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This editorial was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on October 12, 1998. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

Apparently one man's pleasure is another's poison. Take the new Phil Ochs tribute CD previewed in this week's Preview (page 52). One of our baby-boomer editors, an Ochs fan, took the CD home and returned with a savage review: "It's a crime." Yet others around here liked it just fine.

And so it goes with dining, as well. Here at U.S. 1 we don't choose to feature restaurant reviews, although in this week's special dining section beginning on page 18 you will find the latest commentary from food enthusiasts Elaine Strauss and Richard Pawlak. But there's no Ruth Reichl here, that infamous New York Times' food critic who can muddy the windows of any former four-star eating establishment or conversely ruin your favorite dining venue by lavishing praise on it in her high-circulation pages.

U.S. 1's aim is to help readers know what types of food are served; is it noisy or quiet; special occasion or budget. Shall we bring the kids or hire a babysitter? And can I use my credit card?

We leave the serious critiques to our readers, who scatter them liberally across our on-line dining guide, accessible from the U.S. 1 website at www.princetoninfo.com. Our interactive Dining Guide can help you find a place to eat and make a reservation. It also invites you to weigh in with comments, posted for all the world to see.

On our dining website you'll find this type of fresh review still sizzling with emotion: "Just had lunch there. Non-existent service. And, contrary to the U.S. 1 blurb, the portions are small. Decor is getting shabby too. Quite frankly, the place is overrated."

And there are plenty of "buyer beware" comments from diners who feel they got burned: "Unbelievably expensive. It did make for a very romantic date restaurant, and the porch is most appealing, but I spent well over 100 bucks for food I didn't like. But if you want to impress a lady (and not yourself), go for it."

"One of the most overpriced restaurants in this part of the state! $29.95 for a steak??? Get a life," writes another.

Lambertville venues provoke a plethora of opinions. Both Church Street Bistro and David's Yellow Brick Toad have pitched battles of opinion currently in place.

Sometimes a reader's rave may cause you to cancel your dining plans, as this one did for us. After praising both food and service, an enthusiastic reader added: "Plenty of smoking for a delightful change from current American anti-this and anti-that culture. And, French spoken beautifully, of course."

Pizza is another area of strong feelings. One anonymous reader regularly hurls barbs at a popular pizza place. "Hey, why do you take a homeless man's shoes and use them as crusts? That's mean, and they will have no shoes for a long time," is a recent entry.

Such independent readers certainly aren't bound by the prevailing wisdom. One individual's critique of a highly rated restaurant was built on the treatment they received when trying to make a reservation: "Pretensions are one thing, but pretensions aren't atmosphere. The best restaurants make you feel incredibly important, not themselves. This place seems to be way more frog than prince."

For the stories on the restaurants (Timothy's, Harriette's, Zanzibar, Chevy's, and TJ's Trattoria) go to http://www.princetoninfo.com/1998/81021p01.html.

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This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com -- the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

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