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Wednesday, Jun 5 1996
Poor Bradley Ogden cannot stop being controversial. Last fall Dish tweaked him for advertising himself a little too shamelessly -- hawking his cookbook Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner on the menu at the Lark Creek Inn, appending his name to the Caesar salad, and claiming sole possession of a "true commitment" to using only the best local produce in season.

Not long after that, Chronicle Food Editor Michael Bauer laid into the restaurant, giving it one of the most unfavorable reviews Dish has ever seen in the local press.

All this bad news irked Jill Weissich, a San Francisco lawyer who also writes restaurant reviews for San Francisco Attorney magazine. Bauer's review of Lark Creek Inn was "horrible and vindictive," she says, and, wanting to strike a blow for a restaurant where she'd had "good experiences," she took to the forum of the Marin Independent-Journal.

In a piece published on the paper's op-ed page May 13 titled "Lark Creek Inn verdict: 'not guilty,' " she attacked bad reviews -- "How easy it is to write a negative review. How hard to serve excellent food day after day" -- and defended the restaurant as "unfailingly excellent."

So far so good. But the paper also published a photo of Weissich (tucking happily into dessert), and according to Jack Juhasz, co-founder in 1967 of Jack Shelton's Private Guide to Restaurants (one of the first publications to offer actual criticism of restaurants rather than simple puffery), that's a no-no.

The rules for restaurant reviewing, he wrote on May 20 to the I-J (in a letter copied to Dish), include "do[ing] your utmost to remain incognito."

Weissich isn't concerned about being recognized. "Local restaurant people aren't reading San Francisco Attorney magazine," she argues. (Are local lawyers?) Then again, "maybe I'm naive. I'm just a lawyer."

Beat It
From the Carrying-Coals-to-Newcastle Department: For a paltry $20, you can now be led around on a tour of North Beach coffeehouses by an outfit called Javawalk, which promises "a little coffee, a little walking, and a lot of fun." Stops include Caffe Trieste, Caffe Greco, the Steps of Rome, and the North End Caffe, where the "New Beats" hang out. (Is this a selling point, or a dare?)

One of the joys of North Beach is that it repays aimless drifting, so Dish doesn't quite see the point of paying money to be marched about. On the other hand, city dwellers with tiresome houseguests (a common infestation in summer) might find some value in the service. Call Javawalk at 673-9255.

By Paul Reidinger

About The Author

Paul Reidinger


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