This week, Matthew Odam, the Austin American-Statesman food critic—who also writes about film and culture—reviewed Hanabi, an apparently very middling strip-mall Japanese spot on Anderson Lane and wrote 1,605 words about going on a $250 juice cleanse. Might readers have found another review of, say, Winflo Osteria or a re-review of Uchiko, more useful?
Particularly when the alternatives for those seeking thorough, classic restaurant criticism in town are somewhat limited.
Virginia B. Wood at the Austin Chronicle reviews take-out and relies heavily on short, cheerleadery pieces from freelancers who sometimes make just one visit to a restaurant. Over at Fed Man Walking, Matthew Odam's predecessor at the Statesman, Mike Sutter, occasionally carries on the capital-C-critic torch, but his site bills itself as a "guide" and is filled out with fleshy listicles and blurbs masquerading as reviews. Then there's the very non-anonymous Pat Sharpe over at Texas Monthly, who covers the culinary scene across the state and can't focus solely on Austin.
If food critics are an endangered species, would Eater readers like to see Austin become a safe haven for them?
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Hanabi. [Photo: Chee S./Yelp]