Secret Document that Restaurants use to Keep Tabs on Dan Silverman Revealed

Photo by PoPville flickr user streetamatic

Earlier this week the Washingon CityPaper’s Jessica Sidman revealed This Secret Document Helps D.C. Restaurants Keep Tabs on Food Writers. It revealed a number of names including her own:

Jessica Sidman:

Jessica Sidman rarely reviews restaurants, but is eagle eyed when it comes to finding information about restaurants and writing about trends in the industry. The ultimate beat reporter, she is engaging and funny but can be unforgiving if not impressed. A seasoned journalist, her current post at the City Paper brings out the snark more often than any other outlet. Her writing leans more towards food culture than about the food itself.

Position: Food Editor at Washington City Paper

Writing Level: Expert

Food & Beverage Knowledge: Intermediate

Likes: Innovative menus, asking tough questions, insight into the “why” of a dish or concept

Dislikes: Novelty for the sake of novelty, overpriced dishes, obvious or condescending menu descriptions

Seat With: Most enthusiastic/knowledgable server

I’ve been a little shy about my own discovery but I figure I better take this opportunity to share it as well. I had the following translated by renowned linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt.

Dan Silverman:

Dan Silverman rarely eats in restaurants, but his knowledge of who resided in the space before the current tenant is unmatched. While he lacks an extensive vocabulary, he has the eyesight of a young Ted Williams and can occasionally spot a typo faster than Arvind Mahankali. It is well known that Silverman sports one of the finest haberdashery collections on the east coast so do not ask him to remove his hat. Having said that he drinks with the passion of a John Riggins and will occasionally misplace his hat. Have a hat spotter at all times. Though Silverman boasts the maturity of a young Tom Sherwood – please don’t use any double entendres when explaining menu items. It is very likely Silverman will have forgotten the name of the restaurant he is visiting so be sure to send him a press release that he can cut and paste.

Position: Prince of Petworth

Writing Level: Not too bad for one with a public education

Food & Beverage Knowledge: Advanced beginner with the exception of Iced Teas

Likes: Iced Tea, onions, small words, brown and clear liquors, obvious menu descriptions and beer.

Dislikes: capers

Seat With: Most patient server

37 Comment

  • I know “certain” restaurants (okay, I work there) that had tons of pictures of Tom Seitsuma posted everywhere so everyone would know if he came in. Because his image isn’t well known (I’m speculating), it was a very creepy pic.

  • justinbc

    So, Dan, where would one go to find good iced tea in DC? And would it be considered Southern style or some other variety?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      The deli where Room 11 is now had some some very tasty sweet tea – def. of the southern variety. Haven’t found as good as that since.

      • The wife is a fan of sweet tea at Bojangles. I can’t stand the stuff, yuck!

        • justinbc

          Haha, I worked at a Bojangles (in Charlotte) when I was 16, and there were definitely hardcore fanatics. People would come to the drive-thru and order just that. Personally, I’m not a tea drinker, but my girlfriend loves the stuff, especially when we go visit my parents and have the real Southern kind.

          • Being a native Eastern North Carolinian, I have to say that the Bojangles Tea here in DC is sub par. Both at the Branch Ave. and Union Station locations. I think it is the water.

          • justinbc

            It’s definitely different here, but so is the chicken.

          • Hah! I was wondering if it was just me. I also grew up in eastern NC (and enjoyed a lot of Bojangles) and am also definitely one of those people who, when driving back home), will stop at a Bojangles just to order sweet tea. However, when I had the sweet tea and chicken at the Union Station Bojangles last fall I felt both of them were somewhat lacking in the flavor I usually expect.

          • Not to side-bar this conversation, but wolfpackwx, boozehound and justinbc just hit on something that is very near and dear to my heart: Bojangles. And yes, both the sweet tea and chicken (and biscuits, and fries) at the Branch Ave and Union Station locations taste a bit….off. What gives? I always thought it was a combination of the grease (messing up the chicken) and water (messing up the sweat tea) but have yet to find definitive proof. I’ll take your 3 comments as further proof of my assumption.

          • justinbc

            My cynical guess is that it’s just general apathy. People here do not care about fried chicken the way they do back home (it also helps that Bojangles was founded in NC). I went to the one at Union Station on opening day, when the mayor and other celebs were there, and they did a great replication, but ever since then whenever I have cravings and stop in it continually disappoints. Sadly, it’s still better than almost anything else in the category in DC. A cajun filet biscuit with cheese is still my #1 go-to hangover cure.

          • Oh man and in Greenville, NC we had the Cheddar Bo. Biscuit (google it if you have never had it) and it was amazing. Did not have it in Raleigh at the Bojangles near State, so I had to make special trips when I would visit home! I too make certain that I have at least one meal at a legit NC Bojangles when I go home now – which in fact I will be doing next week…yumm, I can taste the fat and cholesterol now!

          • justinbc

            Yeah but in Raleigh you’re at least close to Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen, I miss them more than anything else from Chapel Hill.

      • “The deli where Room 11 is now”

        Well played, sir.

      • I’ve had some very good iced tea at 2 Amys, of all places. Their Arnold Palmer is one of the best I’ve ever had.

        • justinbc

          Speaking of Arnold Palmer’s, the one at Restaurant Eve is simply unreal. It’s unlike any other drink I’ve ever had, thanks to making pretty much all of it from scratch. Their lunch special at the bar is probably the best value meal in all of the DC area, add in one of those drinks and you’ll be thoroughly pleased.

          • msmaryedith

            Even the plain old lemonade at Eve is freaking incredible, so I bet you’re right about the Arnold Palmer. Shh, don’t tell anyone else about the lunch.

      • As a true southerner, we just call it ‘tea’, because in the south there is no other kind. And I like the tea at the Carlyle Grand Cafe in Shirlington. Yeah, you have to go to Shirlington, and that sucks, but the tea is excellent!

      • Dan, is the hat-spotter position still open?

      • Have you tried the tea from Running Byrd? I really, really like Ben’s tea. Worth checking out.

  • Dan – I don’t know if you’re just finding more humor in life these days or if parental sleep deprivation has fully set in, but I love the writing lately! Between these self-deprecating posts and the weekly lists, PoP/PoPville has never been more fun to read. Keep up the great work!

    • I was thinking the same thing. As if the wizard has stepped out from behind the curtain.

      • +1 These have been some of my favorite posts.

        • Concur! There was a comment a couple weeks ago, on one of the People on Horseback entries, about residents of Mt. Pleasant/Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights meeting to convert meters in to yards that had me laughing all afternoon. The humor is much appreciated!

    • I agree! Even though you’re thoroughly incapable of accepting any kind of criticism from your readers, the self-deprecation is spot on!

  • The Harris Teeter brand iced tea– the ones that come in the milk jugs– is about the only sweet tea around here that satisfies this Southern boy. Even southern-themed restaurants in the DC area seem to not make it. Art and Soul gave me some simple syrup… what??? Other places bring out expensive bottled stuff. How hard is it to throw some sugar in at least ONE pitcher? And please, no ice in the pitcher!

    • justinbc

      “Southern” restaurants around here barely remind me of the South in almost every regard.

      • Agreed. Oohs and Aaahs gets the food right but costs about two three times as much as you’d pay for the same thing in the South.

      • Totally!!!! The worst is when you order a sweet tea and you take that first sip and it turns out to be a flavored tea. GROSS!

  • gotryit

    That is one of the funniest things I’ve read here in a while. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ha, nice Dan! I’ve been enjoying the new writing too.

  • orderedchaos

    Kudos, Dan, on overcoming that regrettable “public education” albatross. 😉

  • Until they have an authentic meat-and-three (which also means inexpensive), there are no true southern restaurants around here, in my humble Nashvillian opinion.

  • skj84

    I’m finding so much humor in this “surprise” revelation that restaurants keep dossiers of food critics. The places I work at all have had folders we keep in the host stand, though not the one that has been circulating. Definitely have seen that picture of Seitsema. And I’m proud to say I’ve spotted him several times and been able to alert management.

  • Reminds me of someone I know that part times as a restaurant reviewer for a newspaper who admitted to me that 8 out of 10 restaurants she reviews she never steps foot in. She said she reads other reviews online and then takes bits and pieces from them and writes her own review. Yep.

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