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The Sietsema Factor [Moved from Washington DC and Baltimore Board]

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Wondering if any of you have measured your experiences up against Mr. Tom's and if so, did you find his reviews meeting your expectations or falling subpar? Seems many people (generally speaking) tend to take his word as gospel, without allowing room for "taste" preferences, which vary from person to person and have virtually nothing to do with culinary/journalistic prowess.

Generally, I have found my experiences to be on par with his reviews, but I wonder if consensus here follows his wisdom.

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  1. I'd rather talk about the chow than about the chow coverage.

    But if this thread is allowed to stand, then I think he does an amazing job, all things considered.

    1. Are you speaking of Robert Sietsema? I can only assume so, but you mentioned "Mr. Tom", which is why I ask...

      The thing I like about his writing is that he really sets the scene. He talks about the neighborhood the joint is in, the background of the food and the people who cook it, the atmosphere and vibe of the place. He also has a unique, sometimes riotous take on things, like when he wrote that Deli Masters (a queens deli on the Horace Harding Expressway) "hangs over the LIE like a goiter", or, more recently, when he described a dish he had in some joint on Eldridge Street as looking like "Bono in a bowl". This is part of what makes
      me curious about the places he writes about.

      As you mention, though, biscuit, taste is the bottom line. For the most part, I have liked the places he's recommended. On some occasions, though, I've differed. Like with anyone.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Polecat

        No it's a different Sietsema restaurant critic, Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post in D.C., no relation to Robert Sietsema of the Village Voice in NYC.

        1. re: JMF

          oops. sorry.

          1. re: JMF

            Huh. Being a big fan of the Wash. Post and an occasional reader of the Village Voice's reviews, I had always assumed that the two Sietsemas were brothers, or cousins, or somehow otherwise related. Thanks for correcting me on that. I figured "Sietsema" was an uncommon enough name that they *had* to be related. What are the odds?

            Frequently I disagree with (Voice reviewer) Robert Sietsema's opinions, but his reviews are fun. "...hangs over the LIE like a goiter"... ha! He'd fit right in with the fun, loose, funny style of the Style section writing in the Wash. Post. Tom Sietsema is not nearly as fun (I figured he was the more dull, upstanding older brother) and I had no idea he was considered particularly influential in D.C. as the original post seems to indicate (speculate? infer? opine?).