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ulterior epicure

Lauren Chapin - Kansas City Star Restaurant Critic

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The New York forum has a (a number of) thread(s) on F. Bruni and his reviews, San Francisco's got theirs for Bauer, and D.C., for Sietsma. I thought I'd start one up for our city's resident newspaper critic, Lauren Chapin.

I just read Chapin's "review" on Winslow's BBQ down in the River Market District.

In it, she writes:

Barbecue may not just be for breakfast anymore, but at Winslow’s, the best and freshest came out of the kitchen during lunch, or on that Friday night when the live music drew a crowd.

I had to do a double-take on this statement. Is bbq as breakfast a "thing" that I don't know about? I mean, I was pretty much born and raised in KC, and I've never heard of BBQ as a traditional breakfast fare. :huh:

Can someone care to clarify for me?


Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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That is the subtitle of a book published by the KCBS - I am unaware of any trend toward early morning 'cue (although I'm sure there is someone doing it, somewhere in town, on any given morning).


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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"KCBS" - Kansas City Barbecue Society?

but of course!


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Her star ratings confuse me, such as George Brett's recieving 2.5 and Pizza51's 3 stars. Then only giving 3.5 stars to Starkers and bluestem. I know its not the same scale as a place like Chicago but it's just frustrating to see certain restaurants getting more stars than they probably should recieve. I don't think theres anything wrong with using a 1 star as long as you let them know what the situation is. If I were to give George Brett's a 1 star doesn't mean I don't enjoy going out with the guys to watch the nba finals and eat a good greesy burger but it doesn't mean its the same experience as if you were to sit down for an evening at Starker's Reseve with carefully executed cuisine.

She raves everyones' mashed potatoes and in fact she stated that she was happy to see Brio Tuscan Grill serve the side dish on many of there entrees...She holds a responsibilty of guiding the citizens of Kansas City and by her always reviewing beef and potato dishes doesn't help any progression in the food movement of Kansas City. For instance in her review of Main 1924, she had three beef dishes in three visits. There's nothing wrong with letting the people know that they served three different beef dishes in three weeks but to review each of them is just a stretch.

Sorry about the rant. :wacko:


"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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Her star ratings confuse me, such as George Brett's recieving 2.5 and Pizza51's 3 stars. Then only giving 3.5 stars to Starkers and bluestem. I know its not the same scale as a place like Chicago but it's just frustrating to see certain restaurants getting more stars than they probably should recieve. I don't think theres anything wrong with using a  1 star as long as you let them know what the situation is. If I were to give George Brett's a 1 star doesn't mean I don't enjoy going out with the guys to watch the nba finals and eat a good greesy burger but it doesn't mean its the same experience as if you were to sit down for an evening at Starker's Reseve with carefully executed cuisine. 

She raves everyones' mashed potatoes and in fact she stated that she was happy to see Brio Tuscan Grill serve the side dish on many of there entrees...She holds a responsibilty of guiding the citizens of Kansas City and by her always reviewing beef and  potato dishes doesn't help any progression in the food movement of Kansas City. For instance in her review of Main 1924, she had three beef dishes in three visits. There's nothing wrong with letting the people know that they served three different beef dishes in three weeks but to review each of them is just a stretch.

Sorry about the rant.  :wacko:

I pulled this off her site:

That experience and education come to bear when I review a restaurant. I follow the same criteria, whether I'm in a cinderblock lunch joint or a swanly suburban restaurant that has been lauded in Esquire or Bon Appetit: Are the ingredients fresh? Are the cooking techniques on the mark? Do the flavors work together or is there a promiscuous use of ingredients? How's the presentation? Is the meal worth the price?

I critique service from the first hello to the thank-yous and good-nights. I work anonymously about 90 percent of the time, so my experiences should be typical of any diner's. I, too, have pet peeves: restaurants that are too cold or loud, servers who dismiss a complaint or disappear after dessert, lousy coffee, overpriced wine.

I write for the consumer, as a consumer on a budget. I try to crisscross the Kansas City area, reviewing a variety of restaurants. Whether I'm eating authentic French cuisine or sloppy Kansas City barbecue, I measure quality and integrity. I look for intangibles, for a sense that the chef cares about the food and takes pride in what comes out of the kitchen.

Food is about more than sustenance. It is about culture and customs. Ultimately, though, my love for food goes back to something more personal.

One day I hope to own a meatloaf house that has a four star review. :wink:

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No apology necessary, Joe. I am glad UE started this thread because many of us have been having the conversation offline and it's really more honorable to be open and above-board with our criticism of her criticism.

My view of the KC dining scene is that chefs and owners have really stepped things up and I don't think the press has kept pace. Believe me, when I try to ferret-out interesting stuff for the media digest every week, it is increasing obvious (and painful!) that the online folks are evolving and the print crowd, sadly, is not (with some exceptions; ok, an exception). I don't want to start a war like the one in Canada, where the local reviewer literally attacked the eG community for praising a local chef who opened a new restaurant; I don't think it's productive. But it's a rare week when I don't get a complaint about the lack of professionalism in food writing and restaurant reviewing in KC.

I have no indication that they even lurk on eG but, if they do, I wish some of the print folks would speak up and begin an exchange of ideas and information so we can better understand what is holding them back. It's sadly a disservice to the talent we have in our kitchens now.


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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At any rate, I hope that this thread can be constructively used. I look forward to future dialogues.

u.e.


Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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No apology necessary, Joe.  I am glad UE started this thread because many of us have been having the conversation offline and it's really more honorable to be open and above-board with our criticism of her criticism.

My view of the KC dining scene is that chefs and owners have really stepped things up and I don't think the press has kept pace.  Believe me, when I try to ferret-out interesting stuff for the media digest every week, it is increasing obvious (and painful!) that the online folks are evolving and the print crowd, sadly, is not (with some exceptions; ok, an exception).  I don't want to start a war like the one in Canada, where the local reviewer literally attacked the eG community for praising a local chef who opened a new restaurant; I don't think it's productive.  But it's a rare week when I don't get a complaint about the lack of professionalism in food writing and restaurant reviewing in KC.

I have no indication that they even lurk on eG but, if they do, I wish some of the print folks would speak up and begin an exchange of ideas and information so we can  better understand what is holding them back.  It's sadly a disservice to the talent we have in our kitchens now.

I think the press is doing a great job keeping up, the most of them promote the independent restaurants. When the major magazines come to town or want to know about the food scene in Kansas City they call the food critics(those guys are not surfing the net looking for fine cuisine)Most of the time when Bon Appitite writes up Kansas City they call the critics and go off their words with out dininng at any restaurant. When Food and Wine called me the KC Star gave them my number, when the Zagat called she sent them the infomation, last week she called me when Dana with Food and Wine was in town and when the Wine spectator was in town about a month ago.(BTY Big Country congrads on your 10 out of 10 he gave you!) When the food network called she Offered them The Peach Tree. So before we go smitting the press because we don't agree with them, just keep this in mind if you weren't at the table at that moment, then you didn't get the effect of the meal.

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Very true Monkfish, I agree because everyone will not have the exact same dining experience as the person over the table next to you. Like U.E., he had a terrible experience at The French Laundry but everyone knows that its a rare occasion for that to happen. It just so happened that rare occasion came upon to his reservation for that night.

I personally feel that the national press has done a great job but the local press has done a poor job with KC. It's not beacuse of the disagreements but more along the lines of getting that information out to the people. I feel that only "foodies" and chefs see and read all of the Kansas City Dining magazines and guide books. Some how they need to get more of that information to the people.

A while back I was cooking for an 8 person dinner. They all kept talking about how they want that kind of food in KC and begging for me to open a restaurant one day in KC, when I get older. I told them, well there are some great restaurants out there and I listed them off and they had never even heard of them. It suprised me and I really think that people who dont live to eat really have no idea what kind of restaurants are out there.

I think the Kansas City Originals, KC Restaurant Guide, and all the other Kansas City magazines are great but I think they could be better with better websites as well.

I really wished that The Dining Out Publication would have more cities like Kansas City with their own book.

I feel they do a great job listing every restaurant in the city, in Denver I noticed every home seemed to have this book on there coffee table. Everyone uses this book when they feel like going out to eat for whatever occasion. They have sample menus, pictures, information about the restaurant, location, hours, pricing, and everything you need to know. I know some of the magazines in Kansas City do that but its not as informative as the dining out magazines.


"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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So before we go smitting the press because we don't agree with them, just keep this in mind if you weren't at the table at that moment, then you didn't get the effect of the meal.

I wasn't smitting [sic] them because I disagree. I just think the general quantity and quality of writing is disappointing. Joe's earlier comment about the "all beef" review is an example. Recently the comment about Taj Palace not having the usual, boring chicken and vegetables but then nearly all of the dishes sampled were - chicken and vegetables. Some years ago in a March timeframe "best of," appearing just after a statement that seasonal, fresh ingredients were one of the criteria for reviews, the "best vegetable dish" of the year was an asparagus offering from a restaurant that had only been open since around September. I hope most chefs don't live or die by reviews (although their businesses might) but if you'd made a truly fresh seasonal vegetable dish and had it trumped by out-of-season asparagus, I'd think it would be frustrating.

I have mentioned in digests that our experiences seem to be quite different, so I can see why you might have thought it was about not agreeing, but that really wasn't my point.

Also, not Lauren's fault but the Star in general, she is the only reviewer, so only one (and a half, if you count cheap eats or the feature bit) restaurant is reviewed weekly, which leaves a lot to be desire, IMHO. I realize we're not as big as LA or NYC but there is a lot happening on the food scene and I do wish the increase in activity - and quality - were reflected proportionally in the press.

I hope that explains my previous statement a little better.


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I feel that only "foodies" and chefs see and read all of the Kansas City Dining magazines and guide books. Some how they need to get more of that information to the people.

A while back I was cooking for an 8 person dinner. They all kept talking about how they want that kind of food in KC and begging for me to open a restaurant one day in KC, when I get older.  I told them, well there are some great restaurants  out there and I listed them off and they had never even heard of them. It suprised me and I really think that people who dont live to eat really have no idea what kind of restaurants are out there.

It's easier to force feed a duck than it is to force feed foie gras to Kansas City!

only a small % of the people in and around Kansas City live to eat, I think if you want to change Kansas City's way of thinking you need to start from the head down because a fish rots from the head down. The city wants revenue from the tourist so they promote BBQ everyone in this town has bbq on the brain, heck go to that lame site chowhound and read the bulk of the forms there about kansas city IT"S BBQ. I hope they band the stuff for causing cancer(well done meats have been linked to cancer)Turn on the Walt Bodine show what do you get? chilli dogs and BBQ. I better not get started I have no love for the press anywhere. But a few do do a good job in Kansas City.


Edited by monkfish_103 (log)

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Some years ago in a March timeframe "best of," appearing just after a statement that seasonal, fresh ingredients were one of the criteria for reviews, the "best vegetable dish" of the year was an asparagus offering from a restaurant that had only been open since around September.  I hope most chefs don't live or die by reviews (although their businesses might) but if you'd made a truly fresh seasonal vegetable dish and had it trumped by out-of-season asparagus, I'd think it would be frustrating

It's really hard to define "seasonal" veggie or anything these days since fedex and other companys make it all happen. That asparagus might have been seasonal Down under. I see no difference than shipping in from california during the peek. or zuccini blossums from Isreal. If that wasn't the case we would never see a aritchoke here I've only found one person growing aritchokes in the area and they were only able to produce one globe for the whole season, ramps won't grow here either. I ran asparagus for two weeks then they dried up I haven't been able to find a white one locally. Scallops are out of season now but I bet you still see them on menues every where. If the restaurant used out of season Asparagus and turned it into something awesome I would find that less frustrating than a restaurant doing unjust to trully seasonal vegetables.

I do have to admitt I find Ronnies recapps more professional than others.

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My biggest complaint about the Star is the rating system in general. Every other print rating system I know of uses a single tier rating system. (JWest I think you almost touched on this) Where else do you get a rating about 1. Food 2. Service and 3. Ambience? Shouldn’t a review be about the entire experience? There was a review last week that I think was 2 food, 3.5 décor and 3 for service. Shouldn’t she have given 2.5 or 3 stars and leave it at that? Then I think you can balance out what a 2 or three star restaurant really is. Chicago for instance, Tru, Trotters, Alinea and Avenues are obvious 4 star restaurants. Then there is Blackbird, MK, Naha, or LeLan that are 3 star. I think it would set a standard for what dining really is. You want an excellent expensive experience you go 4 star. You want good, not extremely expensive, you 3 star etc… It just drives me crazy how the star kinda leaves you confused. Who the hell says to themselves :hmmm: hmmmm……. I think I want really crapy food and great décor…… :huh:


“Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own." - Sydney J. Harris

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My biggest complaint about the Star is the rating system in general. Every other print rating system I know of uses a single tier rating system. (JWest I think you almost touched on this) Where else do you get a rating about 1. Food 2. Service and 3. Ambience? Shouldn’t a review be about the entire experience? There was a review last week that I think was 2 food, 3.5 décor and 3 for service. Shouldn’t she have given 2.5 or 3 stars and leave it at that? Then I think you can balance out what a 2 or three star restaurant really is. Chicago for instance, Tru, Trotters, Alinea and Avenues are obvious 4 star restaurants. Then there is Blackbird, MK, Naha, or LeLan that are 3 star. I think it would set a standard for what dining really is. You want an excellent expensive experience you go 4 star. You want good, not extremely expensive, you 3 star etc… It just drives me crazy how the star kinda leaves you confused. Who the hell says to themselves :hmmm:  hmmmm……. I think I want really crapy food and great décor……  :huh:

I agree and disagree on this one, even the zagat rates this way(they rate the 1,2,3). The bulk of the time when a new restaurant opens up, people flock there to check out the decore and to be seen there, that's why restaurant's like Trotter's spend $50 grand a year on plates because people are more wowed over the decore, you can see it on reviews on the net posted by customers. People will bad mouth a place over the decore before the food. This all drivin by magazines like Kansas City Magazine, Last time Katie the editor was on the walt show all she wanted to talk about was were to go to be seen and to people watch, Ingrams was the same way last month.

I belive if a hole in the wall dinner is putting out 4 star food but it has a very comfort feel then the customers should know. I would imagin the BuckHead dinner is putting out 4 star food in a 2 star setting.

If Kansas City ever wants to become a top contender then we have to take a steller level of food down to their level of dinning. 40 sardines is a great example! Did Chef Tower start off wanting to offer an excellent expensive experience? I personally hate eating in a jacket, I hate food that is too fussy I grew past the tumble weed effect with all the micro greens I just want food prepaired with care that I can understand. As long as we keep confusing the general public on the enviroment they should dine in we'll never get any where. As long as we as restaurants mark our wines up to prices make your head spin we will never make the general public interested in wine( I've bought alot of $100 bottles of wines at local restaurants that I wouldn't cook with that were worth only $25 max on the open market.If I had tasted wine for the first time that was way over priced and was bad I doubt if I would ever order a bottle of wine again)

I personally think the 1,2,3,4,5 star and diamond rating should be used by The big

three. Let the local critics break it down so the customers knows which direction they want to dine in. I'm glad I recived 4 stars for food and 2 1/2 for service and Atmosphere. I wanted a restaurant that was down to earth in which I was comfortable with. I would hate to deal with the snotty customer looking for the excellent expensive experience, for me it's all about every day food, and good wine worth sharing. So I guess if we go by the standard of stars mention by J West I'll gladly except calling soredux a one or no star restaurant, Same with the sour octopus, The only place I worked at that wasn't a four star rated restaurant was stolen grille and I would give it a one star also. When I was the chef for the Mobile 4 star rated restaurant at the Ritz in KC I would have given it a two star and Two stars for the American Restaurant. I belive we do not have the amount of international tourism in Kansas City to go to that type of a rating system.


Edited by monkfish_103 (log)

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We're definetly not a big city in many aspects but would it hurt the restuarant industry if the rating system was much more sophisticated with a stricter scale? Would people start thinking about how "well, we have a lot of 1 and 2 star restaurants, where are the 3 and 4 star restaruants?" Maybe I am over thinking about it but would the public start demanding higher end restaurants? Just based off the idea of that the 1 and 2 star restaurants are great, then 3 star restaurants must be even better. I personally think it would help the general public get a better idea how the food scene works. Many people don't understand what makes an idependent restaurant much more special than the Cheesecake Factory and PF Changs. A different rating system, better exposure to the rating system and restaurants, and publications dispersed in a better way will catch the public's eye. They will see that Yia Yias recieved a 1/2 star and notice that 40 Sardines has something like 2 1/2 or 3 stars. Then they see why Starkers, bluestem, soredux have a higher rating based on the whole experience but they'll also realize that well theres still space left to get 5 stars. Then, they make the decision, are we ready for something better rather then making them think that this is the best it gets. Right now its the best it gets in Kansas City but they could ultimately make the change if we give them the opportunity to see the big picture. A lot of people just don't know what they are missing and I bet that a lot of people would like to experience what they are missing...especially with all that money in JoCo and KasasCity.

Maybe Im just day dreaming a bit... I really hope its not just a fantasy. Everyone called Trotter crazy and stupid for his vision of his new restaurant in 1987 in the sausage city.


"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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We're definetly not a big city in many aspects but would it hurt the restuarant industry if the rating system was much more sophisticated with a stricter scale? Would people start thinking about how "well, we have a lot of 1 and 2 star restaurants, where are the 3 and 4 star restaruants?" Maybe I am over thinking about it but would the public start demanding higher end restaurants? Just based off the idea of that the 1 and 2 star restaurants are great, then 3 star restaurants must be even better. I personally think it would help the general public get a better idea how the food scene works. Many people don't understand what makes an idependent restaurant much more special than the Cheesecake Factory and PF Changs. A different rating system, better exposure to the rating system and restaurants, and publications dispersed in a better way will catch the public's eye. They will see that Yia Yias recieved a 1/2 star and notice that 40 Sardines has something like 2 1/2 or 3 stars.  Then they see why Starkers, bluestem, soredux have a higher rating based on the whole experience but they'll also realize that well theres still space left to get 5 stars. Then, they make the decision, are we ready for something better rather then making them think that this is the best it gets. Right now its  the best it gets in Kansas City but they could ultimately make the change if we give them the opportunity to see the big picture. A lot of people just don't know what they are missing and I bet that a lot of people would like to experience what they are missing...especially with all that money in JoCo and KasasCity.

Maybe Im just day dreaming a bit... I really hope its not just a fantasy.  Everyone called Trotter crazy and stupid for his vision of his new restaurant in 1987 in the sausage city.

Just because it's an independent restaurant doesn't make the food taste better. If Kansas City has a hard time supporting mobile rated restaurants and wine spectator awarded restaurants how would raising the bar on the little guys do any good? The bulk of the dinners that support those level of cuisine are tourist. I'm sure all the tourist that come to KC for the races and BBQ will have no problem supportting a mobile rated restaurant (even though arthur bryant's bbq has a mobile 1 star rating)or another other type of rating like that. If I remember right a few years back Applebee's was highly rated by the Zagat in KC.

Arkansas has alot of money but the food scene has progress backwards about ten years. Money doesn't really figure in here.

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I think Zagat is different. It's a public rating not a single critic. Therefore it works better with that system.

Sorry this CAG on Dave's computer


Edited by David Crum (log)

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I think Zagat is different. It's a public rating not a single critic. Therefore it works better with that system.

Sorry this CAG on Dave's computer

I believe everyone that votes on the zagat at that moment is a single critic, and they vote on the same things that the star rates on, in the same format.

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We're definetly not a big city in many aspects but would it hurt the restuarant industry if the rating system was much more sophisticated with a stricter scale? Would people start thinking about how "well, we have a lot of 1 and 2 star restaurants, where are the 3 and 4 star restaruants?" Maybe I am over thinking about it but would the public start demanding higher end restaurants? Just based off the idea of that the 1 and 2 star restaurants are great, then 3 star restaurants must be even better. I personally think it would help the general public get a better idea how the food scene works. Many people don't understand what makes an idependent restaurant much more special than the Cheesecake Factory and PF Changs. A different rating system, better exposure to the rating system and restaurants, and publications dispersed in a better way will catch the public's eye. They will see that Yia Yias recieved a 1/2 star and notice that 40 Sardines has something like 2 1/2 or 3 stars.  Then they see why Starkers, bluestem, soredux have a higher rating based on the whole experience but they'll also realize that well theres still space left to get 5 stars. Then, they make the decision, are we ready for something better rather then making them think that this is the best it gets. Right now its  the best it gets in Kansas City but they could ultimately make the change if we give them the opportunity to see the big picture. A lot of people just don't know what they are missing and I bet that a lot of people would like to experience what they are missing...especially with all that money in JoCo and KasasCity.

Maybe Im just day dreaming a bit... I really hope its not just a fantasy.  Everyone called Trotter crazy and stupid for his vision of his new restaurant in 1987 in the sausage city.

Just because it's an independent restaurant doesn't make the food taste better. If Kansas City has a hard time supporting mobile rated restaurants and wine spectator awarded restaurants how would raising the bar on the little guys do any good? The bulk of the dinners that support those level of cuisine are tourist. I'm sure all the tourist that come to KC for the races and BBQ will have no problem supportting a mobile rated restaurant (even though arthur bryant's bbq has a mobile 1 star rating)or another other type of rating like that. If I remember right a few years back Applebee's was highly rated by the Zagat in KC.

Arkansas has alot of money but the food scene has progress backwards about ten years. Money doesn't really figure in here.

Your restaurant may be an exception, I wouldn't know. But in general, if a restaurant feels they are the best then they know they dont need to do anything else to keep there customers. If another restaurant comes in and steals the spotlight, all of a sudden you have competition. When theres more better restaurants in the area, everyone starts to produce a better experience. With better restaurants, then there comes more pressure on proveyors. All of a sudden you have better product which makes restaurants even better. With better proveyors, better restaurants, better food, and happier customers. With all that, more better chefs come in making the competition even higher. More cooks and students are being more educated and become even better chefs. By raising the bar, it allows room for restaurants to expand in different aspects of their business. But I really think that people need to be exposed to a lot more restaurants and that reverts back to my earlier discussion about publications doing a better job letting people know whats out there. Everyone knows about the corporate restaurants, they have a lot of money to advertise there locations.

It doesn't take a group of egulleters to realize that you can get a lot better than paying $70 at the cheesecake factory like a soredux 7 course dinner for $38. The people that are eating at the high dollar restaurants are usually wealthy. Not saying all of them are. In general people go to places they think are suppose to be good. Obviously we all know that you can get a better meal some place else than the Capitol Grill. So much money gets pumped into these kinds of places, only because of name and glamour. It's hard to miss a glowing flashing sign in front of a huge establishment in the middle of the plaza. Theres only a few independent restaurants that are able to keep up in the plaza area. The rest have to rely soley on word of mouth, with better publications people will be exposed to other restaurants. Im not here to start an argument, knowing from your past posts we both have similiar views on corporate vs. independent.

Im not a big fan of the Zagat, with ratings of Tatsu's(KS) and Daniel(NY) being extremely close to each other makes no sense.


"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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We're definetly not a big city in many aspects but would it hurt the restuarant industry if the rating system was much more sophisticated with a stricter scale? Would people start thinking about how "well, we have a lot of 1 and 2 star restaurants, where are the 3 and 4 star restaruants?" Maybe I am over thinking about it but would the public start demanding higher end restaurants? Just based off the idea of that the 1 and 2 star restaurants are great, then 3 star restaurants must be even better. I personally think it would help the general public get a better idea how the food scene works. Many people don't understand what makes an idependent restaurant much more special than the Cheesecake Factory and PF Changs. A different rating system, better exposure to the rating system and restaurants, and publications dispersed in a better way will catch the public's eye. They will see that Yia Yias recieved a 1/2 star and notice that 40 Sardines has something like 2 1/2 or 3 stars.  Then they see why Starkers, bluestem, soredux have a higher rating based on the whole experience but they'll also realize that well theres still space left to get 5 stars. Then, they make the decision, are we ready for something better rather then making them think that this is the best it gets. Right now its  the best it gets in Kansas City but they could ultimately make the change if we give them the opportunity to see the big picture. A lot of people just don't know what they are missing and I bet that a lot of people would like to experience what they are missing...especially with all that money in JoCo and KasasCity.

Maybe Im just day dreaming a bit... I really hope its not just a fantasy.  Everyone called Trotter crazy and stupid for his vision of his new restaurant in 1987 in the sausage city.

Just because it's an independent restaurant doesn't make the food taste better. If Kansas City has a hard time supporting mobile rated restaurants and wine spectator awarded restaurants how would raising the bar on the little guys do any good? The bulk of the dinners that support those level of cuisine are tourist. I'm sure all the tourist that come to KC for the races and BBQ will have no problem supportting a mobile rated restaurant (even though arthur bryant's bbq has a mobile 1 star rating)or another other type of rating like that. If I remember right a few years back Applebee's was highly rated by the Zagat in KC.

Arkansas has alot of money but the food scene has progress backwards about ten years. Money doesn't really figure in here.

Your restaurant may be an exception, I wouldn't know. But in general, if a restaurant feels they are the best then they know they dont need to do anything else to keep there customers. If another restaurant comes in and steals the spotlight, all of a sudden you have competition. When theres more better restaurants in the area, everyone starts to produce a better experience. With better restaurants, then there comes more pressure on proveyors. All of a sudden you have better product which makes restaurants even better. With better proveyors, better restaurants, better food, and happier customers. With all that, more better chefs come in making the competition even higher. More cooks and students are being more educated and become even better chefs. By raising the bar, it allows room for restaurants to expand in different aspects of their business. But I really think that people need to be exposed to a lot more restaurants and that reverts back to my earlier discussion about publications doing a better job letting people know whats out there. Everyone knows about the corporate restaurants, they have a lot of money to advertise there locations.

It doesn't take a group of egulleters to realize that you can get a lot better than paying $70 at the cheesecake factory like a soredux 7 course dinner for $38. The people that are eating at the high dollar restaurants are usually wealthy. Not saying all of them are. In general people go to places they think are suppose to be good. Obviously we all know that you can get a better meal some place else than the Capitol Grill. So much money gets pumped into these kinds of places, only because of name and glamour. It's hard to miss a glowing flashing sign in front of a huge establishment in the middle of the plaza. Theres only a few independent restaurants that are able to keep up in the plaza area. The rest have to rely soley on word of mouth, with better publications people will be exposed to other restaurants. Im not here to start an argument, knowing from your past posts we both have similiar views on corporate vs. independent.

Im not a big fan of the Zagat, with ratings of Tatsu's(KS) and Daniel(NY) being extremely close to each other makes no sense.

Couldn't have said it better myself! :wink:


“Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own." - Sydney J. Harris

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Im not a big fan of the Zagat, with ratings of Tatsu's(KS) and Daniel(NY) being extremely close to each other makes no sense.

I'm really not a big fan of any type of rating system, when the star did the review I refused to let them take a picture I asked not to have a review same with the Pitch. When food & wine called I sent them on their way. When the Zagat called I told them to go away also. I made Ingrams sign a contract before she dinned she couldn't review me. I had Kansas City Mag pull out everything about me in their Mag. some airline called a few months back, same response. Spaces mag I sent them on their way also. I'm just a cook cooking food, It is what it is. I think ratings are a joke to begain with. Everyone has two things and one of them is an opion well I'll leave the other item out because I'm in a good mood today.

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I guess thats why I've never herd of it until egullet.


"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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I know it's been said before but, from the consumer side, I think that the most useful thing about critics is knowing, generally speaking, where they stand. After a period of reading someone's reviews, you can develop a sense of whether or not you usually agree with that person. Once you develop that lens, it's a lot easier to place a given reviewer's opinion in a more personally-useful context.

There are some folks with whom I ususally agree and some with whom I almost never do. I don't let that history completely determine my reaction to a review but I certainly consider it. There are some reviewers I now completely ignore and there are some whose recommendations easily find their way onto my "must try" list. That said, it's unlikely that you're going to agree or disagree with any critic 100% of the time.

Folks like me have the advantage of not being professionals. I can only speak for myself but I'm no critic. I'm just a guy who likes eating out, writing and interacting with other folks who also enjoy those things. I also, almost never, write about places I don't like. That's not my job nor my responsibility. I have the luxury of writing only about places that inspire me. A critic doesn't have that freedom.

In the end, people's livelihoods are at stake and I sure as hell don't want to tread on that turf. I'm not comfortable with that level of responsibility and I have a feeling that if I ever were, all the joy in what I do here would be completley lost. I just hope that folks who do hold that power treat it with the care and seriousness that it deserves.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I know it's been said before but, from the consumer side, I think that the most useful thing about critics is knowing, generally speaking, where they stand.  After a period of reading someone's reviews, you can develop a sense of whether or not you usually agree with that person.  Once you develop that lens, it's a lot easier to place a given reviewer's opinion in a more personally-useful context.

There are some folks with whom I ususally agree and some with whom I almost never do.  I don't let that history completely determine my reaction to a review but I certainly consider it.  There are some reviewers I now completely ignore and there are some whose recommendations easily find their way onto my "must try" list.  That said, it's unlikely that you're going to agree or disagree with any critic 100% of the time.

Folks like me have the advantage of not being professionals.  I can only speak for myself but I'm no critic.  I'm just a guy who likes eating out, writing and interacting with other folks who also enjoy those things.  I also, almost never, write about places I don't like.  That's not my job nor my responsibility.  I have the luxury of writing only about places that inspire me.  A critic doesn't have that freedom.

In the end, people's livelihoods are at stake and I sure as hell don't want to tread on that turf.  I'm not comfortable with that level of responsibility and I have a feeling that if I ever were, all the joy in what I do here would be completley lost.  I just hope that folks who do hold that power treat it with the care and seriousness that it deserves.

=R=

Nicely put! Next time I'm in chicago I'll buy you a tripple order of Foie Gras!!! I might even buy the whole house a round! :laugh: I wish some blogger's shared the same view.


Edited by monkfish_103 (log)

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