Once upon a time and all of the time, I wanted to be (amongst everything, ever) a food critic. The problem with this precious art form for me is that much like journalism, it is too dependent on objective points of views rather than subjective.
That does seem to sound like a contradiction considering the whole purpose of a restaurant critic is to state their professional opinion in regards to the three main components of a dining establishment: the food, the ambiance and the service. As a creative writer, I’ve tried and failed to leave off personal tidbits about what I am wearing, who was sitting next to me, how drunk I got after a few glasses, and all of that other fodder that I am prone to embellish my stories with.
A long(ish) time ago – I wrote a sample restaurant review for Ross’ Grill in the mostly quaint and extremely gay peninsula called Provincetown, Massachusetts on the northeast coast of the USA. Here is the snippet of my attempt to write a clean, non-rambling account of an experience I had, without getting overwrought with my “superfluous” and/or “convoluted” writing style (two adjectives used once by two different people that are indelibly burned on my brain).
Simple, elegant, non-pretentious and worth every penny (and then some),
Ross’ grill has it all. From the hard-to-choose-from wine list to the
exquisite view of the Provincetown harbor to the exceptional service,
Ross’ Grill scored highest on my list of favorable restaurants that I visited
in the quaint and alluring Cape Cod area. Oh, and then there’s the food.
Owner Ken Ross has outdone himself and the rest of many popular
restaurants along the harbor with a clean, classy, industrial feeling
that boasts some of the best views of the water.
One of the most interesting attractions of the space is the highlighted
open air kitchen that sits in the front of the restaurant like a stage, the chef
leading his troupes of cooks into battling (or in this case) feeding a very
hungry and anxious crowd.
Accented by overt but not bumptious service, I could have left the
restaurant happy without ever even having to eat due to the ambiance
and friendly staff; I think my server and I spoke four different languages
to each other by the end of the evening.
I started with the escargot appetizer with garlic, spinach and tomato.
Having forgotten that everything was prepared fresh and made to order,
I was a little perturbed by the long wait – approximately 25 minutes until
the dish arrived. A perfect little pastry puff filled with the most
delectable escargot mixture soaked in garlic, made me want to order
three more of them, but it was onto the second course.
Steak frites was the second titilizing dish. Perfectly marinated and
perfectly complimenting my Shiraz, it was a feat in the art of properly
grilling meat. For dessert I tried the very simple créme brulee. It had
the perfect creamy, but almost fluffy consistency without having that
overbearing vanilla taste I have become so accustomed to in American
style French bistros.
Three things make a great restaurant: ambiance, service, food. Not only
did these meet the mark in my book, but they surpassed it. Located on
Whaler’s Wharf on the bustling (but relaxed) main strip that is
Commercial Street, the young Ross’ Grill is a big hit already and will
surely make its mark in the future on the lovely seasonal town of Provincetown.