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Apr 17, 2008 08:27 AM

New Pittsburgh Food Critic - thank god.

So, it seems that people on a prior thread thought that China Millman, the new-ish restaurant critic for the Post Gazette, was bad. I'm still not sure any of those who attacked her were credible, because their criticisms sure weren't, but I'm wondering what people think of her latest reviews.

Personally, I think her implementation of the new star system is exactly what this city needs. The reviews I've seen recently have been balanced, and informative. Count me as a fan.

Additionally, how on earth could anyone think that Munch is better than her reviews? They're not even comparable. Munch reviews inexpensive lunch-type places, not proper restaurants.

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  1. It seems to me that the tone/style of the Munch columns changed a while back. I think maybe the real paper bag wearing Munch is gone and they're passing that duty around.

    4 Replies
    1. re: yayadave

      I think it's almost definitely true that more than one person writes the Munch column.
      Anyway, I think to compare the Munch column with the proper restaurant reviews is comparing apples to oranges.

      1. re: PghFoodster

        I always assumed Munch reviews were different people, that someone came up with a general style of how the column should read then various reporters from the PG could review places, mainly lunch spots, and fit their reviews into that style.

        Both are useful at times; one is not better than the other.

        1. re: CrazyOne

          Huh! Maybe I'm just slow to figure things out.

          I do think that they used to have journalists writing food and restaurant columns and then they didn't. I think they got part time people who could write decently.

          1. re: yayadave

            They had a gap last summer, but before that there was also a regular restaurant columnist just as the current one is a regular restaurant columnist. Food I don't know. I don't read the food columns as much, and my recollection is the food people are quite separate from the restaurant people and probably don't even talk all that much. ;-)

    2. I think Ms. Millman is doing a terrific job, and is just getting better. She seems more than up to the challenge of holding Pittsburgh restaurateurs to a more rigorous standard (cf. her Michelin-style star system) than perhaps they've grown accustomed to — which (fingers crossed) might actually drag the local restaurant scene into, if not national prominence, at least the current decade.

      8 Replies
      1. re: hassenpfeffer

        Snort. The idea that Pittsburgh could be in the current decade with anything so quickly shifting as restaurants seems insane really at first thought, and yet I suppose you have to admit there are spots here and there that may get pretty close. I'm not sure I'm qualified to judge as generally I only read about the current decade and don't get much chance to visit it. ;-)

        The thing is, the majority of the people here seem to not want it to be the current decade, or at least don't care that it is not. So to me it always seems like an uphill battle waged by a minority of folks in the area. It's wider reaching than just restaurants and food, too. The review and rating setup will help, but it's going to take a growing portion of the population who actually have different habits or tune in and change their habits. It'll take time, but my impression is slowly it is happening.

        1. re: CrazyOne

          PghFoodster--What is a proper restauarant? Is it one with white tablecoths and expensive crystal? Maybe Ms. 24 year-old Millman needs to include restaurant categories along with her rating system so that the "uneducated" Pittsburgh diners know what she's basing her "opinions" on. Oh, and by the way, she also needs to learn a bit more about the food she is writing about before expressing her "opinions." Maybe Ms 24-year old Millman is trying to make a name for herself,but first she should get the ingredients correct before writing about a dish. I know many 24-year olds who know more about good food that she does, but unfortunately they have more high-minded purposes in life that to try to hurt Pittsburgh restaurants in these tough economic times. Perhaps she has aspirations to move to New York and write for the New York Times.

          1. re: dolci

            How old is Ms. Millman again? I think I missed it. ;)

            We would be so fortunate as to have someone of the NYT's caliber writing for the PG. And I would suggest that "in these tough economic times," perhaps Pittsburgh restaurateurs would do well to be more concerned with giving consumers better quality for their money, rather than serving mediocre food at exorbitant prices, which, sadly, is an all-too-common problem here. Personally, I'm all for it. Viva la 24 year old food critic!

            1. re: hassenpfeffer

              I doubt the the NYT's is looking for someone of Ms. Millman's "caliber". The point is she does not know enough about food and is so overly impressed with fine dining that she holds all establishments to those standards. She has a lot to learn about food, people and life. Not everyone can afford to eat at Eleven. Pittsburgh does have some fine restraurants that are not over priced, but do have sugar caddies on the tables. Ms. Millman may have been born with a "silver spoon in her mouth'. Good for her. Sorry for the rest of us.

              1. re: dolci

                born with a "silver spoon in her mouth'.

                This may have been a nasty crack. More to the point, I think if that were true, she would know more about food.

                1. re: dolci

                  dolci, can you please refer to the examples of where she doesn't know enough about the food she's writing about? I'm trying to see your point, but I've read her reviews and would have to disagree with your assessment. It would seem by your posting tone that you have an axe to grind.

                  1. re: k squared

                    I agree. Dolci seems to be very hung up on her age and the experiences she references in her posts without referencing any legitimate critique. Merely stating that she doesn't know "enough" about food, whatever that means, does not make it so. Is someone a little green, perhaps?

                  2. re: dolci

                    I don't live in Pittsburgh but I do visit friends there, who are from the DC area. We all agree that Pittsburgh's restaurant scene is aweful, so much so that we cook on our visits rather than dining out. Anything to raise the standard of Pittsburgh restaurants would be helpful. I wanna know what restaurant you think is good. I wanna know what you know about food. If you can't afford to eat at fine dining restaurants, then who are you to criticize the palate of someone who can?