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Omnivore - Shock! Another dining critic is outed

Restaurant posts picture of LA Times critic

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The controversy over anonymity and dining critics has erupted again — this time when the Los Angeles Time's critic, S. Irene Virbila, was recognized, photographed and booted out of Red Medicine, a new Vietnamese-inspired restaurant in Beverly Hills. The photograph was subsequently posted on the restaurant's Tumblr page. Now it's all over the Internet.

Eater NY has the story, replete with the picture and restaurateur Noah Ellis' explanation, which says in part:

Our purpose for posting this is so that all restaurants can have a picture of her and make a decision as to whether or not they would like to serve her. We find that some her reviews can be unnecessarily cruel and irrational, and that they have caused hard-working people in this industry to lose their jobs — we don't feel that they should be blind-sided by someone with no understanding of what it takes to run or work in a restaurant.

So far, I haven't found a quote from the restaurant's chef, Jordan Kahn, the precocious native of Savannah who attended Johnson & Wales at 16 and went on to work at The French Laundry at 17. I wonder how he feels about not being reviewed by Virbila or if Ellis consulted with him before kicking the longtime critic out the door.


The Times has published an article
about the incident. It's a comprehensive story with lots of commentary:

That whole scene, said San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer, sounds "very stupid. I think it's very short-sighted. If it was a good restaurant, they wouldn't be afraid."