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Mar 20, 2012 09:31 AM

Dozen Best Fried Chicken Restaurants list from

Dozen Best Fried Chicken Places In NOLA.

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  1. I question any list that includes Mr. Ed's (bland, bland, bland) but not Willie Mae's.

    30 Replies
      1. re: speyerer

        I give little credence to his reviews. sorry but the self appointed food "critic" would do better to call himself a food taster. If you want to know how food writers are treated in restaurants, read his "reviews". You will not recieve either the same food or service. Just ask his wife who freely states there is a diffence when she dines without her husband. In addition, food critics should not have websites with paid restaurant advertising. Who does he serve, the public or the restaurants? Can't have it both ways. I aprrexiate his lists but hace no use for his reviews. It is impossible to stay current with over 1200 restaurants. Lots of dated info.

        1. re: JazzyB

          This is a very, very "slippery slope."

          Sometimes, I hesitate to post a review of certain restaurants, as I often worry that what I get is not what another might get. I also hesitate to just review a particular menu, on the night that I dine, if nothing else has changed at that restaurant.

          Now, unlike the mentioned reviewer, I do not have that commercial support, but am "known" by many restaurant owners, and chefs, so I have reason to worry.

          When there is any tie, no matter who thin, I mention that, in my reviews, in case I am getting anything "special."

          Yep, the slope gets very, very slippery, indeed.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Just went and read the Top 300 Restaurants (going OT for Fried Chicken here), and though I have certainly not dined at all (heck, living in AZ, I would say "most"), but only had some minor, personal quibbles with the list, and even the ranking. However, as I often get only one trip, to do my reviews, I have to admit that I could have hit them on their worst night in 20 years!

            Also, I noticed some restaurants, not on the list, that had ads on that page, and some are fairly high on MY list of Top 300's. Just personal tastes.

            Not sure if there is any shilling going on, at least I did not spot it.


          2. re: JazzyB

            I tend to agree with JazzyB. I think you have to take his reviews with a grain of salt. And there's no way his reviews can stay current. He hasn't even been to Root yet. But you can get some idea of a restaurant's atmosphere, service, and food by reading his reviews. But cross check any restaurant reviews with Chowhound and Brett Anderson.

            1. re: JazzyB

              As Tom Fitzmorris of NO Menu says:
              "I May Be Wrong. I invite you to agree, disagree, or question any of my reviews. This is just my opinion here, and ... I don't pretend that mine is the only possible viewpoint."
              What else do you expect? If you use his review as the opinion of an expert then you are not considering it as another "viewpoint". You make your own decision, as we all should.

              1. re: speyerer

                I do refer to his opinions. I was just agreeing that there may be a conflict with him including restaurant advertising on his website and also I agree that one reviewer can't possibly stay current on all restaurants in NOLA. Many reviews are several years old.

                1. re: bmoskowitz

                  I treat them---when I bother to look--as a recipe. It is a general guideline. He has a better sense of the restaurant culture here than many outside reviewers have. I think he is right about the "feel good" aspect of Willie Mae's rocket to fame. Everyone loves to find and frequent "the little dump" places. Her chicken is perfectly fine but it ain't a patch on the Popeyes that was on Broad by Hub Ford years ago.

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    Fair enough. I'm happy he's doing his thing. He's a unique resource.

                2. re: speyerer

                  He talks out of both sides of his mouth. Many that disagree or dare to besmirch certain restaurants ( on his radio program) are hastily told "see ya" That being said, his restaurant lists are a useful resource.

                  I see him as a shill rather than an expert and disregard his opinions. I recall one new restaurant owner who told of how his establishment was given a low rating then received an extra star the day after he paid for advertising. Coincidence? Perhaps.

                  He played a radio show game where he asked listeners a culinary question. The prize for the winner....he would personally call the restaurant of their choice and make the
                  reservation to ensure they would get the same perks and treatment they gave him. Soooo, if you want to know the experience of a restaurant critic, he's your man.

                  I mentioned this lest the unfamiliar nonlocals give too much credence to the "critic".

                  1. re: JazzyB

                    Hmm. I am reminded of a favorite "Columbo" in which Louis Jordan was shaking down restaurateurs. I had some of the same probelms with the late Richard Collin not the least of which was his finding some places I'd prerfer remain undisturbed.

                    1. re: JazzyB

                      Opinions are easy to find. Some do and some don't. I don't go to a restaurant based on opinions other than my own.

                      1. re: JazzyB

                        Yes, the "pay to play" aspect, regarding advertising, is a red flag for me.

                        That is one reason that I dropped Food & Wine Magazine. The wines recommended for each dish, were heavily featured in multi-page advertising, and the same when wines, alone, were being reviewed. The "100 pt." wines had 3 - 4 pages, and maybe even triple-trucks, or IS Front Cover, or IS Back Cover.

                        Now, I know how many magazines work. For many years, I did photography of high-end residences. Often, some of my images would appear in a magazine, as part of one of their pieces on an architect, a builder, a development, etc, and they would call and offer discounted advertising space, should I want it, and depending on how much I bought, I might even be offered a featurette. That is fine, BUT, if editorial content is based on advertising, then something is not quite right.o

                        There have been several scandals in the "wine-porn" areas, where "pay to play" was used both ways. Wine Maker A would offer to buy Z$'s in advertising, if their wine got ___ pts., and also magazines, that would offer wine maker B a better rating, if he/she would only buy X$'s in advertising.

                        When I read a food article, that lists, say Concha y Toro's wines, as the best pairings for each dish, and then see a pull-out 12 page ad section for Choncha y Toro Wines, I gut suspicious. The Web is no different, and when one is reviewing restaurants, and also selling ads to them, I worry a bit.

                        Not familiar with this food/restaurant critic, so cannot directly comment.

                        Just some general observations,


                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          I doubt Fitzmorris' reviews are materially influenced by the advertizing on his site. Why do I say that? Look at his reviews and compare them with the advertizing. I haven't noticed there's any correlation -- in fact, very few of his top rated spots, or even medium rated spots, even advertize with him as far as I have seen.

                          If one is concerned, one can just discount his review for any place that also advertizes on the site, and use the others.

                          Of course it is always best to check out a variety of reviews. That said, his reviews are generally in line with the reviews of others.

                          And BTW, others also suffer from the appearance of pay-to-play. If one suspects that advertizing affects nomenu, then why not worry about it also affecting Anderson in the TP? Personally I doubt it much affects either; if it did, that fact would quickly become widely known around town and would negatively impact those publications credibility, which they must maintain. Legitimate media outlets know that, and would normally avoid engaging is that behavior for that specific reason. In short, I think there are much more significant things to worry about.

                          1. re: johnb

                            The main reason many people have real problems with Fitzmorris isn't his website but his radio show where he intermingles paid endorsements with other commentary (not clearly differentiating which is which) and where he clearly discusses and recommends advertisers disproportionately over other restaurants.

                            1. re: CampStreet

                              I wouldn't have known, since I don't live in but only visit NOLA. I've never heard his radio show, but do rely to some extent on his written reviews as well as those of others to make my dining choices. JazzyB specifically referred to "his website" and "reading" his reviews, not listening, and the written reviews were what I was referring to. If the radio comments aren't reliable, seems it would be easy to ignore them and make just make use of the written reviews.

                              Making mention of, even recommending, one's advertisers on the radio seems fairly common and expected. But does he give them actual numerical ratings that are not justified?

                              1. re: johnb

                                I referred to his radio show in my Mar. 22 post.

                                1. re: JazzyB

                                  As I clearly stated, my reference was to your statements in your Mar 21 post, the one in which you said "read" his reviews and then referred to his website which contained the ads, and went on to impugn his reviews, but made no reference to his radio program.

                                  This merely being a Chowhound thread, I didn't think it was necessary to cite the specific post.

                            2. re: johnb

                              I would definitely hope that the concept of "pay to play," is not at work, with most food Web sites, reviewing restaurants, and also blogs.


                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                There have been lots of comments in many places that Yelp suffers from some types of pay to play.

                                1. re: johnb

                                  I have only looked at Yelp, maybe three times, and was totally unimpressed. Maybe it was the restaurants, or regions, but nothing "did it" for me, like CH does.

                                  I know zero about any "pay to play" there, but just found the info nearly useless, for my searches. I only felt that the reviews were "questionable," if I am feeling kind.


                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    I agree with your assessment, but like it or not Yelp is a very powerful site and restauranteurs quake in their boots at the possibility of bad reviews there. IMV CH is inhabited by an older generation of food crazed people like us; Yelp is a creature of the "everything can be posted and read on the internet" (crowd sourcing) generation, and appeals to a much younger crowd that is less steeped in accuracy but believes that quantity can substitute for quality in these things.

                                    And for all its faults Yelp can sometimes be useful. My favorite story is once I was in Coral Gables on business. I knew nothing about local restaurants but was hungry. While stopped at a stoplight I pulled out my iPhone, and did a quick Yelp search of places close to where I was. Within seconds I found a well-thought-of dim sum place, did a directions search and learned it was about 200 yards away from where I was still waiting for the light to change, followed the map right over there and had a very memorable and excellent lunch. I could never have done that on CH.

                                    Moral of the story? I suppose avoid being too dogmatic and use the tools available to you when it's to your advantage.

                              2. re: johnb

                                johnb - the difference w/ a larger news org like the TP, is that the advertising is handling entirely by a different set of employees, separated from the editorial department. that's the best practice. this is very different than one man doing both the editorial and the check cashing. for good reason that is considered unethical and is not how it's done.

                                also, there is little way to know who was paying for what advertising when reviews were written.

                                1. re: kibbles

                                  But the same problem applies no matter what the size of the media outlet. If an outlet loses credibility, it loses its market. The fact that at a large place like the TP different people do different functions relates as much or more to sheer size and specialization of tasks than to the creation of a firewall.

                                  I repeat -- on his website, there is no correlation I can find between advertisers and ratings. I am not aware that (more than a few of) his top-rated places have ever had ads on his site. On this basis alone, I don't think there is any credible case that he is letting advertizing materially affect his ratings. Further, his ratings are pretty much in line with others' ratings, and with the preponderance (in general) of comments here on CH. Thus, I conclude that he is not engaging in pay for play to any degree that would make his site suspect or useless.

                                  1. re: johnb

                                    You don't know his history over the years.

                                    1. re: JazzyB

                                      Well, I have used his site from time to time over the years.

                                      In any case, if there is no objective evidence of any problems with the site currently, then why would it not be useful as one input when making restaurant selection decisions? Are you saying his reviews are not good enough to use for that practical purpose, which to me is the only worthwhile criterion in judging whether the site has value?

                                      If you've had a run in with him in the past, and don't like him, fine, but what does that have to do with whether I or anyone should use his site as a non-exclusive input to restaurant selection decisions we might make?

                                      1. re: johnb

                                        Obviously, everyone is free to use whatever resources they want, but it does seem appropriate to point out in discussion dealing with Fitzmorris's website that in his other role as a radio host he clearly lets advertising affect how he talks about the restaurants he's covering.

                                        Whether you think he can be seemingly oblivious to the basic ethics covering reviewers in one format but follow them in another or whether you even care is up to you.

                                    2. re: johnb

                                      Good points.

                                      As are those by Kibbles.

                                      There is, and should be, a separation between the editorial staff, and the advertising staff, though there are often some overlaps, or at least "conversations," as ad sales drive most newspapers, or magazines.

                                      On CH, luckily, the ads are to the right, and people offer their personal observations, at least in 99% of the instances. When they ARE shills, it is usually obvious, and the CH MOD's usually pick up on that, or some user points it out.

                                      I might be a fool, in my trust for most CH posts, but they are closer, than any other site, that I have encountered. Though I have quibbles with some, I chalk that up to personal tastes, or different experiences.


                            3. re: speyerer

                              speyerer - i once contacted him regarding a very unusual review and he totally went off on me in private email. for several days of "last word" emails he showed himself to be a raving egomaniac...stunning.

                              further, the fact that he makes his presence known to restaurant management in order to get special service is fact that his style of reviewing is out of touch w/ reality.

                              1. re: kibbles


                                If a restaurant knows that they are serving a "member of the media," i am not sure how objective things might be.

                                I have known of Tom for decades, but have never been a "follower," so only rely lightly on the material on that site.

                                Ideally, I would usually like to get reviews from someone, who is not affiliated, nor sponsored by, any restaurant.

                                When I do a review, I try to factor in, "Did I get special handling?" to help others. If I am known by a restaurant, then, I do try to be as objective, as is possible.


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                          1. I wonder about his list. He rates Emeril's right near the top, but it hardly ever gets a mention here......

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Mountaindog

                              IMO, Emeril's(flagship) is one of our best restaurants.. Do a board search. You'll find it is held in high regard.

                              1. re: Mountaindog

                                I see people raving about Emeril's fried chicken and waffles all the time. I've had it and thought the chicken was very good but the waffles didn't do it for me.

                                1. re: texasredtop

                                  The spicy chicken, corn studded Belgian waffles w Krystal syrup and watermelon slaw are about as brunchy as I get. They are perfect pre Saints 3:00 games (otherwise not open for brunch). Great food, great time. Staff and patrons wearimg their black/gold.

                              2. NOMenu weighs in again:
                                Nuccio's. Harahan: "This is fried chicken the way fried chicken was meant to be. Four pieces: breast, thigh, drumstick, wing. Lightly crisp, greaseless, thin crust with visible herbs."