Taking up Space: Joints that didn’t get a full review.

April 18, 2013

I’m an amateur. Amateur food blogger and restaurant critic, that is. Part of being an amateur is learning the rules.

Food Blogging Rule #1 : Never write a review before making multiple visits (3+). Unless you get food poisoning the first time (my addition).

“All you goddamn hack bloggers think just because you have the WordPress app, you can do what I do? I’m a James Beard Award winner, you…. ” Sorry, I was just psychically channeling a professional food writer.

But anyway, what the pro food writer would say about multiple visits: We have the power to crush that restaurant, so if we’re going to slam them, let’s make sure we have our facts straight. Visit multiple times.

Food Blogging Rule #2: Never write a bad review.

How many professional food writers do you see writing negative reviews? Almost none. Why?
*Readers don’t respond well to prolonged negativity.
*They would rather read about where to go rather than where not to.
*See Rule #1, “power to crush”. Sometimes it’s more humane to skip a review than to throw cold water on a sinking ship.
*Writers need access to the food community. The critic walks a fine line. Too negative, too often, and they can find themselves frozen out.
*Some food writers are pussies.

With all that in mind, enjoy these blurbs on places that have recently let me down.

World Street Kitchen is a good food truck. I loved the Yum Yum Rice Bowl and enjoyed the Chicken Bahn Mi. I was accosted by a homeless man while I ate, and the food was good enough that my dining experience was still well above average.
Based on that, I took a friend to the new WSK location at 28th & Lyndale. Cool space, friendly staff, food disappointing, except for the hummus sampler. I’d slap my momma for that recipe. Rice bowl was weird this time. Rice too firm. Tough short ribs. Flavors were off. Not yum yum.

Spill The Wine–Uptown
Went to Spill 2.0 for a late night bite. Was admittedly bitter that they forced out my bike shop, but liked the original Spill, so gave it a try. Tres Leches cake was good. Lots of lime zest. Service was smothering. The space is sooo bad, you wonder if they made it bad on purpose. Furniture is wrong, and too small. Fluorescent light glares out of the open kitchen. Too modern. Too cold. Build booths or benches against the windows. Get some more wood in the space. Maybe a rug, or a drapery. The space is not defined well.

Uchu Peruvian Cuisine
Plymouth, MN
Underwhelming. Chimbarazzo would humiliate Uchu in a slap fight. Solidly middle of the road. My food did not look like what the Heavy Table guys got.

Jax Cafe
You go to Jax for the history. You go for the classics. You go because Grandma likes it.
You don’t go for horrifically overpriced food that arrives luke warm and uninspired.
But you do go for the ice cream drinks. They still do the Pink Lady & the Golden Cadillac. Soucheray should get ready to recycle a column lamenting the passing of this icon. Their customer base is dying, and no-one under 40 is going to put up with this shit, especially with the Strip Club & Burch in town. Fire the kitchen staff and start over.

Prohibition Bar
Pretty good for hotel food. Excellent cocktails. Views are over-hyped. Waitresses dress like it’s a First Ave. nightclub. At least we went during Happy Hour.

Krung Thep
Eat Street
There is a rumor going around that Krung Thep is the Mpls. outpost of Bangkok Thai Deli. This is a vicious lie. At the Bangkok Thai Deli, steaming platters of food and bowls of pho stream out the of kitchen, and are warmly received hesitant Caucasian foodies and hungry Asian regulars. The food is authentic in that unfamiliar, and slightly forbidding way that great Asian food often is to Westerners. At Krung Thep, depressing food trickles into a depressing room, ultimately disappointing the hopeful.


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