The John Tesar vs. Leslie Brenner saga rages on: Following a blog post yesterday by Esquire food writer Josh Ozersky that proclaimed Tesar's infamous tirade against the Dallas Morning News critic was ushering in a new era in which "the critics [have] finally lost their mojo," Brenner, who until now has remained remarkably quiet on the situation, has fired back with a lengthy treatise.
Brenner begins by offering up quotes from a note she says Tesar sent her last year following the critic's four-star review of his seafood restaurant, Spoon; in it, he thanks her for her "honest" comments, calling them "a gift and motivation to be who I really want to be not just what Dallas will let me get away with." (It's certainly a far cry from his response to the recent three-star review of his steakhouse Knife, which inspired the chef's now-famous "fuck you" tweet.) Brenner goes on to say that Tesar has been sending her "a barrage of personal, obscenity-filled hate mail" that she deems "a defamatory smear campaign." More than that, though, the critic takes issue with the proposed notion that the role of restaurant critics in general is becoming diminished, asking, "If we're irrelevant, why can't they stop talking about this?" POST UPDATE: Tesar disputes Brenner's claims that he has been sending her "hate mail," saying that he has "never contacted [Brenner] through any form except social media." He also says that he is not behind the Twitter account @NotBrenner, a self-proclaimed "parody" account that is using an alleged photo of Brenner as its profile photo.