Letter: ‘Restaurants know who the critic is’

From ED MURRIETA, food writer: Your recent post on newspapers moving away from star ratings for restaurant reviews got me thinking about an old issue I’ve long chewed upon: anonymity of restaurant critics.

My beef boils down to this: What other reporter in a respectable news organization would be allowed to work undercover, using fake names to make reservations, fake-name credit cards to pay the bills and generally not disclosing their journalistic intentions to the subjects of their reporting?

I understand the argument that an anonymous critic is less likely to be fawned over and receive better food and service than an openly recognized critic. But the obfuscations and gastronomic gamesmanship equal deceit, and that’s not journalistically sound or moral.

Besides, as every hostess and line cook will tell you: restaurants know who the critic is.

It’s time to end the charade.



  1. wubbly said:

    Uh, they can pay cash and remain anonymous.

  2. Dan said:

    Uh, it’s not exactly discreet to pay a $400 restaurant bill in cash. You know, you don’t *have* to comment on everything you see.