As the Vancouver editor, I’m deeply involved in sorting through the immense amount of data that goes into compiling the reviews and, hence, the final scores. What might not be apparent to the casual observer is that no review gets past the barrage of data wonks, editors and fact checkers unless it accurately reflects the Food / Decor / Service rating shown. Also, the system in place (in Vancouver’s case for some 15 years or more) allows for a pretty precise picture over time of who’s dependable—or on the other hand, who’s not.
Vancouver is notorious for the ‘flavour of the month’ syndrome—the tendency by critics of every kind to focus solely on what’s new—often at the expense of long established, and often far more noteworthy subjects.
In that vein, I’m re-running here a comment I made in last week’s Courier column:
“The online world is a wonderful place that affords equal opportunity to the wise and otherwise. Case in point: last week’s announcement of the latest Vancouver Zagat Survey results (full disclosure: I’m the local editor).
The big news? Scott and Stephanie Jaeger’s Pear Tree restaurant on the Burnaby side of East Hastings attained a near perfect food score (29/30), which propelled them to the top of the culinary charts. Hot on their heels came Le Crocodile, Vij’s, Kingyo and Bishop’s.
Watching the subsequent Twitter feed, one comment caught our attention: “Le Crocodile and Bishop’s are still a thing?”
I was tempted to engage but didn’t. As creatures of habit, we all like to think that everyone shares our excellent tastes, so it’s easy to be subjective in these matters. But that fleeting snort had me wondering if the tweep in question had even bothered to cross the threshold at either one of what are among a handful of enduring, flagship Vancouver rooms that consistently merit not only local but international acclaim-and thrive rather than merely survive for a reason. It’s to the Pear Tree’s credit that it was vaulted over the perennial frontrunners-not to mention Vij’s and Kingyo, who also scored highly.
Having experienced both in the last year, we can guarantee that John Bishop’s local and organic kitchen continues to be at the fore of the sustainable food movement that he instigated. And Michel Jacob’s unswerving demand for detail-driven plates and service maintains Le Crocodile’s reign as the city’s leading French room.
If they didn’t rate, something would be truly awry.”