AAA and Mobil have their tastes, I have mine.

by Jules Older

There’s something to be said for stating boldly, baldly and in print the bases upon which a reviewer writes a review. After all, reviewing is personal, even when disguised as objective. Resorts lose their AAA stars and Mobil diamonds for things I find totally insignificant, like still using brass, not plastic keys; or even things I find laudable, like the absence of a noisy ice machine on every floor.

Jules' RulesWell, AAA and Mobil have their tastes, I have mine.

Here are mine.

A restaurant or inn loses a full point if:

Arugula appears on the menu. Knock off another point if the menu boasts “wilted arugula.” Or wilted almost-anything-else.

Raspberries are served in any course except dessert or palate-clearing sorbet. Raspberry vinaigrette counts the same as whole fruit.

Fish (almost always trout) is served coated in pistachio. These first three points are not meant to discourage creative chefs; they’re intended to penalize trendy chefs who follow any food fashion, no matter how ephemeral or awful-tasting.

Vegetables are treated as a throwaway item. Overcooked beans, combined carrots and peas, soggy zucchini—each counts as a point against.

A rural New England restaurant offering only zucchini in the month of August loses an additional point.

Patrons are expected to use a single fork for salad, main course and dessert.

Everyone in the dining room is whispering. My wife the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant calls this “a WASP restaurant.” No, a meal should not sound like a rock concert, but it needn’t sound like a funeral either.

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