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.
Well, 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.