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Is he "on the take" or "a competitor"? Why, because he doesn't like certain things about this place (for reasons that he spells out quite clearly)? So that must mean he's got an ulterior motive, and not that he's simply telling the truth about how he feels? OK. Have you read any of his other reviews? Even with places that he otherwise gushes about, if there's a little something amiss, he has no qualms about ruthlessly noting it along with his praises.
It's a review, stupids. That is, it's an opinion, albeit an educated one. There's no "wrong" or "right". This is what he is paid to do. And this is why we're all here. Why else would we be reading? If we want some cursory, unprofessional, biased, everybody-gets-a-trophy puff piece, we can just go to Yelp or to the homepage of the restaurant in question.
Despite the fact that my own particular opinions about (all) things are more correct than anyone else's (you people probably [wrongly] assume the same about yours), I'm still interested in hearing Mr. Onstad's, and said interest would drop off to being non-existent if I thought for a second that he was doing anything other than calling things the way he sees them.
(Full disclosure: I'm pretty sure that i haven't eaten at more than one or two of the establishments he's reviewed during his tenure with the Mercury, regardless of what he's thought about them -- I primarily subsist on beer and tobacco -- I'm just here for the good, impassioned writing...and to get all pissy with you pissy-ass commenters.)
I can't speak for others that responded to this review with as you call it "outrage", but I responded as a work colleague of mine told me about the negative review. It is the one place I frequent regularly in the pearl. I don't read reviews as I don't put much stock into the opinion of someone I don't know when it comes to likes/dislikes. That said, other people do. I enjoy the establishment and would like to see it stick around, but reviews such as this one cast a mean-spirited negative light. People that make their decisions based off a food review may never give Piattino an opportunity. If I did not enjoy the quality of food, service and an owner who makes an attempt to get to know his customers, I would not respond to this review.
Good to reply with counter-opinions, but other than a shout-out to the Hen and the "big" pizzas, the outraged provide very little substance and instead raise questions of the reviewer's integrity. That's fucking ridiculous.
A couple replies: I would bet that the reviewer eats several times at each place he reviews. As many of us do, he probably thinks that Portland has one of the best food scenes in the country. So far, nothing *anybody* has said above suggests Piattino should be part of the A-list. Forgettable, maybe, but to long-term "regulars" whose opinion is based on familiarity alone.
I don't go to a restaurants to have an accordian played for me. Eating out should not be disneyland, or a CHEERS set, a winking or over-attentive owner or hostess, or whatever-- it's all the same. And no, I don't value that when I eat out.
The lack of substantive support in these comments for the *food*, which should speak for itself, is the icing on this review.
I think we'll just agree to disagree with your conviction that a doting owner trumps shitty food, in a restuarant. I think it's ridiculous that you insinuate this would be the case in other cities-- Chicago? Seattle? LA maybe? Is that where you can serve disgusting gnocci with a smile, and get return customers? (seattle maybe so, unfortunately) This all makes it hard for me to understand the origin of your sideways comment about my being "only" familiar with portland-- as if you grasp food scenes around the world, and Piattino's a gem...
I can tell it's been hard for you to defend Piattino's food, which is what the review is primarily about. Maybe you can just move on, accepting or even appreciating a reviewer's honesty and different focus than your own.
So to keep things **slow**, as you like them: let's just agree we both like to eat out, but one of us likes the actual food, and the other likes... whatever-the-fuck you actually like about restaurants.
I've had the misfortune to taste some of the food the owner of Piattino - and while I think he loves to be a restauranteur, he has no IDEA what good, modern Italian food is. Quality control has to come from the top - and unfortunately the owner, while an incredibly sweet man, has no taste. I'm happy for the owner that he has so many loyal (if misguided and weirdly prone to conspiracy theory) fans, but his food is unfortunate and it's only fair that Chris use his power to warn us.