The Craig LaBan/libel suit/critic-unmasked-OMG! story has officially gone regional, folks. New York magazine’s Grub Street blog chimed in… by dissing Craig LaBan:
What makes the story especially satisfying, aside from the usual unmistakable air of Philadephia conflict, a city specialty akin to fame in L.A. or status in New York, is the comeuppance it provides LaBan, the worst of all American critics at preening his ridiculous disguises and costumes. We always found the idea of restaurant critics going out in disguise ludicrous, especially the famous ones, like Ruth Reichl or LaBan, whom everybody knew anyway.
However, the problem is that we personally like LaBan. The goofy costumes and willingness to play his persona for laughs point to a levity that’s all too uncommon among newspaper food critics. Although there are exceptions, such as the Village Voice’s Robert Sietsema and the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s L.E. Leone, it’s just too damn rare on the whole. In a culinary journalism world filled with automatons who obsess over buzzwords like “locovore” and “artisinal”, LaBan’s approach is a breath of fresh air.
Philadelphia’s Chief Critic Unmasked; Area Restaurants Say, ‘Who Cares?’ [Grub Street/NY Mag]
[Photo via Philadelphia Magazine]