Another day, another Leslie Brenner-related controversy: Recently opened Proof & Pantry at One Arts Plaza is offering the critic a firm "no thank you" when it comes to being formally reviewed. As Nancy Nichols reported this afternoon on SideDish, owners Michael Martensen and Sal Jafar II apparently got into a heated discussion with Brenner and her fellow diners last night after they refused to run the table's credit card for a $450 meal. Brenner's party left cash instead, which Martensen and Jafar — get this — personally returned to the Dallas Morning News office the next morning.
"Then things got ugly," says Nichols. "According to Martensen, they were told it didn’t matter what they wanted, the paper was going to review them regardless." She quotes Martensen as saying, "I told them that Leslie is not anonymous. Everyone in town knows the second she walks in. They all have her picture."
Nichols also claims that earlier this week, another unnamed restaurateur told her "he refused to let Dallas Morning News photographers into his restaurant ... and has asked not to be reviewed or photographed by the newspaper." Brenner is already famously banned from both Knife and Spoon following an epic Twitter rant from John Tesar. Could the hottest new dining trend in Dallas be banning the city's major critic from your restaurant?
UPDATE: Leslie Brenner reached out to clarify the fact that the paper did in fact pay for the meal in the end; she says "Martensen and Jafar left the [Dallas Morning News office] with the $500 in their pocket." She also says that Nancy Nichols' post on SideDish "was full of inaccuracies and mischaracterizations." For more on the situation from Brenner, do scope out the comments section of the original SideDish post, which contains not only a rebuttal from the critic herself but also a lengthy treatise from her husband — not to mention thoughts on the matter from a whole host of Dallas media types including the Observer's Jim Schutze and D's Tim Rogers and Eric Celeste. Additionally, based on a comment posted Sunday by Michael Martensen, it appears that Proof & Pantry has donated $500 to the Dallas Morning News Charities Fund — in the name of Leslie Brenner and the paper's editorial page editor Keven Ann Willey, who was also present at the dinner.
Will Brenner's review of Proof & Pantry ever see the light of day? Stay tuned.