Hungry for more reviews

I really miss having real restaurant reviews in our main local rag. I used to go directly to the contents and find out which restaurant was being written about that week. Recently, the food column hit an all-time low by talking about who gets served first and how fast you can get your food [“No Rules, Just (What Feels) Right,” May 14]. Go on to a drive-through place and leave the real dining to others who have the time and inclination to really enjoy food and wine.

Please get someone to go to our amazing cornucopia of restaurants—especially downtown—and write about them in an engaging, critical and appreciative way like Mackensy Lunsford used to do. I love this paper; miss the food!

— Jane Knox
Asheville

Managing editor Jon Elliston responds: It’s good to find that our Food section continues to generate passionate reactions, and that they vary widely depending on people’s tastes. Xpress recently solicited advice from our readers about what they’d like to see in the section, and critical reviews were high on some people’s list while they were low on others’. Our food editor has forged a new approach that incorporates some of what we used to do with new elements, and it will debut in our pages soon. Stay tuned!

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8 thoughts on “Hungry for more reviews

  1. Trey

    And this week…. livermush….. mmmmmmm good.

    Yikes.

    The Food and Drink section of this rag is pointless. Even when there is a review of an actual restaurant, it is ALWAYS a good review.

    How about getting someone to write your reviews who actually may have spent some time in the food/bev. industry.

    I guess you get what you pay for.

  2. Dionysis

    “Even when there is a review of an actual restaurant, it is ALWAYS a good review.”

    I’m glad others notice this too. Like many people, I’ve dined in some really good restaurants all over the country, from small towns to large cities, and in a few foreign countries as well. Comparatively speaking, Asheville comes up short in the number of good restaurants relative to the size of the city. There are some good ones, to be sure, but it has been my experience that way too many of them are hyped as ‘really good’ this or that type restaurant (from local reviews or opinion polls), but don’t even come close to the build-up.
    It’s one thing to look past the typical tattooed, body-pierced waitstaff that look as if they sleep under an overpass each night, but to pay fairly steep prices for mediocre food (or worse) is just a bit too much.

  3. Daniel

    Although I agree that some more incisive restaurant coverage would be great, I disagree with Dionysus about the restaurants in town. In my admittedly limited experience, Asheville has got a great number of wonderful restaurants for a town this size. True, I focus on the mid-range to inexpensive restaurants–Jack of the Wood, Asheville Pizza, Twin Cousins, Heiwa, etc.–but within that price range, there is a wide variety of different cuisines prepared well by people who obviously care about food. Compared to Raleigh, Chapel Hill, or Olympia (as I said, my experience is admittedly limited), Asheville has a great number of excellent mid-range restaurants.

  4. Dionysis

    “I disagree with Dionysus about the restaurants in town. In my admittedly limited experience, Asheville has got a great number of wonderful restaurants for a town this size.”

    I noted there are some really good restaurants here, and I’ve not tried all of them in the area to be sure, so maybe my overall view will change. It’s just that most of the downtown restaurants I’ve tried, based upon glowing reviews, etc., have failed to live up to the hype. A few have. That’s just one person’s subjective opinion, but I’ve dined in literally thousands of places over the years and I just think many of them around here aren’t anything special, and don’t deserve the high marks.

  5. Trey

    I have to agree with Dionysis.

    Even the few places Daniel mentioned have been hit or miss for me.

    There is no consistency in this town. It’s like, according to who is working in the kitchen on any given night determines the quality of the meal.

    All the restaurants in town are top notch for the first few weeks after their grand opening. Then….. slowly they suck.

    Everything goes on autopilot, and the staff realizes as long as there is a fresh batch of tourists coming in every weekend, it doesn’t really matter if they uphold the standards they set for the restaurant in the beginning. And I am MOSTLY talking about the mid-range places.

    High-end places can’t get away with that, and they know it. People will bitch and moan at a high-end restaurant about anything they don’t like…. as they should considering the price.

    Mid-range places… not so much. How does the old joke go…… sex is like pizza….. even when it’s bad it’s pretty good. Well, in this case pizza is like pizza, when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good….. so most people won’t really complain.

  6. Dionysis

    “Restaurants are an elitist waste of newsprint.”

    I’ve eaten at lots of restaurants, housed in many different types of buildings, but I’ve never dined in a restaurant made of newsprint. I guess you tried to convey that restaurant REVIEWS are a waste of newsprint. To those seeking information about a particular restaurant, reviews have value. And, according to a recent study by the National Restaurant Association, the average American spends $3,000 dining out per year, and dining out is one of the most popular activities of Americans. I guess that means this country is chock full of elitists.

  7. AshaKasha

    I, too, wish to go back to having restaurant reviews. I haven’t found them particularly reliable, but I just enjoy them.

    I have lived and eaten all over the country, and outside of the country, as well. I am not impressed, overall, with Asheville restaurants (and I’ve eaten in most of them). We do have some gems, for sure, but the others are just forgettable, or insanely inconsistent.

    And we seem to have too many of the same kinds of restaurants. How many giant burrito joints or sushi houses do you need, anyway?

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