Critic Roundup: They’ve Got Their Minds on Your Money

Every Week, The Daily Meal rounds up restaurant reviews from across America

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Ivan Ramen

A food critic calling attention to egregious over-pricing or can’t-believe-it deals in their review is not uncommon, but this week, many restaurant critics specifically mentioned their thoughts on the pricing of the food they reviewed.

Micah Wexler’s offerings at his new Wexler’s Deli struck LA Times critic Jonathan Gold as a bargain: “Wexler's is inexpensive — its sandwiches are at least a few dollars cheaper than their equivalents at Art's or Nate & Al's — and the sturgeon on a bagel, at $9, is among the better smoked-fish bargains in Los Angeles.” Meanwhile, in South Carolina, Robert Moss of the Charleston City Paper enjoyed Chez Nous, but ensured his readers were clear on what to expect when the bill arrived “Its prices (appetizers typically run between $11 and $13, entrees between $19 and $28) put it squarely in the fine-dining category, and the offerings are the same for both lunch and dinner.”

Some criticized the value of the food and drink they were served when steep prices were taken into account, like The San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer, who took issue with some of the dearness at Commissary: “It might be fine if the wines were $6 a glass, but when you pay $14 for a selection like 2010 Forlorn Hope Verdelho, the quaintness doesn't jibe with the reality. Likewise, when diners pay $26 for a chunk of halibut, precariously balanced on top of clams with chorizo and garlic almond piccata in a saucer-size ceramic dish, it feels forced.” Pete Wells of The New York Times called into question Ivan Orkin’s ability to put his food where the diners’ money is, writing, “Servers at Ivan Ramen are always pushing add-on garnishes for the noodles for an extra $2 or $3. ‘All our ramens are improved by an egg,’ we were told one night. If Mr. Orkin thinks his ramen is better with an egg, he should put an egg on it, and charge accordingly… The mazemens, a form Mr. Orkin has mastered more fully than anyone in the city, justify the price… The soup ramens do not, at least not yet.”

So although their meals are comped in the name of research and good press, our American restaurant critics are clearly keeping not only their readers’ palates, but also their wallets, in mind.

Restaurant Critic Roundup: 8/06/14





Pete Wells

The New York Times

Ivan Ramen

2 Stars

Gael Greene

Insatiable Critic



Tom Sietsema

Washington Post

Macon Bistro & Larder

1.5 Stars

Robert Moss

Charleston City Paper

Chez Nous


Scott Reitz

The Dallas Observer

San Salvaje


Jonathan Gold

The LA Times

Wexler's Deli


Michael Bauer

San Francisco Chronicle


2.5 Stars

William Porter

The Denver Post


2.5 Stars

Providence Cicero

The Seattle Times

The Herbfarm

3 Stars

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Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant/City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @BeefWerky and @theconversant.