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Sep 14, 2009 08:31 PM

Voir's Sparrow review (moved from Quebec board)

Gildas Meneu reviews the Sparrow in this week's edition of Voir. I have no comment on the review itself (positive all the way), but was very disappointed/shocked/ruffled when I read this passage at the end, where he sums up the "negative" points:
"Impossible de réserver pour moins de quatre personnes. Très irritant. Alors on a triché: nous étions trois, et on a fait semblant d'attendre le quatrième. Je reconnais ma mauvaise foi, mais c'était pour la bonne cause..."
(quick translation: reservations are not accepted for parties of less than 4, so he lied, reserved anyway "for 4" even if they were three, and pretended to be waiting for someone through the meal. He claims it was for "the good cause").
He evidently thinks of himself as more important than the regular clients, and that he is above rules. Wow. I really hope this does not incite readers/future clients to do the same.
I am the only one frustrated by this?

whole article:

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  1. For myself, this is enough to get another reviewer for the paper if I was the publisher. It strains their credibility. It is enough for me to write a letter to the editor, which I have done.

    4 Replies
    1. re: bigfellow

      Now It's funny and pathetic. The letter I sent to the editor was deleted without being read according to the online reciept...

      1. re: bigfellow

        wow! how rude and careless of their readers' opinion! hmm. Maybe I should write a comment on the bottom of the online article.

          1. re: bigfellow

            !!! double wow. Thank you for investigating this... although it doesn't seem quite useful to give them comments.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. Oh my god ! Don't you understand irony ?

        The truth is that I tried to join a friend by phone at the restaurant; the fourth person. But I found ironic to write this, and I told it: I took responsibilty for my bad faith.

        Anyway. I can't stand this kind of rules of reservation. That's the weakest link of this excellent restaurant. That's it !

        Gildas Meneu

        3 Replies
        1. re: gourmetgalopin

          I thank you for being honest in your review. No, I did not pick up on any irony/sarcasm.
          However, I think you underestimate the influence you might have over your readership. Indeed, if the reviewer does it, why not I? Respecting simple reservation rules is pretty basic protocol to observe as a reviewer/journalist/concierge/VIP/whatever.
          Au plaisir.

          1. re: gourmetgalopin

            I feel that if you don't want to abide by the rules in a restaurant or in any business it shows a lack of respect to the owner and staff. They do have the rule for a reason.

            Secondly, I also did not see any irony. What I saw (or read) was you felt that the rules did not apply to you. This might be from my lack of expertise in the French language. But many of my Francophone friends read the same thing.

            It is courteous of you to reply here.

            BTW I did get an answer back from Voir it is copied below:

            Hello John,
            I'm surprise by your e-mail. Gildas Meneu, our restaurant writter doesn't think he is above the rules and he didn't want to chock anybody. He just wanted to be sure to be able to go to the restaurant and respect his deadlines for writing the review about The Sparrow. He pays the bill and didn't tell to the restaurant he was coming for a review.
            I don't understand why you "had your faith shaken" in our newspaper... this little story didn't influence the review and didn't cause any trouble to the restaurant at the end.
            That's true that it can be annoying for the restaurant that customers don't respect the rules of reservation, but it is also anoying for the customers when a restaurant have special rules for reservation...
            I transfer your mail to Gildas so he can answer for hisself...
            Thank you for writting us,
            Best regards,

            Mathilde Singer

            Chef de section Gastronomie

            355, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, 7e étage
            Montréal (Québec) H3B 1A5


            Informer, stimuler et rapprocher les consommateurs de culture.

            1. re: gourmetgalopin

              My irony detector has a hair trigger and it sensed none. Just a huge dose of self-importance.

              For a food reviewer, this was unconscionable, a double fail. First, you didn't play by the rules. Second, you planted the idea in readers' heads that they can do the same. And I say that as someone who thinks The Sparrow's reservation policy sucks.

            2. I read the piece and also missed the 'irony' entirely.

              Voir is one of the only decent places to find a decent restaurant review in Montreal. The Mirror can be hit or miss. The Gazette food section is barley suitable for lining a bird cage...that's assuming of course you don't the bird.

              I do however feel that the reviewer was way of base. He should have respected the rules of the restaurant plain and simple. Not mess with them to suit his convenience or deadline.

              4 Replies
                1. re: Withnail42

                  My god, who cares? The reservations policy is ridiculous. The reviewer subverted it. I'm sure the reviewer also didn't reserve under her own name (tsk, tsk, how disrespectful to lie about one's identity to a restaurateur!) and probably also lied when the server asked how everything was. That's what decent reviewers do, because they're there to serve readers, and not restaurateurs. If that shakes somebody's faith in the reviewer's paper, then best stick to martiniboys and other pay-to-play "reviewers."

                  1. re: pimentdespelette

                    So, what you're saying is that it is OK to lie. I love your moral code.

                    1. re: pimentdespelette

                      That's a very nonsensical response. Very juvenile.

                  2. interesting ethical discussion. possibly worth discussing over a bowl of their insanely good artichoke soup that's on the menu right now...