Portland Food and Drink was invited to a friends/family/press event to acquaint us with the new restaurant Quartet, which officially opens today.
I don’t go to press events, but know several people who were there, and from texts and emails I was getting, there were some serious issues.
However, because it was a pre-opening dinner, as in the restaurant wasn’t even open to the public yet, I didn’t write anything about the experiences of my friends – it just didn’t seem right.
This did not seem to be the case with Chris Onstad over at the Portland Mercury, who published a screed this morning, lambasting everything from the decor to the service, the food, and everyone else who attended the dinner – because they didn’t tell the management how bad their experience had been. This wasn’t just a negative piece, it was an all out attack.
The following is not a review, but a recap of a single experience at a restaurant that does not open until tomorrow. It is generally my policy to review restaurants that have been open at least two months, but due to the circumstances I explain below, I feel like something should be said, if only so that at least one person is honest with the management. What follows won’t surprise a lot of you.
Over the years, I have sent quite a few people to preview dinners, with only a few instructions. 1) what’s the decor like, what’s on the menu, what are the prices like, and an overall impression. It’s a test dinner – I don’t expect the service or food to be all that great – heck, we’ve been to dinners where they were still finishing construction. It’s just to give me some background that I can use in news reports and whatnot. In my opinion, to write an article which, whether you want to admit it or not IS a review, is below the belt and unprofessional.
What do you think? Is it fair to report on a dinner you got free, from a restaurant that hasn’t even opened yet? Should restaurant owners expect attendees to write full-page stories about how bad the experience was? Am I off base? I’d like to know your opinion in the comments below. [The reason I say below, is because comments on Facebook/Twitter don't get read by many people]
If you must, you can read Onstad’s not a review here.