The Roswell Beacon is the local, free weekly circular that shows up in my mailbox every Friday. It's not a stellar paper, but it does cover community events fairly reliably. However, I have decided that I hate their restaurant reviewers, Tim Altork and John Breech. They just don't strike me as knowing much about food. Their reviews come across as being more interested in being cutesy with each other than with educating or even just plain reviewing.
First sin? Their pictures appear in the paper, next to their column. They don't stay anonymous. Now granted, the Roswell/Alpharetta dining scene isn't so competitive that I think every resturant owner in the area is tracking their movements, but I find it difficult to trust that a professional review was fairly done if there's a chance they were marked.
Second offense? They review after only one visit, not multiple over time. I know I post about restaurants here after one visit, but I'm not a professional food writer. I don't have an expense account.
The worst offense? They just don't know food. Take today's review of Aqua Blue, one of Roswell's best restaurants. First, they confess to not knowing what of restaurant it is, a terrible lack of research on their part. Altork thinks he's going to some sort of seedy, seafood shack. After ordering, neither of the two reviewers has ever had sushi before, but thinks it was pretty good. Really? Because Aqua Blue is famous for their sushi. It's either the first or second (depending on who you talk to) in Roswell. And they have no idea. Admittedly, I'm spoiled by the great reviews John Kessler used to write in the AJC, and he as extensive background in Japanese cuisine, but how do you get to be a professional reviewer without trying sushi? Breech tops it off by being confused by the dessert wine he orders, comparing it to drinking pancake syrup.
This is an embarrassing review. I'd expect this from college, or perhaps high school newspaper. Not a professional publication.
I really hate it when I can do better than someone who gets paid money.