Ask the Critic: How Do You Choose Places to Review?

The process of choosing which restaurants to review is a perennial subject of inquiry.

How do you decided where to go? Does someone assign it to you?

Actually, I pick the places, although I'm always open to suggestions (especially since I spend so much time picking people's brains about where they've been lately). Over the years, I've gotten good recommendations from readers, coworkers, my editor/good friend/brainstorming whiz Amy Silverman, and total strangers who just love to chat about food.

It's tricky to cover the waterfront in such a large city, but my general approach is just to mix things up -- cheap hole-in-the-wall joints, fancy new spots that are getting buzz, different kinds of ethnic cuisines, and different neighborhoods.

My intuition and my appetite play equal parts in determining where to go next. Ultimately, I try to imagine what restaurants my friends would be interested in reading about -- not just my food-obsessed pals, who are up on cutting-edge cuisine and the local restaurant scene, but my friends who simply want to know which places are worth their time and money.

I like to ask people, "Been anywhere good lately? Or been anywhere really bad?" That always gets interesting responses.

Got a question -- or a suggestion -- for me? Email me at michele dot laudig at newtimes dot com.


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