Dish­ing it out

Pasatiempo - - Restaurant Review -

Oc­ca­sion­ally, Pasatiempo likes to ex­am­ine its res­tau­rant re­view pol­icy and re­viewer guide­lines and share that in­for­ma­tion with our read­ers. It’s a help­ful ex­er­cise for both writ­ers and re­view­ers to get reac­quainted with the meth­ods and rea­son­ing be­hind our crit­i­cal ap­proach and res­tau­rant-rat­ing sys­tem. As Santa Fe moves into a busy tourist sea­son, we think it’s im­por­tant to as­sure vis­i­tors and read­ers alike that we take the re­view of restau­rants very se­ri­ously. We are not in the busi­ness of putting eater­ies out of busi­ness — but our crit­ics aren’t in the busi­ness of res­tau­rant pro­mo­tion, ei­ther. Most im­por­tant, Pasatiempo holds it­self ac­count­able for de­liv­er­ing a clear snap­shot of a par­tic­u­lar res­tau­rant’s graces and flaws each week.

Re­gard­less of whether a res­tau­rant is a down­town white-linen pur­veyor of haute cui­sine or a car­ni­tas cart off the beaten path, the same rat­ing sys­tem ap­plies. The con­tent of a re­view is spe­cific to each es­tab­lish­ment rather than for­mu­laic; what­ever stands out most about each visit helps dic­tate the form and tone of the writ­ing.

Each res­tau­rant is vis­ited a min­i­mum of two times by a re­viewer and at least one guest at Pasatiempo’s ex­pense, and the re­viewer must not iden­tify him­self/her­self as a res­tau­rant critic at any time. If a re­viewer is dis­cov­ered, the meal is cut short, the writer is re­im­bursed for the food and bev­er­ages con­sumed (in­clud­ing tax and tip), and the re­view is re­as­signed. Our re­view­ers do not ac­cept “comped,” or free, food and/or drink. If a two-visit res­tau­rant ex­pe­ri­ence is dis­ap­point­ing, a dif­fer­ent ed­i­to­rial staff mem­ber vis­its the res­tau­rant a third time to en­sure that a poor rat­ing is ab­so­lutely jus­ti­fied.

We un­der­stand that a hot-dog stand shouldn’t re­ceive a lower food-qual­ity rat­ing be­cause it’s a hot-dog stand. Its rat­ing is de­ter­mined by weigh­ing it against hot-dog stands that have come be­fore it — and of course, with a cer­tain de­gree of sub­jec­tiv­ity from the re­viewer, who knows that a great $3 hot dog de­serves just as much at­ten­tion and praise as a per­fectly cooked $30 prime rib-eye steak.

Our chile-rat­ing sys­tem rep­re­sents an over­all tally of an es­tab­lish­ment’s food, ser­vice, at­mos­phere, and value, with four chiles be­ing the best pos­si­ble rat­ing, and an onion — or mul­ti­ple onions — sig­ni­fy­ing an ab­so­lute bomb. (In the past 6½ years, there has only been one four-chile rat­ing and one to­tal stinker.)

Guns N’ Rosé Many New Mex­i­cans know — but vis­i­tors may not be aware — that on July 1, a new state law went into ef­fect per­mit­ting sober non-drink­ing pa­trons with a valid con­ceal-and-carry hand­gun li­cense to pack heat — loaded or un­loaded — at es­tab­lish­ments that serve beer and wine (no hard stuff) and that de­rive at least 60 per­cent of an­nual gross re­ceipts from the sale of food con­sumed on the premises. How­ever, res­tau­rant own­ers have the op­tion to for­bid guns by post­ing con­spic­u­ous sig­nage stat­ing that firearms are not al­lowed in­side their es­tab­lish­ments, and they may also ver­bally in­form pa­trons that guns are banned — with the ex­cep­tion of cer­ti­fied law-en­force­ment of­fi­cers fol­low­ing depart­ment pol­icy and busi­ness own­ers, lessees, and ten­ants pro­tected by law (like li­censed and bonded se­cu­rity per­son­nel).

So — when ap­pli­ca­ble, Pasatiempo will in­sert a small icon within the “De­tails” sec­tion let­ting read­ers know whether or not an es­tab­lish­ment that serves beer and wine is gun-friendly. Lock and lunch.

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