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Let's Talk LaBan


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People are just dumb, the quickest solution to bad PR is to say nothing instead of suing for a retraction which only convinces more people that you suck.

"I don't care what you say about me, as long as you spell my name right." --Henry Ford

There's a minority school of thought in my trade that holds that there's no such thing as bad PR. According to them, anything that gets your name out in front of the public works to your benefit ultimately. Ford apparently thought so.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Dude If I had a steakhouse and I really cared about Laban's opinion to the point of suing him, I would have a heffer on standby strapped to a guillotine (sorry vegans)....and (Foiegrans).

Very true. I'd make sure I had steak from a cow that had been fed on foie gras, taken from geese that had spent their lives being force-fed truffles and Beluga caviar.

So the restaurant screwed up, and they don't have a leg to stand on. What's more, I'm sure they know that. This isn't a lawsuit that's designed to go anywhere: it's designed to get them some more PR, then vanish like the morning dew from the lush fields of the Main Line.

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There's a minority school of thought in my trade that holds that there's no such thing as bad PR. According to them, anything that gets your name out in front of the public works to your benefit ultimately. Ford apparently thought so.

Clearly Sandy, you havent witnessed Milton Street Philadelphia Mayoral campaign which started yesterday in New Jersey.

Tell that to Senator...correction Former Senator George Allen (R.Va)

remember the macaca controversy.

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There's a minority school of thought in my trade that holds that there's no such thing as bad PR. According to them, anything that gets your name out in front of the public works to your benefit ultimately. Ford apparently thought so.

Clearly Sandy, you havent witnessed Milton Street Philadelphia Mayoral campaign which started yesterday in New Jersey.

Comic relief.

This opinion was reinforced by Milton's performance on "News 10 Live at 5" on Monday night after he was arrested.

Tell that to Senator...correction Former Senator George Allen (R.Va)

remember the macaca controversy.

We're less forgiving of politicians, it seems. Probably justifiably so.

Another relevant Henry Ford quote:

"Never complain, never explain."

That said, I think Andrew Fenton's assessment of the real purpose of the suit is equally accurate.

And I don't think LaBan's one-liner will hurt this place's business at all if it was well patronized before he wrote what he wrote. Established customers usually aren't dissuaded from repeat patronage by a third party's negative comment unless that comment is about something (relatively) objective and substantive. Taste is highly subjective.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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What I think is funny is the fact that LaBan's sidebar appeared in the form of "Or Try These", so he's essentially promoting the place to begin with! It seems to me that he's just saying "I had a bad meal here, maybe you won't." I'm guessing that he thought the restaurant had SOME redeeming qualities if he is going to encourage other people to try the place.

edit/spelling

Edited by Tim Dolan (log)

I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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What I think is funny is that fact that LaBan's sidebar appeared in the form of "Or Try These", so he's essentially promoting the place to begin with!  It seems to me that he's just saying "I had a bad meal here, maybe you won't."  I'm guessing that he thought the restaurant had SOME redeeming qualities if he is going to encourage other people to try the place.

Yeah, but how hard is it for him to REMEMBER WHAT HE ATE AT Chops?!?!?!?

FWIW, I enjoyed my dinner at Chops recently, and said so in my review forMAINLINE Magazine. And I actually remembered what I ate.

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Dan Gross is using a term that his predecessor and mentor, Stu Bykofsky, used in his column for years.

What I miss by not reading the Daily News regularly.

Gotta run. There's another murder/house fire/suicide/drug bust involving a crooked politician in Darby/Folcroft/Chester/Upper Darby/Springfield on the front page of the Daily Times, I see.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I think it's a little unclear about what Laban actually ate, we for now only have the restaurant's claim that he was served something else, and that LaBan apologized for "the confusion."

And I was perplexed for a while about how the restaurant could be so sure about what he ordered, and had at first assumed he'd been recognized. But I think that's not what happened, I now presume from the comments in the Daily News story that his order was discussed when the owner called LaBan after the comment was published. I can only presume that in the course of the discussion LaBan described what he had, and the owner determined that he had not ordered a strip steak.

It's obviously problematic that the only comments from LaBan come second-hand via the aggrieved party, so I wouldn't be so sure that LaBan "apologized for the 'confusion,' admitted he did not have a strip steak and 'saw [Plotkin's] point,'" at least not in so many words...

Rich, do you know what cut of meat is used for their Steak Sandwich? I'm still wondering, presuming the owner's account is correct, whether LaBan had A strip steak, just not THE strip steak.

The irony is, as noted above, that I too read the blurb as more positive than negative, portraying Chops as like The Palm, with great crabcakes. The complaint about the salad and the steak read like he was surprised that this last visit wasn't up to snuff, that it was generally a good place.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I recalled this issue coming up in Laban's Q & A forum and went back to take a look and in Laban's opening comment for the 2/6/07 forum he included this:

...Also, I got an upset – though quite professional – call this morning from a restaurateur who bristled at an unsavory two-sentence capsule review of his place that appeared recently in my column. I hope he writes in today, as I encouraged, so we can discuss the issue in the forum...

Further on in this chat, there was this following exchange:

Q: Let me guess the angry restaraunt guy. Alex Plotkin CHOPS. You were right on the money there though. Im curious on the grade of beef they are serving there

Don, Glenside 2/06/07

A: You might be right there, Don. But I'd like to let Alex speak for himself. He plans to write in, he says, but we may not get to it until next week.

Craig LaBan 2/06/07

Looks like he got to a lawyer instead.

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Rich, do you know what cut of meat is used for their Steak Sandwich?  I'm still wondering, presuming the owner's account is correct, whether LaBan had A strip steak, just not THE strip steak.

The irony is, as noted above, that I too read the blurb as more positive than negative, portraying Chops as like The Palm, with great crabcakes. The complaint about the salad and the steak read like he was surprised that this last visit wasn't up to snuff, that it was generally a good place.

I woulkd guess that the meat in the sandwich is sirloin, but not expesnive sliced strip steak. I read Laban's sidebar the same way that you did, save the quibble about the strip and the salad, but if he didnt EAT the strip, he should write a correction, as any professional would do.

I think CHOPS is a VERY good restaurant, offering very good value,with a top notch waitstaff and a very affordable and interesting wine list.

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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For those who may be interested, Craig LaBan is speaking at the Central Library this Wed:

http://libwww.library.phila.gov/calendar/c...3A00%3A00%27%7D

 

Craig LaBan | The Philadelphia Inquirer Restaurant Guide  (A)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 7:00PM

Central Library

Ticket Info: FREE. No tickets required. For Info: 215-567-4341.

As Philadelphia’s restaurant scene continues to grow, finding the perfect place for dinner can be a challenge. Philadelphia Inquirer food critic, Craig LaBan is an ideal guide for those who want to discover the city’s best dining. Whether it’s a decadent splurge or a sandwich at the neighborhood bar, La Ban’s new book gives you his 76 Philadelphia favorites and more than 500 capsule reviews of local eateries. The winner of a James Beard Foundation Award for his restaurant reviews, La Ban has been the Inquirer’s restaurant critic since 1998.

__Jason

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Would someone please go and take a picture for me? I need something more up to date than the one every single restaurant in town has on the bulletin board of him in the tuxedo.

I would go but I'll be working...

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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At his Penn bookstore appearance, he wore a wizard's cape, cowl and zorro-like mask, and a grey fright wig, so no chhance he'll play it straight at the Free Library either. Weird.

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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I was hoping you were joking, but found this from PhilaFoodie's blog. Weird indeed. Then again Ruth Reichl was no stranger to using disguises.

Any chance somebody could follow him backstage or to the men's room?

Edited by I_call_the_duck (log)

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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I was hoping you were joking, but found this from PhilaFoodie's blog. Weird indeed.  Then again Ruth Reichl was no stranger to using disguises.

Any chance somebody could follow him backstage or to the men's room?

I think Mr. LaBan is perfectly aware of the humor involved in the whole song-and-dance. Showing up for a public appearance in a transparently silly costume looks that way to me, anyway. I expect that for working occasions he goes the Ruth Reichl way, and uses more realistic disguises.

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Saw LaBan last night. He came out with a cape, zorro mask and grey wig and beard. Nice look! Read an essay from his book about dining on the Wildwood boardwalk then answered questions for about an hour. Topics ranged from his background and career path to his "gone but not forgotten restaurants." An interesting night although some questions were much more in depth and interesting than others.

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Saw LaBan last night.  He came out with a cape, zorro mask and grey wig and beard.  Nice look!  Read an essay from his book about dining on the Wildwood boardwalk then answered questions for about an hour.  Topics ranged from his background and career path to his "gone but not forgotten restaurants."  An interesting night although some questions were much more in depth and interesting than others.

zeffer81: Did anyone ask him about the Chops lawsuit? If so, what was his response?

-Phila-Foodie

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You thought Laban had problems, its just a silly lawsuit, these people should be saving the legal fees and buying better meat.

Look at what Frank Bruni is going through....

http://chinagrillmgt.com/pdf/Response_NYTimes.pdf

Bruni deserves it, I think. Did you see his recent review of some steakhouse/stripclub combo in NYC. Juvenile is the kindest adjective I can use. Hope I don't get sued! :-)

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