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critique protocol...


aprilized
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I work as a cook at Otto, the new resto at the W hotel in Old Montreal.

I was off on last Saturday but I heard that Phillipe Molee (sic?), food critic from Le Devoir stopped by to check us out that night.

We opened for business 3 days prior and I'm wondering how long food critics usually wait before trying out a new restaurant to critique.

Post if you know of any standard...

thanks

April

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Wow, way, way too soon in my opinion. Lesley can best answer this but I think a good critic needs to allow some time to pass, let a buzz happen for the restaurant, etc.

Maybe he plans to come back before he writes the review. I hope so.

By the way, I was at Otto and the W last Tuesday for the big bash and it was a lot of fun. If you had a hand in any of the food, kudos, it was all good!

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Speaking for myself....

I try to wait two months before reviewing a restaurant. That's not set in stone, but generally that's my time limit.

Three days is ridiculous. And even two months might be early, but don't forget there are chefs out there dying for a positive review to fill up their restaurant to get the ball rolling.

BTW, aprilized welcome to eGullet! You have a few good chefs there at Otto!

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although PHILIP MOLLE had only good things to say about the food.his description of the dishes was completly off. example the beef tartar comes with poached quail eggs, avocado, pancetta and japanesse mustard. there is no fruit chutney, jalapino and no balsamic jely. and for the duck ...PINAPPLE.... ?????. and I never heard of a food critic that judges dessert based only by looking at the menu and ordering only one scoop of vanilla ice cream.

tip to PHILIP, maybe give a call to the chef before writing a review to get your facts straight.

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You might have jumped the gun on him a bit too fast. I think he mention the duck marinated with ANIS....."Bien cuite, la poitrine marinée avec de l'anis".

As for his tartare he's probaly victim of the tartare trend - might be hard to keep them seperate if you have 4-5 of them a week. Ah, the trend fog - we just had a Tartare (The restaurant) open in SF - serves only......

I thought it was a pretty good and "clever" positive review and he DID mention that we should give it some time.

And his mentioning of certain waitresses "poitrines gourmands" which my Mac translated as "chests greedy" can't hurt!!! Hmm, maybe I can sell that tag line to HOOTERS.

Edited by sf&m (log)
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although PHILIP MOLLE had only good things to say about the food.his description of the dishes was completly off. example the beef tartar comes with poached quail eggs, avocado, pancetta and japanesse mustard. there is no fruit chutney, jalapino and no balsamic jely.

I find this hard to believe...I always though Mollé's restaurant reviews were carefully made and a reference...but to confuse a poach egg with fruit chutney!!!

I am loosing my illusions!

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As for his tartare he's probaly victim of the tartare trend - might be hard to keep them seperate if you have 4-5 of them a week.

With all due respect...tartare has been a staple at upscales for at least 2 decades. Having to eat a few of them a week is neither here nor there imo. A small notebook would have allowed him to keep his tartars in order, if that was the case.

Seeing as critics can make or break, I don't feel that confusion, misinformation or simple sloppiness on their part is acceptable, especially for such a respected paper.

If the shoe was on the other foot and the establishment showed it was this confused or unprofessional while serving this partciular customer, Montrealers would read about it in black and white with no exuses accepted.

As we all know, everyone makes mistakes on ocassion, but we have to hold all parties involved in food service to the same standards; which often times isn't the case for restaurants that might have some imperfection plated and served to a critic.

Edited by aprilized (log)
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In every review I have been involved in, either as a cook, chef and now owner there have been mistakes made by the critic-it is par for the course.

Does it really matter if there are tiny errors. What matters most is if it (the review) is generally positive-and in this case it was.

Congrats to Adamo,Dino, Edge, Luke Skywalker, James, The Lawyer, John and the entire team. There are some real pros working at OttO, and I personally would not expect anything less than topnotch cuisine from this Brigade.

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Sorry, aprilized - did not mean to make light of your craft!!

It must be annoying to have worked on designing and executing a dish and a write up doesn't get it right. That's obviously not acceptable, but probaly more of a fact double-check- under-deadline kind'a problem than anything else.

But you know what - the public doesn't know that and since it was a very favourable review it will bring in guest and $$$$ and you get a chance to do your stuff... seems pretty good to me. That early (but confused) review might turn out to be good thing for you.

And hey, maybe he was just too distracted by your lovely waitresses!!!!

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heh...that may just be tha case : ) (the pretty waitresses that is...)

I myself, wasn't there that night. I work days, so it wasn't anything personal for me; it's a team thing.

I don't see it as a huge deal necessarily ,except for dessert, which was somewhat upsetting to me personally (if in fact he only ordered a scoop of ice cream and nothing else) and I don't even work pastry.

Notwithstanding I think it's a positive review genearally and I hope he returns again soon...

Edited by aprilized (log)
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OK, I'll buy the few-mistakes-no-biggie school of thought. Be Jesus, those sound like BIG mistakes to me and some major assumptions when it comes to dessert. And really, Molle should know better, he WAS a chef.

Aprilized I'm siding with you here. How can we criticize these restaurants without being vigilant ourselves. It's just sloppy. My approach now is to leave out details I'm not sure of (I hate calling chefs) and focus on something else.

And Zach, tell me, what did I get wrong when I reviewed Brunoise???

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In every review I have been involved in, either as a cook, chef and now owner there have been mistakes made by the critic-it is par for the course.

Does it really matter if there are tiny errors.  What matters most is if it (the review) is generally positive-and in this case it was.

Congrats to Adamo,Dino, Edge, Luke Skywalker, James, The Lawyer, John and the entire team. There are some real pros working at OttO, and I personally would not expect anything less than topnotch cuisine from this Brigade.

sorry those are not tiny mistakes. on the beef tartar, only the beef part was right and on my first post I did not mention that there's no watercress tempura or any tempura at all on the calamari dish. The last time he didn't give a positive review to CAVALLI, Philip did the same thing, I didn't say anything because it would have looked like I was being defensive. So now that it's a good one, I just wanted to express myself on his critic skills.

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Being the pastry chef at Otto, I was extremely pissed about the review. He looked at my menu and made up his opinion without seeing or trying a single dessert, instead opting for ice cream. I got shafted because his interpretations of my menu were not to his liking. It's like buying a novel and saying it sucks because you don't like the cover and never actually reading it.

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