Food Dude over at Portland Food and Drink got his lobster bib in a knot over our Chris Onstad's blog review of Quartet—posted soon after the restaurant's press event dinner. Here's the nut of Food Dude's post titled, "Is It Fair for a Journalist to Review a Press Preview Dinner?" (Spoiler alert: Apparently IT IS NOT!)
Portland Food and Drink was invited to a friends/family/press event to acquaint us with the new restaurant Quartet, which officially opens today.
I don’t go to press events, but know several people who were there, and from texts and emails I was getting, there were some serious issues.
However, because it was a pre-opening dinner, as in the restaurant wasn’t even open to the public yet, I didn’t write anything about the experiences of my friends – it just didn’t seem right.
This did not seem to be the case with Chris Onstad over at the Portland Mercury, who published a screed this morning, lambasting everything from the decor to the service, the food, and everyone else who attended the dinner – because they didn’t tell the management how bad their experience had been. This wasn’t just a negative piece, it was an all out attack.
Apparently Chris broke some unwritten rule that if press is specifically invited to a food event, the press should not write about it in any form. Now this seems odd to me—because usually, say, if Mayor Charlie Hales invites the press to a "press conference," there's a reasonable expectation that the press is going to write about what happened at the "press conference." BUT HEY! WHAT DO I KNOW, RIGHT?
The comments on this Portland Food and Drink story are fun, you should go check 'em out. NOTE: In fairness, there is an unwritten rule that food critics should wait two-three months after a restaurant opens so the place can get all the kinks worked out. The Mercury consistently does this for all our Last Supper reviews, because that's only fair. HOWEVER, if you've got enough confidence in your product to make a dinner an actual "press event" that does not include any mention of embargos, and if the writer clearly notes that the restaurant is still in its infancy... wellllllll, WHAT DO YOU THINK?