Defamation, Food, Free Speech, Media and Journalism, Nauseating Things

‘Waiter, There’s A Fly in My Soup’

soup bowl of soup Above the Law blog.jpg“And I’m going to mention it in my restaurant review — ’cause if you sue me, your chances of prevailing are low.”
That’s the gist of this interesting NYT article by Adam Liptak. Money quote:

These rulings, from about a dozen over the past three decades, were all in favor of the reviewer.

¶ “Trout à la green plague”? Ruling: “An ordinarily informed person would not infer that these entrees were actually carriers of communicable diseases.”

¶ “The fish on the Key West platter tasted like old ski boots”? Ruling: “Obviously, that was hyperbole used to indicate that the reviewer found the fish to be dry and tough.”

¶ Peking duck pancakes “the size of a saucer and the thickness of a finger”? Ruling: “An attempt to inject style into the review rather than an attempt to convey with technical precision literal facts about the restaurant.”

¶ “Bring a can of Raid if you plan to eat here”? Ruling: “The techniques of humor and ridicule were protected.”

Harsh, yes. But we’re not sure if any of them are as bad as what A.A. Gill had to say about Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Asian restaurant in Tribeca, 66:

Mr. Gill likened the shrimp and foie gras dumplings at 66 to ”fishy, liver-filled condoms” and called them ”properly vile, with a savor that lingered like a lovelorn drunk and tasted as if your mouth had been used as the swab bin in an animal hospital.”

Ouch. Seems like Mr. Gill was trying too hard. We dined at 66 once, and we found it perfectly pleasant — not as impressive as Mr. Vongerichten’s other culinary outposts, but certainly not worthy of such vitriol.
(And yes, we did try the dumplings. We enjoyed them — as did William Grimes of the Times, who listed them as a recommended dish.)
Serving You Tonight Will Be Our Lawyer [New York Times]

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