In the short time I have lived in New Orleans (I just moved from Manhattan last month) the one thing I have learned is that a Times-Picayune review is not an adequate measure of a restaurant. Actually, I have yet to read anything other than glowing reviews from the paper. To say their bean rating system is trustworthy would be kind at best. The Gambit, on the other hand, seems at least appropriatly critical, but their archive seems to only go back to 2001, so a lot of thier reviews of not so new places seem to ahve been lost until their next yearly summary comes out.
I will admit to having gone to only a few great restaurants in town as of yet (Drago, Stella!, Ruth's Chris, Peristyle, Uglesich's, Casemento's, R&O's, Parasol's, and Brocato's), and few not-so-great (Bayona and Melvin's in Houma [I know, Houma? what was I thinking!]) thus far, based largely on freind's and co-workers's reccomendations.
This is a wonderful town for restaurants. I have not found it to be a wonderful town for restaurant criticism, as of yet. To me, a scathing Willima Grimes rip of a place in the NY Times is far more useful than just another glowing review from the Times-Picayune. I read the reviews not just to see what has opened of late, but what is new and worth my time and money. However, while the New York Times reviews were useful, my tastes were usually better matched with New York Magazine's reviewer. Thus I am hoping the Gambit is not the ONLY source of reliable info, since my palate and that of their reviewer may not be similar. Are there other sources of info I have not yet discovered?
Anyway, sorry for the rant, but this has quickly become a raw nerve of mine, and I suddenly felt the need to vent. If anyone does have a useful source of reasonable, fair, yet openly critical reviews, I would very much like to read them (other, obviously than Chowhound!)