Actually this was very well covered in February by "Advice for Aspiring Food Critic?".That was really a classic that deserves a place in the Hot Threads Archives when the time comes. It should also be printed out and mailed to quite a few pro critics.
However, searching through the boards, I didn't see my number one gripe, SALT!!!!
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT WRITE THAT A DISH NEEDS MORE SALT !!!
Salt can be added, but not removed. This encourages chefs to oversalt.
High quality ingrediants don't need much, if any, salt. Fresh flavors should be enjoyed for their own merit without being overpowered from too much salt. There was a time when I couldn't enjoy a tomato or ear of corn without the Morton's. For health reasons, I started cutting back on the salt, began buying top quality produce and now think salt detracts from the taste.
I'm guessing that because critics eat out so often and restaurants tend to oversalt, the palate gets numbed to the saltiness of a dish.
BTW, why did upscale restaurants remove salt shakers? Everyone has their own taste for salt
I was glad to see the aspiring critic chat covered my second gripe. However, I'm not over it and need to vent.
No more than 20% of the review about the the decor, chef, etc..It's supposed to be about the food.
If you read through Chowhound, there's not extensive talk about the decor. The reasons we go to the restaurant is for the food. When 50% or more of the review is about the decor, I know this is a one-year wonder. A restaurnant that opens with a lot of flash and will probably be gone a year from now when diners start voting with their wallets. One of the last reviews of a local critic who retired (and needed to) had one paragraph at the end about the food.
Another critic started reviewing the patrons.
"Unfortunately, some restaurant patrons look as if they came from a $50-a-night hotel, While some look as elegant as the surroundings, others seem content to wear wrinkled Dockers." wrote the unnamed critic.
I began to wonder if I should start evaluating if I was restaurant worthy.