Professional, unbiased reviews of all kosher restaurants located in the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Friday, November 04, 2005


Apologies for the failure to post. It's been a busy time and we just havent had a chance. However, please keep an eye out for the next review, which will likely be on the Knish Shoppe.

Someone emailed me today and posed two interesting questions. Yankel [name changed] asks: "I believe 921 outside Baltimore has been closed for more than a few months now. Business dispute, apparently. Oh, and the idea that you'd accept free Kosher meals from restaurants in exchange for reviews? Unethical, no?"

I'd like to quickly answer his questions and perhaps this applies to anyone else who might have similar queries. As to the most unfortunate closure of Cafe 921, yes, technically it was a business dispute. The scuttlebutt around town is that the 2 owners of 921 and brasserie were involved in a lawsuit and split the ownership of both stores, and the person who became owner of 921 closed it down because it was too costly to maintain it while fighting the legal battle. Dont quote me on this asnwer, but I was told this story by a former employee of Cafe 921 so I think it has some credibility.

In response to Yankel's second question, I feel it is not unethical to accept a free review. It would be unethical if we were to give them better reviews as a result of their free offer. Here, the free meal will not have any effect on our review. We would, however, note on the website that the business gave us a free meal so that all readers are informed appropriately and could perhaps, take the review with a grain of salt if they so chose. We aren't rich, so eating out at every eatery in Baltimore is not really something that we can do so easily, so accepting a meal in return for a review is fair as long as the business acknowledges that this does not change any facet of our objectivity. Besides, nobody has offered any free meals anyways, so its not likely to affect our reviews anyways!

Shabbat Shalom!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess you don't understand that ethics involves being above the _appearance_ of improriety, too, do you?

More to the point, accepting a free meal skews you towards the restaraunt immediately. No one's accusing that you'd just give them a great review just for the free food - the concern is that it would subconciously impair your objectivity, and make you _more disposed_ to writing a favorable review.

Pay for your meals, or lose your credibility. It's really that simple. It's not like spending ten bucks at the Fred's Knish Shop is going to bankrupt any of you. At worst, consider at least mentioning during the review that you received the meal for free, so we know to ignore the rest of it.

You might also consider establishing some firm guidelines on your conduct of reviews.

The truth will come out somehow. Better to be kasher v'yashar about it all.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is there another number for the red heifer? is it closed?

2:18 PM  
Blogger The Critics said...

As to Anonymous 5:38's thoughtful comment, I agree on the "appearance" aspect, but if we make it clear whether it was free or not, then there should be no problem regarding the "appearance" of impropriety. As you can see, we are not afraid to criticize, as long as it's the truth. There is no deceit here, we are clear on what has transpired and what could be improved.

I'm curious as to what you mean by "establishing some firm guidelines on [our] conduct of reviews"? Perhaps you might be willing to give some examples or guidance/introspective on that? Regardless, if we get a free meal, you --the readers-- will be the first to know. We havent been offered one, so perhaps this whole issue is moot until then. :)

As to Anonymous 2:18, I dont think there is one. The Red Heifer is officially closed. Sorry! You'll just have to buy some steak from 7 Mile and grill some on your George Foreman!

9:37 AM  

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