The Other Critics

The Girl, The Goat, and the Critic

A tragic story of unrequited criticism.
A tragic story of unrequited criticism. Photo: Huge Galdones/

Welcome to the internet age everyone. We just stumbled over Stephanie Izard’s reaction to getting a very positive three-star review of The Girl & the Girl from Phil Vettel at the Chicago Tribune. It’s all fine until we realized, “Hey, Vettel’s reviews don’t come out until Thursday!” Sure enough, the article is available now, if still dated for tomorrow. Thus we read the chef’s review of the review before we ever read the critic’s review of the restaurant, which is a very odd thing to do. But what have we learned? Well, Vettel calls her “America’s sweet tart” and talks about how how she has “fanaticism for balance.” Izard found that so touching that she now feels “like he’s my dad.” Later she explains: “I just wanna sit down and chat with the guy!” Sadly, due to that whole anonymous critic thing, the two will probably never get to. That’s when we said, “My god, this sounds like a great movie script.”

Here’s the pitch: Father figure critic gets to know the hot shot restaurateur by meticulously eating his way through her menu. He then is able to pass on sagely wisdom to her through his tough, no-nonsense newspaper column. Both learn things about themselves, and yet tragically can never meet in person. Perhaps we could also make the two closer in age so they could be romantically linked. Studios can call me if they want the script.


Phil Vettel certainly gives a lot of praise in his three star review. He claims that Izard balances “the savory, sweet and tart flavors” in “every single dish.” The Parmesan-laced shishito peppers are “a delight,” the “still-crunchy cauliflower bits with pickled pepper are a revelation,” and the sautéed green beans with fish-sauce vinaigrette “will change your life.”

But it’s the sashimi-style hiramasa that gets him in the end. The “crisp pork belly” balances the “pristine, clean flavors of the fish,” and shows Izard “at her flavor-layering best.”

Stephanie Izard: America’s sweet tart [Chicago Tribune]
Phil Vettel Reviews the Goat [Stephanie Izard]

The Girl, The Goat, and the Critic