Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Aug 8, 2007 06:40 AM

Times Reviews Asheville? [moved from South board]

What is it with these sensational review headlines and ho hum reviews in the Citizen Times? Today "The trip to Zuma was as excellent as the food." The reviewer makes one lunch visit has a black bean mango wrap, a piece of quiche and a "nothing much to talk about" chef's salad and the restaurant's food is proclaimed excellent? With the superior culinary experiences in and around Asheville why is the paper reviewing coffee shops? The best thing about Wednesday's food in the living section is the Culinary Calendar.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've noticed the same thing...i.e that often the headlines are out of synch w/ the reviews. That is of course because someone else writes the headlines. I think perhaps they are trying to "spread the wealth" around a bit and reach out to readership in other counties. There isn't much going on in Madison County restaurant-wise so.....

    13 Replies
    1. re: leahinsc

      More like reaching out for advertising dollars in Madison County, which may also account for the disparity between the headline and the review.

      Oh, well. At least the people in Marshall are REALLY FRIENDLY! (see review)

      1. re: Jeff C.

        I didn't think the headline and the review were out of sync. The last line of the review says something to the effect that the reviewer thought the restaurant was "excellent".

        1. re: carolinadawg

          I'm wondering how a reviewer can determine a restaurant is excellent by ordering a wrap, a piece of quiche, a "nothing much to talk about" chef salad and some cookies.

            1. re: carolinadawg

              A few years ago, the reviews in the Citizen-Times were all fluff. When the Mtn Xpress started printing "critical" reviews the Citizen-Times fired back with what seemed to be a license to bash restaurants they visited. Leah is correct, somone other than the reviewer writes the headlines. One of my favorites was from a few months ago when the headline stated: Restaurant X Disappointing But Give It A Try.

              1. re: sluggrock

                LOL. "A Waste of Money, But Well Worth It."

              2. re: carolinadawg

                One visit sampling 3 or 4 items is not enough to determine the quality of food in a restaurant

                1. re: catsailor

                  I've been to Zuma and I think it is a stretch to call it a restaurant. It's a cool space on the corner of Main St. Marshall and they have a few pastries and some sandwiches. I'd really consider it more of a coffee shop. period.

                  1. re: catsailor

                    Its enough to determine the quality of what one had during that visit. As long as its clear that the review is based on one visit, then I don't see the problem.

                    1. re: carolinadawg

                      The problem is that most reputable publications require their restaurant critics to visit twice in the interest of completeness and know, in case the place was having an off night or something.

                      1. re: Jeff C.

                        true. but i also think the reviewer's reputation can be taken into account. i believe robby nelms wrote that one, and his reviews, if you're familiar with them, are usually pretty good. someone like rick mcdaniels doing a one-off and pronouncing it "(insert adjective here)" is much more suspect. of course, that does presuppose a passing familiarity with the reviewers, which is difficult if you're not from here.

                        i think as long as they acknowledge the limited exposure it's ok. any discerning reader then knows that it's a crapshoot.

                        i agree the headline writers, who seemingly hail from the marketing/advertising dept, often create a schism between the headline and the actual content.

                        1. re: mark

                          And I agree that Nelms is the AC-T's most dependable food writer. It's just that I would trust the accuracy of a review more knowing that the writer had been there more than once and tried more than 2-3 menu fairness to the restaurant AND the reader.

                          On the other hand, times are tough and budgets scant for most of the daily rags these days. Makes me thankful there are other options for us foodies...such as this website!

                      2. re: carolinadawg

                        I tend to think if the verdict is "bad" or "mediocre", that's all I need to know. silk purse/sow's ear kind of thing.

                        If a restaurant is "uneven" "hit or miss" and on up the ladder to "fantastic", then I think you need multiple visits to make a final determination.

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. nelms was released because he was deemed too accurately critical by the same advertisers he was reviewing. the advertisers started complaining, and, of course, the ac-t went with their wallet rather than their readers.

              with the success the advertisers, specifically air members, had in getting rid of nelms, they are now going after hannah raskin at the mountain xpress. that's the reason her reviews have been less critical lately, or why reviews for places we already know are bad are pawned off onto other writers (ie okie dokie's); the express now refuses to run negatively critical pieces. now we are left having to decide whether the xpress hasn't reviewed a place because it's bad (there have been a number of rejected reviews), or because they just haven't gotten around to it.

              the xpress' reviews, especially after hannah started, used to be a very good source of input. now, they are of little more value than any other recycling bin fodder. personally, i think this is really short-sighted on air's part, since eventually someone will start a blog, and air will have zero ability to impact whatever shows up in that type forum. (any asheville 'hounds interested in a blog?)

              unfortunately, i have a bit of a conflict of interest, so i can't exert much pressure on the xpress. but, if any other asheville diners want to voice their support/concern, here is the xpress' contact info:

              Main number (828) 251-1333
              Fax number (828) 251-1311

              Mailing address
              Mountain Xpress
              PO Box 144
              Asheville, NC 28802

              Business address
              Mountain Xpress
              2 Wall St
              Asheville, NC 28801

              1. re: mark

                What's air? Is that an acronym? Asheville Independent Restaurants?

                P.S. At least we've still got Chowhound. <smiley>

                1. re: Jeff C.

                  yep, air = asheville independent restaurant association

            2. I just read the "review" of Bouchon, I think it was in the take 5. I'm sorry but this guy, Rick McDaniel is not a fit reviewer-no better way to describe something than it had "complex flavors."
              Is there a coincidence that the image on the side was taken by his wife and dining companion AND features editor of the times, Polly McDaniel? No. I've also read his "recipes" and text in the old publication, Blue Mountain Living, and it was laughable there too. Coincidence that he is married to the editor? No again. ACT, get some ethics.

              2 Replies