I can hear the noise already, a rising roar of complaint over my decision to spend a thousand-plus words on So Perfect Eats, a two-year-old eatery in Cherry Creek North that feels more like a grab-and-go lunch spot than a restaurant worthy of review. But before you rant -- whether online or under your breath while sipping coffee and flipping print -- about my choice to cover a place without servers, liquor license or proper (not paper) plates, please hear my defense, which consists of two words: Craig Claiborne.
As the food editor of the New York Times for nearly three decades, Claiborne etched the rules for the nascent industry of restaurant criticism -- namely, that critics should be anonymous, should dine at an establishment at least twice before forming an opinion, and should not accept freebies of any kind. These notions, though not literally set in stone, remained firmly in place for critics nationwide until food bloggers blasted them apart a decade ago, often passing judgment after one meal, openly accepting free food, and making no pretense of anonymity. Such behavior would surely have elicited a horrified gasp from the father of restaurant criticism. But my selection of So Perfect Eats? I have every reason to believe that Claiborne would have approved....
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