Monday, November 12, 2007

Shot at the Bear!

Nathaniel Glen's review of the Black Bear Restaurant in Green Mountain Falls read like it was written by Victor Matthews, not a legitimate critic. I find it shocking that Glen would give four and a half stars to ANY restaurant that has the deficiencies of the Black Bear. Sure, some of the food is good. Some of it is even, on occasion, as good as Matthews thinks it is. However, it can be dreadful: two examples from the last time I ate there were a soup so salty it couldn't be eaten, and a chocolate mousse that tasted like canned chocolate frosting.

The servers are poorly trained, pushy, and not very responsive. I realize it's hard to find trained servers willing to work in Green Mountain Falls, but this important failure should impact the rating. And no wine list? When the help is untrained? Good grief!

Perhaps Glen has low standards, but I rely on the Gazette to tell me what to expect, especially if I'm going to drive a good distance and pay top prices. His readers should have been told that the bathrooms are filthy; that a decor he calls quirky includes dining chairs that are so uncomfortable they're a constant distraction; that dining patrons will be entertained by loud (and sometimes profane) bar noises; that a fat bartender in a dirty shirt often walks through the dining room to the kitchen; and, that they should examine their cutlery and glasses before eating or drinking. (Surely the bar patron I encountered vomiting in the dirty bathroom sink was a one-time thing.)

If Glen's review had been more honest, had he tempered his breathless praise with the sharp eye of the critic he wants to be, he would have accomplished several things. Most importantly, Victor Matthews might have taken steps to improve his restaurant. First-time customers would be better informed and less likely to lose faith in Gazette reviews. And I wouldn't have been awakened this morning by the sound of Ute Pass residents snorting coffee out of their noses when they read his fantasy review of the Black Bear.

Your thoughts?

Kelley Sanderson


Blogger Warren Epstein said...

Ms. Sanderson,
It sounds like you had some awful (bordering on tragic) experiences at Black Bear.
I've been there several times and have never experienced those kind of issues. But we have heard stories.
I'll agree the place is rustic bordering on a dump. But, hey, you want Colorado mountain experience? This is it.
I'm Nate's editor, not his apologist, though. I'll let him respond more about his review.
But I will tell you that we've had a lot of discussion about what those ratings mean. To me, awarding four or five stars isn't about going through a check-list. It's entirely emotional. It's that feeling that you can't WAIT to tell your friends about it. That's why Nosh got our first five-star rating.

9:11 AM  

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