Chef Payton Curry of Brat Haus and Taco Haus isn't playing nicely. The chef, clearly unhappy about a recent review of his restaurant Taco Haus written by local food writer Gwen Ashley Walters, outed the undercover restaurant reviewer on Twitter on Monday.
Walters, who writes reviews for Phoenix Magazine and publishes her own food blog, Pen and Fork, regularly goes out of her way to hide her identity in order to maintain her ability to review restaurants anonymously. It seems Curry has little regard for her efforts.
To put things in perspective, consider that in the past Walters has gone so far as to wear elaborate costumes and makeup to disguise herself in public. That makes Curry's move not only a petty one, but also one that threatens Waters ability to do her job as a restaurant critic.
In the review -- which runs on page 139 in the May issue of Phoenix Magazine (currently available only to subscribers) -- Walters writes that, "Taco Haus has a certain appeal despite lackluster tacos" and goes on to advise diners, "to get the most out of Taco Haus, grab some friends and dive into the small plates, margaritas, and cervezas . . ."
For Walters, the tortillas were dry, the salsa lacked flavor and there wasn't much consistency among dishes from visit to visit. The rotisserie chicken "lacked even the moistness of most grocery store birds."
Ouch. That's quite a pan, coming from the typically sunny Phoenix Magazine. But cause for revenge? Walters did rave about the décor. And she liked the chips. Perhaps Curry should look inside his kitchen for a solution to his problems.
Walters, whose parents were both journalists, also is a professionally trained chef and cookbook author.
This is not the first time Curry's Taco Haus has been associated with a social media temper tantrum. Just two months ago, a photo was posted from the Taco Haus Facebook page that attacked a customer for not leaving a tip. The photo also showed some of the diner's credit card information.
Considering the review's fair but critical tone, what do you think about Curry's reaction?