Go ahead and spoil the party, Ed. It needs to be spoiled. It wants to
be spoiled. Places like Dallas BBQ deserve your censure, not your
grudging praise. Let’s drive them out of town and replace them all with
better restaurants! These places are the nadir of cynicism, and would
be an affront to any strip mall in Elkhart, Indiana. I’m consumed with
hostility toward them, and I can’t even say why. But I can say this: if
that onion ring loaf is really “greaseless” then I am a vegan. That
thing could lubricate an auto plant.
Perhaps Ed has a bit of the Monheit in him, not that that's a bad thing. But Levine's visit does remind us that even a city as rich in food options as NYC, lots of people eat really shitty food. I would bet a fin that the Applebees over near BAM does more covers than any half-dozen fawned over Brooklyn boites you would care to name.
More generally, it suggests something dismaying about criticism as a practice, which is that not many pay attention.* A bad review of a spot like Dallas BBQ has all the impact of Michiko Kakutani suplexing the latest Twilight jawn. Folks'r gonna read the riblets. That said, if it is in fact true that many, many people will make bad choices about food or literature, it's not clear that a restaurant evaluation model that relies on millions of critics is better than a model that relies on one. Play us off Keyboard Cat, Minutemen:
*Some do, fortunately.