If you want to give a chef indigestion, ask them about anonymous Internet reviewers.
They might not exactly like the critics they know, either, unless they’re standing right there. But those can be engaged – by phone, email, social media or face to face.
Chefs will tell you that if you fire back at “anonymice” they get what they want, proof of blood drawn. Instead of spending their spare time responding to faceless criticism, chefs usually grit their teeth and choose silence.
Not yesterday. Mike Andrzewski, Buffalo’s best-known chef, responded to a lengthy excoriation of the décor and service at his new restaurant, Mike A at the Lafayette, by telling his side of the story.
Read it here. (Scroll down toward the end of the comments.)
On July 6, Buffalo Rising noted that a Boston Globe travel writer loved dinner at Mike A’s. Steve Jermanok wrote: “Dinner was exceptional, probably the best meal I had since dining at the acclaimed Next in Chicago last summer. Mike Andrzejewski is one of the city’s best loved chefs and he finally has a high-end restaurant that matches his talent. One taste of his wagyu beef tartare, spiced with pine nuts, capers, watercress, red onions, olive oil, truffled dijon mustard, and egg yolk, and you realize this dude’s destined for a James Beard Award.”
I’d call that a rave. (The piece should run in the Globe in September, Jermanok says in comments.)
Not so fast, Anonymous000 posted below it on Aug. 7. In a 300-word review, the writer dismissed “cheap” décor, “amateur” service, and food that ranged from “unexpected” to “overcooked.” Furthermore, the waiter spilled a bottle of “mildly priced pinot noir” “all over me!!!”
“EPIC FAIL!” was the conclusion.
On Aug. 9, Andrzejewski wrote back, a 550-word reply that gets nasty in parts. He accused Anonymous000 of being a real jerk to his staff last weekend. The chef named a name, and where he works.
In fact, the chef wrote, the complainant actually tipped the bottle over himself. Then ran out on the check.
Whereupon he traveled several blocks to Andrzejewski’s other restaurant, SeaBar, and was a jerk there too, the chef wrote. Summoned, the chef arrived and told him and his party to leave.
The police caught up with him outside, Andrzejewski wrote, and the man ended up calling the restaurant with his credit card number to settle the bill.
“To end the saga, the other couple they were dining with, so mortified and embarrassed went back to the Lafayette and paid for the wine [the customer] stole, and explained to our management that they wanted no part of such behavior,” the chef wrote. “To them THANK YOU! That was a classy and dignified thing to do and earned a great deal of respect from our staff.”
taggedFood and Drink