Friday, October 29, 2010

Dirty restaurants get a pass

tourism map dining restaurant symbolImage via Wikipedia

It looks like The Record of Woodland Park has pulled the restaurant health inspections list from the Friday Better Living tab --which is filled with restaurant reviews, news and ads -- after many years of burying it in the Local section.

The list is missing today, and a reader of Eye on The Record says he believes there were no ratings last week, either. The last inspections listed on are for Sept. 25. Readers who like to try new restaurants will just have to hope for the best.

For many years, the health inspections appeared in the back of Sunday's Local news section, along with the Dean's List and other unrelated material. Compiled by a news clerk from faxes sent in by health departments, the list often was filled with typos and misspellings when it arrived at the news copy desk. 

One week (it might have been last year),  Roberto Clemente, the dead baseball player, was listed in the paper as "conditional." (It was the Paterson school of the same name that was conditional.)

Although there are 90 or so towns in The Record's circulation area, there were never more than 15 or 20 towns listed, and some towns, including Wyckoff, refused to release the ratings.

If The Record has dropped the list without informing readers, it will ensure that only positive news about restaurants appears in the paper, save for occasional gripes in reviews. That's in keeping with the reduction in food coverage and should boost ad sales considerably, in addition to making the greedy Borgs even happier.

Defendant as victim 

Page 1 has two moronic stories today. 

The major element on A-1 transforms Ridgefield Mayor Anthony R. Suarez into a victim -- just one day after he was acquitted on bribery conspiracy charges by a federal jury, which ignored persuasive evidence of his guilt. An editorial on A-22 says trust in the mayor was compromised by his indictment, but The Record stops short of asking him to resign now, as it did after he was indicted.

The off-lead story on A-1 is ridiculous. Staff Writer Karen Rouse says commuters "should brace for tight squeezes on buses, standing-room only on trains and crowds" at Penn Station in 2018 -- the year new rail tunnels under the Hudson River were scheduled to open before Governor Christie aborted them. Then, she quotes an expert saying if job growth remains slow, the new tunnels probably won't be needed anyway.

But Rouse and her clueless editors, including Francis Scandale, Deirdre Stykes and Dan Sforza, must be the only so-called journalists in the metro area who don't know the buses and trains are at capacity now during rush hour -- why the tunnels were being built and why the Spanish bus system grew so rapidly.

Big photo, no news

Head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes couldn't find any legitimate news for the front of Local, so she ran an artistic shot of golfers by Staff Photographer Tariq Zehawi, whose talents have been wasted on every traffic accident he comes across. 

There was no Hackensack or Englewood news, and Teaneck reporter Joseph Ax lists streets that will be closed Saturday for the funeral of a police officer, without offering any details on the cause of the violent, high-speed crash of his patrol car into a telephone poll that killed him early Monday.

'Wild night out'

The redesign of the restaurant-review centerfold in Better Living -- more photographs, much bigger headlines and less room for text -- and the limited number of dishes sampled, to save the paper money, are proving to be a disservice to readers.

The three-star review of Picnic -- The Restaurant in Fair Lawn notes the fine-dining venue  wouldn't be appropriate for a "wild night out." I wonder what eating places would be appropriate for that kind of behavior. Maybe the Quiznos sub shop it replaced.

The reviewer, Bob Probert of (201) magazine, doesn't provide a lot of information. Noting the Manhattan-like entree prices, he explains, "This is artisanal work ... using high-quality ingredients," but never tells you whether the lamb is raised naturally or the shrimp wild-caught.

If you're watching your cholesterol, there is no information on butter and heavy cream in the "French sauces" and whether the preparation of dishes can be adjusted if you want to avoid those artery-clogging ingredients.

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