Apparently the Words "Press Event" Mean Different Things to Different People


Can't afford; don't care.
But I do think it's great that you WSH have shown a willingness to support your staff when they are faced with criticism.
@ pork chop

Yeah, they seem to appreciate that more than the sexual harassment. THOUGH I'M NOT SURE WHY. My sexual harassment is "the best."
I tend to think that, for a press event like this, it should have been a private email to the owner, after the "polite" embarrassment had worn off. It seems, if not unprofessional, at least unkind to take free food, than publicly lambast an unopened restaurant for how terrible it was.
Oh, I just read the comments on Onstad's un-review, and a few other people said basically the same thing. I have no creative thoughts!
This seems like a crazy debate: if you invite food press to eat a free meal at your restaurant, you should expect them to write about it. If that's not your expectation, you need to say so in the invitation, or at least AT SOME POINT, EVER.
Management should want to know that even at a suck-up event, press had major complaints, right? Onstad could've shared some of these in person but then again, I don't see the problem going public. If smart, this place will work that much harder to combat the complaints when perhaps they'd have more quickly dismissed whispers from one guy at one event. Plus, who goes to south waterfront for anything? Even though I'll never go, I'm now aware of a place I'd have never known about. I'm sure others are now too, and some may try the place down the road.

My guess is you'll send CO back in a few months, he'll write how the place has improved since the press event but overall it still sucks.
All I need to know about Quartet is that it's owned by an asshole in Arizona who doesn't even give a shit about this restaurant. To him, this is all numbers on a spread sheet. This guy is not a Portlander, he's not even a Cascadian, so fuck him and his dumb fucking bougie restaurant. And, fuck the general manager and the high priced restaurants he’s managed: El Gaucho is for dickish elitists who wouldn’t know Portland’s culture if it was biting them in the ass. I’ve had better stakes from local meat at a food cart and it cost a quarter of what El Gaucho charges.

Not surprising, these same dickish asses are all pissy cause they got a shit review. Boo-hoo.

Fuck that place, fuck its clients, and fuck the reviewers who will suck up to a restaurant just to stay trendy and not rock the boat.
If the owner is truly an asshole, I'm surprised WW hasn't fawningly tried to make him/her a "celebrity" chef yet.

You bring up an interesting point! But just like I don't feel the need to send a "personal note" to tell Steven Spielberg how disappointed I was with "War Horse" before I write the review, or tell Mayor Charlie Hales that I disagree with his policies before I print my thoughts in the paper, or send a note to a panned theater company before the review comes out... (GASP! Pant! Pant!) Shall I go on? (My point is that when Spielberg et al. are asking for press to attend their event, they are generally prepared for any opinion the press may have... good or bad. )
Quartet should have done a better job buying off the press.
Onstad is a stud.

Fuck these people and this restaurant. These bitch cakes won't publicize their prices and Onstad's the coward? They only price mentioned anywhere was something about a 16 dollar burger. Clearly this management group is targeting only people who can afford 30+ dollar plates.

In a town full of good people slaving away in tiny restaurants and tin boxes for razor-thin margins only to bring amazing food to anyone regardless of income level, this kind of restaurant group should be seen as an abomination. They don't care about food, about what it means to invest heart and soul into your trade, about distribution and hunger issues in a larger context or even a quality dining experience. If anything, they care the minimum amount necessary to garner a big return for their inevestors.
Yea, I'm being didactic. But fuck this place. And fuck anyone who goes there. And fuck Portland Monthly for writing a kiss-ass piece on it, which I'm sure they'll do if they haven't already. Hope this place dies in a week.

I'm confused. What's the purpose of a restaurant inviting a bunch of journalists over for a free meal, if not to get those journalists to write nice things about them? Is the restaurant really hoping that they won't get any press coverage? Hard to imagine.

The purpose has got to be that they want glowing reviews. And if they're hoping for glowing reviews, then why aren't they pulling out all the stops to blow the doors off?

And when they fail to impress, when they fail period, well, it seems plausible - even reasonable - that the journalists involved write accordingly.

To do otherwise, would be a failure of journalistic ethics; a failure to do right by their readers. A journalist's responsibility is primarily to his/her readers. Sure, there's some responsibility to his/her subjects (I work in politics, so this complaint is something I know well), but if the subject is hoping for coverage, they shouldn't be shocked when they actually get it.

I guess the way I look at it is that the movies and plays you review are all complete ad ready for public consumption. Whether Quartet was (tragically) trying extra hard for this press crowd or not, reviewing an unopened restaurant isn't particularly helpful to anyone -- after all, you wouldn't publicly evaluate a whole show based on the dress rehearsel or a special press showing.

Obviously, I don't think it's an affront to Quartet to post the review -- I don't really care about their feelings -- but I do think it's ethically meh to review a product based on a special performance. It's an incomplete evaluation of an incomplete product.
And @karichisholm:

Think of the ethics like this: if Chris got invited to a free preview dinner especially for press and his socks WERE blown off -- like, everything was amazing, and the service was impeccable, and none of the servers smelled like week-old cigarette smoke --

Should he review that?

He got a special performance. This is not what you would experience, if you went on an average Thursday and spent your own money. You might expect more -- the prices might make or break the impression you get of the food -- the restaurant might be chronically understaffed.

But there's a reason critics don't usually, in cases where the product can be changed, identify themselves as critics or accept special treatment if they're recognized -- they're aspiring to have as close to an everyday experience with the product as possible.