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Jul 14, 2011 04:23 PM

Is Alan Vernon worst than Pataki?

I get these reviews in my email. I don't really get the connection with the star rating and the review. Since when is smoking a lemon molecular gastronomy? Please read a recipe for ceviche before criticizing the use of sweet potatoes. And, unless I read the sentence completely wrong, I thought ramps are not asparagus. Obviously we all have our own take on each restaurant, but it's these weird comments that make me question his reviews.

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      1. re: dubchild

        Thanks. Vernon needs a good editor, or at the very least, a precis.

          1. re: jayt90

            Eek. The rhubarb was too toothsome? "a heavy fall-like cassoulet instead a the lighter fare"? Even a bad editor might have helped.

            1. re: Manybears

              Sounds like he (and any aspiring food reviewers) need to read this thread:


      2. I don't place a lot of stock in any reviews posted by a site that exists to sell advertising space and coupons for restaurants. That being said...while I'm certainly no fan of Pataki, at least her reviews are coherent. Vernon seems to just string together words he enjoys the sounds of. So my answer to your question would be "Yes." :)

        2 Replies
        1. re: Wahooty

          "I don't place a lot of stock in any reviews posted by a site that exists to sell advertising space"
          Then you must not read any restaurant reviews online. lol. Care to share any links of sites that post online restaurant reviews that don't sell advertising?
          God knows there isn't any quality blogs with decent reviews.

          1. re: pdames

            Nope, I really don't. But I'm a bad person to ask, as I generally find reading restaurant reviews excruciatingly dull. I find all of the blogs and such I have read pretty worthless (unless they are written by people I know personally and thus, know their angle), but is particularly bad. They are, first and foremost, a marketing site for restos. Their testimonials page is full of comments from advertisers about what a wonderful return on investment advertising with them is - they make absolutely no secret about the fact that they promote those who pay for the advertising.

            I get most of my worthwhile intel from this very site, but even CH requires a pretty big time investment to suss out contributors' ulterior motives and agendas. At least most of the regular posters here who lead me to duds do so out of genuine affection and differing tastes, not a desire for personal profit.

            The fact that Alan Vernon happens to also be an appallingly bad writer cements his irrelevance, as far as I am concerned.

        2. I have been reading Vernon for what seems like forever -since his early days as a food critic at -- and say what you like about him, but he is always bang on about his comments. Every restaurant that I have tried based on his reviews have reflected exactly what he wrote. And the few times that I went against his better judgment, I was proven wrong and very disappointed.

          I feel like he writes for the everyday man, not just "foodies" who want to argue the difference between ramps and asparagus.

          p.s.I don't think he said ramps are anything like asparagus, he was just suggesting an alternative to barbecuing asparagus.

          1. Others mention ' a bristle of sweet-potato matchstick fries'

            That's not exactly the same as the slice of cold sweet potato that is common with Peruvian ceviche. And Peru isn't the only country known for its ceviche.

            Authenticity probably isn't the best criteria for judging whether these fries work with this dish.