What's With All These Duplicate Reviews, Anyway?

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In the comments of my recent review of SNACK, Torchness asks:

Can you please explain why the Observer reviews every week are almost always the same restaurant as the Dallas Morning News Reviews (or, vice versa)? I find this obnoxious. Why can't there be different reviews week to week? Personally I'd rather hear about a restaurant that's different than what the Morning News does. There's so many restaurants out there, that this can't be a coincidence.

Fat Guy: It's not a coincidence. Most critics wait a predetermined amount of time before reviewing a restaurant. I wait six weeks after an establishment opens before I make a first visit, and I'm pretty sure Leslie waits about the same time. Since we follow the same rules, similar reviews are often posted the same week or within a few weeks of each other. And I think that's actually a good thing...

Sometimes we have very similar opinions about our dining experiences and others we disagree. Driftwood is one recent example where the DMN awarded four stars and I think the cooking leaves a lot to be desired. Zio Cecio was a restaurant Leslie admitted to being spotted during her meal, and claimed the glowing service she got personally from the chef was showered equally amongst all the tables in the dining room. But I was in that same dining room during the same weeks, and can attest that the attentive service, (namely a perfectly presented salt-crusted fish presented by the chef himself) was not present at my table.

Sometimes I'll wait longer to review a restaurant just to see how the the service and food evolves over time. Oak is one restaurant I waited months to review, and I still had the same opinion as Leslie. (Eat there immediately.)

Private Social is another restaurant I waited an extended period of time to review. The DMN awarded Tiffany Derry's Uptown restaurant four stars based on meals Leslie had relatively close to the opening. Later, I found a menu that was so overpriced for the level of execution I experienced that I thought diners were completely wasting their money there. A little over a month after my review, D Magazine agreed with me.

Restaurant criticism is rooted deeply in journalism, but relies significantly on opinion. And as much as we try to be impartial, those opinions are always at least somewhat rooted in personal preference. Having access to multiple takes on the same dining experience should be welcomed. And there are plenty of times we don't overlap. Reviews like Tto Tto Wa, My Lan, Omi, Dalat, Cafe Maya, Chicken Scratch, 303 Bar and Grill, Rhost and more remain for the most part uncovered at the DMN.

I'm sure there are scores of undiscovered restaurants in the DFW area that deserve more coverage and I spend a lot of time scouring the Internet and wandering around dazed and confused in this heat and watching my gut grow while I try to find them. I'm always open to suggestions and new finds, though. Have a recommendation? Email me.



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9 comments
Jasonk
Jasonk

I just want to say I love Private Social and I dont know what happened on your visit but I think you need to revisit.

 

ajenson
ajenson

It is not petty or silly that this is obnoxious to some people. All these restaurants that keep popping up in the reviews constantly i.e. wicked poboys, whiskey cake, velvet taco, bolsa, oak, cedar social, lombardi family res. etc ARE all associated with the same PR development group.. Coincidence? doubtful.. sometimes it feels like the critics just get perks to create public buzz .

J_A_
J_A_

Scott I tried Tto Tto Wa this weekend because of your review. It was decent but the chicken could've been juicier and the gizzards were lack luster. Thanks for reviewing the place though!

G_David
G_David

Not sure that person fully grasps the meaning of "obnoxious".

Torchness
Torchness

Thanks for the reply!  It's not "petty", I'd really just rather hear of different places to go out each week, as opposed to differing viewpoints on the same place.  Although it is true I'd trust the Observer more than, say, certain reviewers who really only seem to like places that charge $30/entree or more.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

What's wrong with getting two opinions?  People need to stop being so petty and silly.

J_A_
J_A_

 @scott.reitz The spicy fried chicken looked the same as your blog pic. It wasn't bad, but now I can't compare it to what you reviewed. It was damn cheap however. Dinner was $50 for 5 people.

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