friday - The work

I'm at the point with Flyover Friday where I'm appreciating the difficulty of maintaining this kind of coverage. I get why Eater left the concept due to the amount of effort that is required to aggregate, read, analyze, and discuss all these reviews. I'm not angling for praise here; I don't feel like I'm holding up my end of the bargain. But then, I don't really know who's on the other end of the line. Here's Flyover Friday for the week of July 13; is this thing on?

Charles Ferruzza's review of Il Lazzarone for the Kansas City Pitch

THIS is why you give every restaurant at least a month before reviewing, even the ones that seem like a sure thing. At two weeks, the flaws Ferruzza describes at Il Lazzarone could have been explained as jitters. When it's been open since March? We got problems. A long read, but a great one.

John Schneider and Mary Gleason's review of Maxfield's Pancake House for Milwaukee's Shepherd Express

I don't know if this was meant to fit into the same review slot as others I've covered from the Shep, but it's got a different feel entirely -- and maybe that's because of the joint authorship. A couple? Has a Roadfood.com kind of vibe.

Carlos Acevedo's review of Mr. Filet for the Des Moines Register

A sweet, wistful review of an area legend about to be shut down by the march of progress. Not a lot of depth, but that's not really the point.

Tom Perkins' review of Casablanca for the Detroit Metro Times

Too bad that Used to Be Taco Bell isn't really operational anymore; we've got a new entry. Feels similar to my Faouzi's experience here in Madison. Hopefully Casablanca doesn't come to the same abrupt end.

Molly Abraham's review of Sapori for the Detroit News

I just get the feeling sometimes, like Abraham barely even eats at the restaurants she reviews.

Mary Jo Rasmussen's review of Parella for Minneapolis' City Pages

A fine review. Nothing glamorous, nothing particularly flawed.

Cheryl Baehr's review of the Q Shack for St. Louis' Riverfront Times

Brilliantly junky, this place. I wish I'd have known in time for Beersball. We never got around to experiencing a proper slinger. Parking lot barbecue shop just hits all the right notes for me, appropriate considering I just discovered one in Madison.

Jess Fleming's review of Como Dockside for the St. Paul Pioneer Press

It's still a little weird to read reviews written entirely in the We. Given the nature of this restaurant -- a concession stand in a park in early summer -- I don't think Fleming's job was a hard one, even with the wait for food.

G.A. Benton's review of Tai Tiki Polynesian Bar Grill and Sushi for the Columbus Dispatch

Let's talk about all the heebie jeebies this restaurant's name gives me from the onset. Goofy fun is one thing, but $18 cocktails and nearly $30 mains -- in Columbus, not Waikiki, it should be noted -- are a high price to pay for goofy fun.

Linda Falkenstein's review of Portage Pi for Madison's Isthmus

A wee little review this week in Isthmus. Hand-pies are definitely in in Madison right now, between Humble, the revived Teddywedgers, and now Portage Pi. The punny name seems unnecessary, though.

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

Two questions: 1) While I appreciate that Derby's brother from Florida finds two restaurants similar to each other (a similarity I don't see, and I think is informed by her brother's out-of-towner-ness), is that a perspective that aids the reader of a Madison paper? And 2) What dental hygienist recommends RumChata-soaked, breakfast cereal-crusted French toast to a patient? And not for nothin', but where have we seen that "Knoche's meat is always a good sign" construction recently?

Sarah Baker Hansen's review of Himalayas Indian and Bhutanese Cuisine for the Omaha World-Herald

Nope. It's confirmed. I definitely don't like the infobox details above the review. Especially when the review is an approachable, solid piece of work like Hansen's usually are. It's not like you need to boil down a 2,500-word thinkpiece here. (UPDATE: I haven't even posted this column yet but after chatting with SBH on Twitter, she modded this review and the previous to have the infobox at the bottom. SO MUCH BETTER.)

Ian Froeb's review of Lucky Buddha for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Another fairly flawless review from Froeb. He's got a knack for hitting all the spots you'd want a review to hit, answering questions you'd probably ask.

Blade staff's review of Rose Thai for the Toledo Blade

I don't get why the presence of duck on a Thai menu is anything unusual, and the reasoning behind the apropos-of-nothing Dickens reference at the end escapes me entirely. Blade reviews just tend to have this gomery vibe to them, like the critic feels these dishes have gone unremarked upon to date, and oh man, can you believe the Thai eat ducks?

Peter Chakerian's review of Bourbon Street Barrel Room for the Cleveland Plain Dealer

A stiff, slightly dorky review, but it covers the menu respectably well. My problem is with the use of the term "anecdotes" at the top where the intent is clearly "tropes" or "clichés" -- and even more so with the inclusion of that intro altogether. It smacks of search engine optimization, and at the very least, it's an extended dad joke of a paragraph.

Carol Deptolla's review of Rice 'n' Roll Bistro for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

I'm not feeling this one either; Deptolla doesn't really launch this review with any sense of importance or fun. These last three reviews all end with a similar sentiment of "the food was good and I wanted more," which is just kind of lazy.

Michael Nagrant's review of Taste of Thai Town for Chicago's RedEye

A very late submission; typically reviews don't post on Sundays. It's also a very personal review, with a lot of restaurateur input. But hey, did you know the Thai eat ducks?

BONUS: Reviews of Saint Dinette and Monello and Constantine from Ted Held and Paige Latham, respectively, for Minneapolis' Heavy Table

Two-thirds lavished praise, one-third apparently well-deserved dismissal. As always, I feel the need to recommend the work of Heavy Table; a website maintaining the standards of print criticism is doing good work.