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DeRushaEats: Are Restaurant Reviews Obsessed with the New?


Log onto most food blogs, pick up most regional magazines (actually, just pick up MnMo), and you'll find reviews of new restaurants. It's a rarity to read a review of a four-year-old place, or a two-year-old place, much less a ten-year-old restaurant. Is that a mistake?

I was thinking about this when I read Jim Meyer's critique of City Pages' Pick to Click issue. CP polls a bunch of musicheads and comes up with the top new musicians in town. But Jim complained: "If [Picks to Click] didn't exist, there would be no need to invent it because in these days of unprecedented local-music attention, the likely winners are already overexposed (and usually overrated) before the ink dries."

He adds: "New bands is all one hears about anymore. Another day, another holler. "

Isn't this also true of restaurants?

I cover suburban dining for Minnesota Monthly, and every month I go visit a new or newish restaurant to put in the magazine. The idea being that people want to know about new places. Do they also want to know about old places? Do you?

Right now Travail in Robbinsdale is all anyone is writing about (To be honest, I haven't been there yet. Neither has Zimmern—even he wrote about it this week!). Would you, dear eaters, be better served by reading a refreshed review of Victory 44? Corner Table? Chino Latino? Sea Change? The Strip Club? Heck, I wouldn't mind seeing a review of the Monte Carlo. Or Murray's.

Jim wrote that the obsession with new music actually lowers the bar by rewarding new, unpolished acts. "There has never been a better time to be a mediocre new local band. Consequently, they are innumerable," he said.

This may be the case with restaurants too.

I know our society is obsessed with the fresh, new thing (which is why I hope WCCO doesn't hire a fresh, new, balding white guy. I'm still the fresh, new thing in that category!). And maybe most readers already know about these older restaurants, so there's nothing worth writing about. But almost everyone agrees that restaurants take a couple months, at least, to get their footing. Would anyone read a "Best Old Restaurants" issue? Is there a more established suburban restaurant that you think people should know about? Sound off in the comments.

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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