We'd like to make D Magazine food critic Nancy Nichols' official nickname "The Instigator," as she never shies away from a conflict, but in this case, she's merely responding to some fightin' words from former Dallas Observer food critic Hanna Raskin, who said yesterday that Dallas food couldn't be saved by good criticism. ("I moved here from Dallas, a city that's covered ruthlessly by established food critics ... the food there isn't any better for it.")
In her SideDish post, Nichols calls Raskin's post "embarrassingly amateur" and says right there in the headline that the now-Seattle-based critic is "off her rocker." Eater Dallas wondered what the other critics in town had to say, and while a couple demurred, critic-about-town Teresa Gubbins had this to say about that:
"A critic who comes to Dallas and lives here less than a year doesn't have much of a perspective about the dining scene. It takes time to understand a city's local culture, but that hasn't stopped Hanna from commenting as if she knows what she's talking about. Change is incremental; if she'd been here five years ago, she would've seen the birth of Bishop Arts, the growth of authentic Mexican, the embrace of "local" and explosion in farmers markets, and all the other exciting things happening in Dallas. I don't think you can attribute the success or failure of a dining scene to its critics but obviously any dialog is good. I'm sad she dissed our dining scene; I guess she didn't mean all the nice things she said about chefs like Tim Byres from Smoke. I didn't see her impact on our scene, since she always chose the most obvious restaurants to review. But we've had excellent critics in Dallas who've had an impact on the scene, from the late Waltrina Stovall at the Dallas Morning News - whose ferreting out the little underdog places preceded the entire contemporary food-blogging world - to Nancy Nichols at D who has done some fearless muckraking in the magazine and on her blog."What about you, readers? What do you see as the relationship between food critics and a food scene?
Bishop Arts has bloomed over the years. [Photo: Bishop Arts District/Facebook]