Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Athens Restaurant Reviews

Reviews of local restaurants have been appearing in the Athens paper about once a week for the last couple of months. By and large I think this is a good thing. Athens has a lot of privately owned restaurants, and many of them are quite good if not excellent.

I have two primary beefs with these reviews. First, I hardly see that his twelve years of experience waiting tables qualifies him to critique restaurants. I waited tables many years ago as a way to make ends meet while I was in school. The "professional" waiters were generally those that drank too much to finish school and/or get a real job. I realize that things have changed a bit since then. Even so, I'd find these reviews to be more credible if they were maybe from a line cook rather than a waiter. The ability to recite specials and carry food from the kitchen to the table hardly qualifies one to be a food critic.

The second beef I have is that he currently waits tables at 5 & 10--Athens most pretentious restaurant. We've gone a couple of times for special occasions and have always left disappointed and hungry. I see all the time where the chef at 5 & 10 has won this award or that award for his culinary skills. He must reserve those skills for competitions because they certainly are not apparent with any of the meals we've been served at his establishment.

We've also never been pleased with anything we've eaten at Momma's Boy. For some reason, the food snobs around Athens rave about this place which I believe, has ties to 5 & 10. I just don't see it.

We really like Knuckleheads which unfortunately, didn't last very long. The good news is that the site is now home to Jot'em Downs which has the best pork ribs I have ever eaten. This is an expansion from the tiny place they had on Whitehall Road, so I'm optimistic that they will last a bit longer than Knuckleheads did.

I like Harry Bisset's on the West End, too. The contemporary atmosphere and easy parking are big pluses. It's also nice that I don't have to fight my way through a crowded bar chocked full of aging drunk frat boys. Together those factors make it a much more attractive option to me than the downtown location.

When company comes to town and we want to impress them with Athens, we always go to The Last Resort. I've heard the food snobs complain about the menu being outdated and tired. Perhaps. But I prefer to think this is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" in action. I've never been disappointed with anything I've ordered.

There are lots of other decent places in town to grab a bite to eat. Maybe I'll write about some of them on down the road. After all, I did wait tables for nearly 12 years. Guess that makes me a food critic as well as....

The Crotchety Old Man

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