Italian Food At Its Worst

The chicken piccata tasted like cardboard with the juice from a crate full of lemons. Think puckery tart, tough tasting packing boxes. The salad dressing was supposed to be a vinaigrette. It tasted like jelly. I am talking generic, high fructose corn syrup jelly. Judy’s lasagna? Isn’t it supposed to be hot in the center?

But should I say what restaurant where I had this pricey, terrible meal? I hesitate. I am not a restaurant reviewer. I am not writing this on a service like CitySearch where dozens of people write their reviews. Nor do I believe that my review would have such power and influence to affect the success or failure of a restaurant. I just am not sure about slamming a small restaurant. Perhaps there needs to be some process I go by. I think in fairness, if you find a new place that no one has reviewed, then the restaurant is open game. They’re new. They should be on the top of their game. But trash a 15-seat restaurant after one lousy meal? I’m not so sure.

Here’s what I am going to do. I am not getting to the MetroBlogging reader party until about 8:30 tonight. Remember, it’s over at Crush, SE 14th and Morrison, thankfully just a few blocks from my house. But if you hang out a while, I’ll tell you where I had this terrible meal. And maybe you can share with me a spot or two where you would never return for a meal.

I just have to say this. Why is Italian food so mediocre in this town?

12 Comments so far

  1. Aaron (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 9:08 am

    I disagree — you absolutely should post the name of the restaurant.

    Most of the world are not restaurant reviewers, nor do we have the palate of restaurant reviewers. So I say the best thing for the restaurant industry would be if more people who just ate regular food told us about their best and worst dining experiences.

    By all means, name names!

  2. Alex Williams (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 9:35 am

    I’m still not so sure. I think there is something to say about going back and trying the food again. That’s what I may have to do. If the second time is as bad as the first, well, then, I may not be so reserved in my post.

  3. george (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 10:04 am

    i would not say that italian food is mediocre in this town- but i would say that under $10 a plate italian food is pretty spotty. hit and miss. apizza sholls HIT. your place MISS.

    so whats this place?

  4. GawD (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 10:22 am

    I have to ask: Did you post this as a come on to your get together? If not, what exactly is the point of the posting? Information is a good thing. Nothing is gained by knowing you had a bad meal, but not knowing where you had it.

  5. Suds Sister (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 10:29 am

    I agree with Alex. Do not name names unless you are very certain of the place’s performance. One bad meal does not a “review” make.

    Regardless of the forum (internet blog or local newspaper of record), regardless of the “critic’s” level of expertise (blogger or seasoned reviewer), these are people’s lives we are talking about.

    You have a responsibility, indeed anyone who comments in a public forum has the responsibilty, of standards.

    If a place is consistently awful, then by all means dish the dirt. Just be sure.

  6. Alex Williams (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 10:56 am

    Nah, I did not post as a come on to get people to the event tonight. But, I thought it might be a good conversation to have, in person, over a beer or two. I just don’t feel right about messing with small business owners over one bad experience. I’d prefer to go to every other fast food joint in town and review how awful their food is to eat. But I do believe that no restaurant is immune from criticism. But criticism requires thoughtful analysis and so, I see why restaurant reviewers try places a few times before putting their words in to public view. Though, I must say, I am not happy with the restaurant review world here in Portland. The exception being sites like Portland Food and Drink. The O — they lost me when they made Nostrana restaurant of the year. I tell you, that was something else, especially when you look at the politics involved.

  7. Betsy (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 11:52 am

    I do have to totally disagree with the notion that new places ought to have their act together (and thus be held to a higher standard) when they first open the doors – in fact, I’d say the exact opposite ought to be the case here.

    Give them time to work the kinks out, determine what works and doesn’t work, nail down service issues, etc. Then come in with your review…!

    Alas, I won’t be at tonight’s gathering long enough to find out where Alex ate last night. Will someone else give me the scoop later, please?

  8. Alex Williams (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

    Good point, Betsy. It’s why going a few times to a restaurant before reviewing is really the best policy. At least in my book. :-). Bummer, Betsy, was hoping to see you there tonight. :-(

  9. TKrueg (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

    Oookay… not to throw water on your fire here, but really, do you think a harsh review on Metroblogging Portland is going to ruin a restaurant? Glancing at the commenter traffic on the site, you haven’t quite eclipsed the readership of The Skanner, let alone Willy Week.

    I agree with Gawd… this post is maddening in its pointlessness. Quit taking yourself so seriously and just say what you want to say. If you’re still worried about voicing your opinion, throw in a caveat or two. Like, “I’ve only had ONE meal here, so take this review with a grain of salt…” Now, is that so hard?

  10. Betsy (unregistered) on January 19th, 2007 @ 2:59 pm

    I don’t disagree with your overall point, tkreug – but I’d caution you from using number of comments as a barometer of how well-read (or not) a particular post is.

    We have posts that get tons of traffic directly to the permalinked standalone page – but have only one or two comments, for example…

  11. extramsg (unregistered) on January 19th, 2007 @ 2:59 pm

    I agree with TKrueg for all the reasons stated.

  12. martin (unregistered) on January 27th, 2007 @ 7:36 pm


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