Steve Plotnicki may be the “king of the food bloggers,” as British critic Jay Rayner calls him, but that doesn’t mean they all love him. Plotnicki’s new Zagat-challenging survey has roused the ire of some of his fellow bloggers, but their censure is less than valid. Julia Thiel of the Chicago Reader zotzs Plotnicki for being too chummy with chefs. So what? The OAD guide isn’t Plotnicki’s picks; they’re drawn from his surveyors. Michael Nagrant, Serious Eats’ man in Chicago, goes even further, saying that Plotnicki is “a shill” and that, while his surveyors write the reviews, “when Plotnicki controls the tabulation of the results, you just can’t trust them.” Why not? Every chef knows what Tim Zagat looks like, but pleasing him doesn’t do anything for their Zagat ratings, which are based on the experience of Ho-Ho-Kus housewives. The kind of anonymity these bloggers claim to praise may or may not help actual critics; the publisher of a survey is free to schmooze as much as he wants.
Early Returns on New Dining Survey Not So Favorable [Serious Eats]
Earlier: Steve Plotnicki: Watch Out, Zagats!