In his online chat today, Tom Sietsema fielded several questions from readers asking about his decision to check out Rogue 24 on its second night of service. In the process, the Washington Post critic made some revealing points about the world of reviewing:
In defense of critic previews: "R.J. Cooper has been working on this idea forever, everyone's talking up the place ... I thought it was fair game."
At least he wasn't made ahead of time — or so he thinks: "A reliable source overheard R.J. Cooper telling friends in advance of opening day that I had been trying to get in, unsuccessfully, and that any visit by the Post wouldn't be for at least a month because his new restaurant was booked. Plus, he added, his reservations maven had all my aliases and numbers."
Why anonymity doesn't always matter: "Funny, I was made last night, at a restaurant that I usually write about in a favorable light, and the service was pretty ... dismal. I got the wrong menu, twice. My first cocktail was straight out of spring break (too sweet). And the hovering! I hope the restaurant is also prepared to serve to every guest the outsized cheese plate I received. I mean, it could have fed a party."