Jonathan Gold: Red Medicine panicked, looks 'second-rate'

Gold, the LA Weekly's lead food critic, makes a good case in Thursday's paper for the benefits of restaurant reviewer anonymity. And he suspects that the dude at Red Medicine knows it was dumb to turn away L.A. Times reviewer S. Irene Virbila and compound his error by posting her picture on the web. Gold:

I can even understand, almost, why they felt obligated to do what they did: They had kept Virbila waiting, they were slammed, she had been pretty brutal to chef Jordan Kahn's desserts when he was the pastry chef at Michael Mina's XIV, and they sensed disaster. It was a panicked move, and I suspect they knew it was dumb even as they were doing it. They did no real harm to Virbila — if anything, they lent her pluckiness — but they made themselves look second-rate.

Gold says, by the way, that the now-everywhere picture of him hoisting a drink with wife Laurie Ochoa after winning the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2007 was his own inadvertent outing: "a well-meaning photo assistant posted a picture of my Pulitzer celebration in the Weekly's old offices, and by the time anybody realized what had happened, the snapshot of me drenched in Champagne was all over the country."

Added: Food editor Russ Parsons explains how LAT reviews work and says nothing will change.

Previously on LA Observed:
Virbila gets in a little dig
Thursday late notes

Beverly Hills restaurateur outs LAT's Irene Virbila *

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