Locally renowned “Dissident Chef” Russell Jackson, whose two-month-old Embarcadero eatery Lafitte recently got a bit of a Bauer bad-mouthing, has taken to Twitter with his beef with the influential critic. In a tweet from Sunday Jackson writes, “MB, FU for capping a young team of hard workn cooks that respect their chef and want to be a team.”
Later, in his first e-newsletter, Jackson writes that “[Bauer’s] biased and unbalanced review” was “a direct attack on who I am, my personal style and the innovative approach we have taken on creating Lafitte’s mandate,” and he asks Bauer and others to “come see how much we have grown.”
We understand Russell’s defensiveness, had a solid meal at Lafitte ourselves, and we’d say Bauer’s review did sound more negative, and less balanced, than most of his reviews — however the sour mood of it echoed recent slams to Farmstead and Dry Creek Kitchen. The man gets angry after a bad meal.
But it’s probably classier for Jackson to show the confidence and restraint not to take to the twit-waves with his gripes. A bad review is a bad review, and sometimes the advice of a man who eats out for a living should be taken in stride. The daily changing “menu of logic,” which is the mandate Jackson’s talking about, isn’t such an innovation — it’s just that most chefs who’ve worked with such constant change will recycle successful dishes and ideas as needed, so as not to always be in improvisation mode. Throwing out a successful dish in favor of constant risk may not be the best route to consistently pleasing the customer, and that was Bauer’s message, as we read it.
And cheer up, Russell, the Yelpers seem to like you, and you’ve still got Kauffman to please.