Upon Further Review

I read anything I can that has to do with the local restaurant scene including the almost-weekly reviews in the Times Union.

I’ve had no issues with the latest reviews by the newest TU reviewer, until yesterday. Until then, I had assumed that she was well qualified to publicly assess the area’s dining establishments, but after some missteps in the review of Three Vines Bistro here in Saratoga I’m skeptical.

Now, I have no ax to grind with this restaurant, and based on the what I’ve heard, they do a fairly nice job. Since I’ve not been to Three Vines, and I cannot and will not be able to comment directly on their food or service.

There were several clear technical errors by the reviewer that were glaring, at least to me. I cannot point them all out as I wish without calling the restaurant out on some obvious (to me) issues. It is policy on this blog, and for me in general not to discuss shortcomings of specific restaurants and chefs. We all have flaws, and I would rather focus on my own.

One error I can mention is when talking about the fish special, baked haddock oreganata, the reviewer made reference to juicy diced bruschetta. Am I to assume there was wet toast on the fish? Bruschetta refers to grilled or toasted bread. It comes from the Italian verb bruscare, meaning to to char over hot coals. It is sometimes topped with tomatoes and basil but can be topped with anything. Again, it refers to the toast, or the little burnt ones as the etta (suffix for small or little) creates. I don’t expect a reviewer in Albany, NY to know the origin of the word, but I do expect her to know the meaning. This state of being misinformed leads to dishes called Tuscan Chicken Bruschetta at Olive Garden.

Perhaps I can chalk up this week’s inaccuracies to a bad week.  We all have off days and we’re not up to our usual level of performance. I do however feel like the public and published criticism of restaurants is important, and needs to be done by a sharp-eyed professional. I will withhold final judgement of this reviewer until a clear pattern is established.

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