Flyover Friday - Peevish

January 18

Karla Walsh's review of Guru BBQ for the Des Moines Register

I found myself waiting for a big A-HA! kind of reveal, telling me what Guru BBQ unexpectedly excels at, but it never came. So I'll ask a question instead: will there be an Iowa school of barbecue within 5 to 10 years? So much pork there, I kinda feel like there will.

January 19

Michael Nagrant's "mini-review" of Spotted Monkey for Chicago's RedEye

Duck N Roll, Wagyu Wagon, Saucy Porka. These are food cart names from, like, Bob's Burgers, right?

Charles Ferruzza's review of Magnolia's Contemporary Southern Cuisine for the Kansas City Pitch

Kinda profiley, and loaded to the rafters with adverbs. I had a conversation about food writing crutches the other day, and this one feels full of them. I like Ferruzza's stuff, but this is not his best.

K.L. Lorenz's review of PJ Piper Pancake House Restaurant for Milwaukee's Shepherd Express

First: I'm not a fan of prices inserted into the body of a review. Just takes me out of it. Second: I'm sure the aroma in the restaurant is lovely, but does it need to be called out in a mention of walking to the restrooms?

January 20

Mike Sula's review of Monteverde Restaurant and Pastificio for Chicago's Reader

As I recall, Sarah wasn't the heavy of her season of Top Chef, that was Heather. But anyway, nice to see another Top Chef chef scoring a solid restaurant in Chicago.

Garin Pirnia's review of Americano Burger Bar for the Cincinnati CityBeat

If you're going to mention the beer, you should name the beer. If I've violated this precept in the past, I apologize. (I'm guessing the Little Fish beer that went unnamed is Rheinheitsgewhat?!, which is no longer listed on the Americano bottle menu.)

Douglas Trattner's review of Tandul for the Cleveland Scene

Some day I'm going to write a big, annoying, privileged-white-perspective thinkpiece on the use of the word "ethnic" to indicate non-Anglo Saxon, and what it means about the value judgments we're placing on a restaurant or cuisine when we use it, but for now this overlong sentence will have to do. The review is solid enough.

Serena Maria Daniels' review of Pho Hang for the Detroit Metro Times

"Rib-eye" is the NY Times style standard, while the Metro Times goes "rib eye." This is a minor difference, except when placed adjacent to the term "beef balls," then then one's gaze is drawn immediately to the perceived but fictional "beef eye balls," which is a truly unexpected pho ingredient.

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

Cheryl, you're better than this. "I had thought Taiwanese food would be basically Chinese food"? Come on. But then I'm drawn right back in by that hot dog, and the thought of actually (not just figuratively) crusting a pork chop with crushed churros. St. Louis, junk food kwee-zeen Mecca.

Molly Abraham's review of Mudgie's Deli for the Detroit News

There are some posting shenanigans at the News lately, and this one posted really late. So I have nothing to say.

January 21

Polly Campbell's review of Daveed's for the Cincinnati Enquirer

Seems like a fart before leaving the elevator to mention a restaurant's awful website at the end of an affectionate and positive review, but then *goes to website* *vomits* it's real bad.

G.A. Benton's review of Thai Grille for the Columbus Dispatch

The Dispatch paywall has gotten pretty strict, by my reckoning. Fortunate for me, it republishes many of its reviews on the Columbus Alive site, which is weird. A lot of parentheticals in this review, which is something coming from me, a recovering parenthetiholic.

Liz Biro's review of Diavola Pizza and Wine for the Indianapolis Star

Pizza place opened three weeks before publication. No flow or structure, save for big in-line images and underlined paragraph headers. This isn't a review; it's a first-look slideshow, just on one page.

Adam Powell's review of Nani Restaurant for Madison's Isthmus

I'd take less recitation of the menu options and more discussion of the qualities of the food itself, but a sprawling Chinese menu can be tough work to boil down.

Samara Kalk Derby's review of the Norske Nook for Madison's Wisconsin State Journal

I don't know why a critic would out herself as mistaking actual mashed potatoes for instant, or why a line like "This bacon is so good you can feel it in your neurons" would be included in a professional review -- I mean, that's how you feel everything, right? It's just not a particularly good review.

Sarah Baker Hansen's review of Saigon Restaurant for the Omaha World-Herald

A review with a very personal tone, which is fine in some circumstances but here tends to undercut the criticism. Too many dishes are described by what's in them.

Ian Froeb's review of Retreat Gastropub for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

That's two for two on Retreat, racking up positive reviews in spite of what should be a shambling Frankensteinian corpse of modern American restaurant tropes.

Blade staff's review of Sunrise Skillet for the Toledo Blade

For making two trips,  the critic should, I think, have a little more to say about the food, and certainly more than platitudes like "awesome."

January 22

Beth Segal's review of Cuisine du Cambodge for the Cleveland Plain Dealer

This is better. A respectable dive into the menu, some explanation of the cuisine for context, some discussion of flavors and ingredient interactions. Segal's reviews often read like almost more like blog posts (something I think I've pointed out a couple times before) but this one's got a nice tone and pace.

Carol Deptolla's review of Bamboo Restaurant for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Well, there is just a shitload of southeast Asian this week, isn't there. I now can't read Journal Sentinel reviews without seeing the single-sentence grafs staring back at me, challenging me. And there's some bad page formatting this time, too. Am I just being a grump this week?