Critic Roundup: Special Treatment, or Not

Every Week, The Daily Meal rounds up restaurant reviews from across America
Credit: flickr/ Lennart Tange


In the restaurant industry, the quality of service can make or break a diner’s visit. This week, critics experienced a wide range of quality in their servers, from the refreshingly good to the amusingly awkward, to the unfortunately rushed and absent.

Devra First of the Boston Globe had a great time at The Bancroft, and although she deemed the food rave-worthy, to her the shining star of this eatery is its staff. She explained that “what really makes the place shine is the people who work here. Everyone — the hosts, the bartenders, the servers — is friendly, professional, knowledgeable, and just the right amount of funny. In short, well trained.” Michael Bauer visited the storied Corso in Berkley, and although his server made a mistake concerning the hue of a rosé he ordered, we learned that an appropriately-corrected misstep would not necessarily cause the critic to damn all of the service: “We weren't going to say anything, but realizing her mistake, she offered to replace it. Service through the night was thoughtful and relaxed, hitting all the right notes for a neighborhood restaurant.”

Pete Wells was taken with chef Markus Glocker and his restaurant, Bâtard, though the immoveable cheese cart perplexed the critic, and apparently, his server as well. Wells holds the management responsible right off the bat, explaining that “Mr. Winterman, the general manager, has put together a lovely little cheese cart, although he hasn’t figured out how to show it off.” He then details the slightly awkward scene this folly causes, most likely multiple times an evening, “’We have several goat cheeses,’ my server said one night. ‘Some cheese from France, of course. Some cheese from Vermont.’ Finding this picture a little vague, I asked to see them. This seemed to catch him off guard. ‘I could bring the cart over… but it would be a little tight with these tables.’”

It’s not always the front of the house that should be held responsible for messing up a meal: the kitchen can also lag behind or get ahead of itself, as it did when William Porter of the Denver Post visited Range. After being served his first course of soup, his main arrived a very short time afterward; “One minute and three spoonfuls of soup later, the char arrived.” The server’s excuse didn’t help matters, “’Sorry,’ the waiter said. ‘But the kitchen pushes out the food at lunchtime because everyone is in a hurry.’ Well, I wasn't — certainly not so rushed that I should be made to calculate which dish would turn tepid faster.” It got worse, as it seems that both the back of house and the front need to adjust their watches to make sure they are on schedule, since “Servers have a way of disappearing for stretches.” Luckily, “The food is first-rate. The service should be worthy of it.”

Restaurant Critic Roundup: 8/28/14





Devra First

Boston Globe

The Bancroft

3 Stars

Pete Wells

The New York Times


3 Star

Gael Greene

Insatiable Critic



Tom Siestsema

Washington Post


Mostly Positive

Robert F. Moss

Charleston City Paper

Leon’s Oyster Shop


Scott Reitz

The Dallas Observer



William Porter

The Denver Post


2 Stars

Michael Bauer

San Francisco Chronicle


2.5 Stars

Providence Cicero

The Seattle Times

Salish Lodge Dining Room

1 Star

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