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A Critic’s Favorite Restaurant

Written By Scott Joseph On September 18, 2013

Probably the question that I’m asked the most — right after how come you’re not fat? — is what’s your favorite restaurant?

I can answer the fat one a lot more easily than that one.

The reason is that, by definition, a favorite restaurant is one that you visit often. As a restaurant critic, I don’t have the luxury of revisiting restaurants that I’ve liked very often. Or the energy to do it.

Former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni addressed the issue in an article in today’s Dining section, and his observations are my own. When you’re a professional reviewer, you always have to be moving on to the next new place. And if it isn’t new, you’ll probably be looking at a rebranded restaurant, or going to check the food of a newly hired chef, or reviewing a rejiggered menu. 

And what about nights off? I’d prefer to stay in, thank you. Just as a bus driver doesn’t look forward to a vacation that involves getting behind a wheel or a postal delivery person saying “no thanks” to an invitation for a long walk, I’d rather spend my free time not ingesting calories (which goes to answering that first question) or staying in and doing the cooking myself, as part of an evening of entertaining, whether it’s a group or just myself.

But if someone says, “Let’s go out and grab a bite to eat,” I’ll be thinking of combining that social meeting with a professional visit. Why wouldn’t I?

So favorite restaurant? Can’t really answer that. Perhaps one day when I, like Bruni, hang up my critic’s cloak. I don’t see that happening anytime soon, thank you again.

I know that many of you are just as enterprising when it comes to seeking out new restaurants. But do you allow yourselves the luxury of having a favorite?

Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.

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