The pot boiled over with Richler's unfair thrashing of 93 Harbord in the Saturday National Post of April 03. Consequently I propose that Chowhounds who have frequented a restaurant that has been reviewed in the media post in a thread their opinion of the review and the restaurant. Lets start with 93 Harbord. The subject line will be "93 Harbord Richler Critic Watch". I will start the thread in the succeeding post and will comment on 93 Harbord and the Richler review in a few days when I have time.
Witty caustic critique is a literary form, but the critic better be good at it, and right. The target must be worthy of the attention if the piece is to be interesting , meaningful and fair.
Richler's review fails on all counts. Most importanttly for Chowhounds, Richler has misunderstood the substance of 93 Harbord and its cooking. What incenses is his continued public pummelling of the those who cannot fight back: realtively unknown restaurants who have no advocates with access to to the media, restaurant staff and even his readers who write in to disagree. Richler's review cries out for a public response, but except for Chowhound, there is no forum.
Of course the need for a forum which would empower review readers and the subject restaurants has existed long before this particular review.
The need is for a forum is not just to let people vent. He who controls the medium controls the message. The message in Toronto has often been dysfunctional. The media restauarnt reviewers have often promulgated cockamamie values and have supported the wrong restaurants. Many worthwhile establishments do not get the favourable - or any- attention that they deserve and fail to everyone's detriment.
If you disagree (or even agree!) with a review or oppose the power and immunity of the critics, join the consumer revolt: start or join a Critic Watch thread.
A special invitation is sent to David Chrystian, whom Richler has derided continuously. Please tell us your side of the story.