Thursday, May 17, 2007

YES WAY, JOSE!

I hate when this happens, but it's inevitable. Our critic Nate Glen pans San Jose Family Restaurant, one of my favorite restaurants in Friday's paper.

A few years ago, our former critic Tom Karpel trashed Paravicini's, the best Italian place in town.

What's an editor to do?

If I fired critics with whom I disagree, I'd got through them every week.

And the fact is, I still respect Nate, and my opinion of him as a critic hasn't diminished in the least.

Part of the problem here is that taste is subjective, and Mexican food can bring people to major feuds.

But the other thing is that I don't order the same as he does. I'm a bit lactose intolerant, so I avoid dishes smothered in cheese -- and I'm convinced that cheese is the main offending ingredient at San Jose. Tom Karpel had the same problem with sister restaurant Las Palmitas, which I love.

I went for the Mexican-style scampi and the Mexican seafood stews. They're wonderful.

And we all agree the service is good.

Tell us what you think? Is San Jose, as I believe, one of the best Mexican places in town, or is it, as our critic believes, one of the worst?

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

warren,
here is the problem. you can't write a bad review after one visit, it isn't fair. I have a non perfect experience before at Plate, and I still believe it to be the best in town. These places are still operated by human beings and even the real good ones aren't perfect. Maybe the reviewing process needs adjusting.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Rose Ann Hausman said...

Warren,
I have never been a fan of Jose's as I was previosly a resident of Pueblo, and it by far has so many good Mexican resturants that Springs pales in comparison. One restruant in particular comes to mind. That is Jorges on the Central part of Pueblo. I would like to see a segment of the paper devoted to Pueblo's fine cusine. Bellisimo's on the North Side of Pueblo is a wonderfully delicious Italian resturant. Hope my idea comes to pass.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Rose Ann Hausman said...

Warren,
I have never been a fan of Jose's as I was previosly a resident of Pueblo, and it by far has so many good Mexican resturants that Springs pales in comparison. One restruant in particular comes to mind. That is Jorges on the Central part of Pueblo. I would like to see a segment of the paper devoted to Pueblo's fine cusine. Bellisimo's on the North Side of Pueblo is a wonderfully delicious Italian resturant. Hope my idea comes to pass.

7:16 AM  
Blogger springsgal said...

Warren,
My husband and I love San Jose's.
We've eaten there many times. So have several of our friends. Now, Mr. Glen has trashed the place. As my mother (the retired english teacher) would say, "Them's fightin' words!!"

2:05 PM  
Blogger Warren Epstein said...

To Anonymous,
Nate did go twice.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Stephanie Cardwell said...

It is not up to the Gazette to destroy a restaurant's business, and that is exactly what you have done with the review of Jose's. This does not serve the best interest of your readership nor of the restaurant industry.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Warren Epstein said...

Stephanie,
I don't believe we have the power to make or break a restaurant. Positive reviews will, no doubt, boost business for a few weeks, but it's up to the restaurant staff to provide food and service worthy of second and third visits.
Negative reviews, I believe, have less of an effect. Fans of the restaurant won't STOP going just because they read a negative review. It may keep some new business from going their way, but San Jose wasn't getting much new business, anyway, from what we saw.
A lot of people think of reviews like my mother looked at advice. If you don't have something positive to say, say nothing at all.
The problem with that (sorry Mom) is that then you end up with a PR sheet, not a real newspaper. How can a critic have credibility when he or she loves everything?
We have to be fair and honest and write about every place we visit for review.
Incidentally, don't know if you saw it, but The Independent recently announced it would be running both negative and positive reviews on its dining pages. (Apparently, a new stance.)

9:51 AM  
Blogger springsgal said...

Warren,
Had dinner at San Jose's last night, with friends. We've eaten here many times. Excellent food, (yummy chicken enchiladas a la crema), great margarita. Best service in town. The place wasn't packed, but there were 7 other tables full when we left.
I certainly agree about being fair and honest in a review, but Nate Glen was not fair.

6:31 AM  
Blogger Warren Epstein said...

springsgal,
How was he not fair? He went twice, sampling almost a dozen dishes. He wrote about the few things he liked.
I happen to disagree with him, but I don't think he was unfair.

8:03 AM  
Blogger springsgal said...

Warren,
Being honest about something, in this case, the food, is one thing.
Okay, so he was honest. But fair?
I don't see anything fair in the tone of the review.
I also e-mailed Mr. Glen a few days ago, and forwarded it to you.
Happy Friday!
Lee Ann

4:13 PM  

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