Route 9 Revisited

Categories: The Critic
thecritic-1.jpg

​I didn't want to have to respond to the Route 9 brouhaha, but so many untruths are out there that I really have no choice. I made four factual errors in one review -- it's pretty hard to imagine making more, and something like that obviously should never happen. I sincerely apologize to readers for my shoddy work.

Had any of my errors had any effect on what I was saying about the restaurant in the review, and therefore had hurt the restaurant in any way, it would be a really bad offense that I'd feel terrible about; I would be profusely apologizing to the restaurant owners. For instance, if I followed getting the date of their CIA graduation wrong with a remark that they were too old to be effective; or if I wrote that after high school they prepped in Miami, and followed that by saying the choice of Miami rather than a place like San Francisco had limited their growth; or if I wrote that the taco suffered because of the ingredients. But I did not. If I had misled readers into thinking the place was better than it was because of those errors I would also feel terrible and would profusely apologize to the readers for that as well. But I did not.

So yes, I had the worst workweek out of my last 600 or so of reviewing at New Times, and it is the nature of my job that when I louse up in royal fashion, everyone gets to know about it. But four factual errors (of which one menu item was involved) is the sum total of my transgressions. I'll repeat: That's very bad. Everything else, though, is just Charlie Sheen-like fun and entertainment. And really, I'm OK with that, which is why I didn't initially respond. But people are taking the silly stuff a wee bit too seriously, so let me set at least a few things straight:

- Nothing in the review was fabricated. I was present on both visits. Mr. Goldberg told my editor that Klime had dined with a woman and two Latin people. First time I've ever been mistaken for two people, Latin or otherwise, but the point is, we have my credit card receipts with dates and times to prove it. I might as well also use this opportunity to state unequivocally that I have attended every meal at every restaurant that I have ever reviewed.

- There was no conflict of interest: I've known Klime a long time. He had just returned to town to take on his own new place, so I took him with me to eat. He paid for his own food. Trio is not on any level in competition with Route 9 -- not in terms of genre, size, mission, or locale (it is in a different city). I would not have done so if it were.

- Klime contributed nothing to the review, nor does anybody I take out to dine with me. As I've already stated, Mr. Goldberg's claim that Klime admitted to doing so is a fabrication (I mean, even if Klime really had contributed, why on Earth would he admit that to Jeremy?). Anyone who has read my stuff should know I have strong enough opinions of my own that I don't need anyone to help me. It might surprise people to know that I rarely discuss my meals in depth with those I take on review -- obviously there are some comments passed between us about the food as with any dinner, but I don't integrate the review into my table discussions nor am I unduly influenced on what those who dine with me may say. If over the years I have used a guest's specific impressions, I have indicated so (I'm thinking Vinnie at Prime Italian). Klime happened to like the place and said it reminded him of when he and Huguette first opened Crystal Café together on a shoestring budget and a lot of very hard work. That's why Klime gave Jeremy his business card -- as a gesture of collegiality between two local chefs.

I might also note that during the years that Klime owned Crystal Café and I was writing reviews, I never reviewed the restaurant or wrote about Klime or the restaurant in any other format. And when Frank Randazzo and I had a little tit-for-tat after a blog post, I made sure somebody else reviewed the Water Club. I've always been careful in avoiding conflicts of interest.

- The "pie" error was committed during the editorial process. My original sentence read: "Banana cream pie is one of a few desserts offered verbally each night. The word pie should be written in quotation marks..." -- by which I meant my use of the word pie at the beginning of the sentence. Lord knows I made enough mistakes without having another added to my tab. This point is relevant, because had I not known that the menu was recited verbally and claimed a written dessert menu that in reality didn't exist was somehow lacking, it would lend credence to the idea of my not being there. If any investigative journalist wants to check the NT editorial records of my original draft, you certainly have my permission to do so.

- I understand Jeremy Goldberg being unhappy with the review. Now, had he been the chef at Route 9, I'd consider him sort of an egotistical jerk for overreacting. But his wife is the chef, and he is defending her, which I think is noble. I would do the same for my wife. Except I like to think that I would do so in a more honest and responsible manner. I would not have claimed the reviewer wasn't there at the restaurant, or made up a phony quote from Klime to make it seem as though he contributed, or have gone to Klime's place of employment and used inappropriate language to the hostess there. There are other things Mr. Goldberg said -- the table was "difficult," he spent time talking to us, etc. -- that aren't true, but, as I say, I get that he's trying to hurt the messenger.

And I also get that in today's world, anyone can say anything untrue about anyone, and within an hour some national blog will trumpet the possibility of it being true, thus lending credibility to it, and then all sorts of bloggers and commenters will discuss it as though it really were true. But I do I agree it's fair game for local food bloggers to post and posit on Jeremy's claims -- it's their (and my) job to cover stories just like this.

I bear no grudge toward Jeremy at all, and sincerely wish he and Paola success with Route 9. I always root for folks like this to make good -- even more so this time because I am also a CIA grad -- but I try not to let my rooting affect objectivity when writing reviews.

Finally, I am well aware that none of this could have happened without my having opened the door with my sloppy writing. And one last time: I apologize to readers for being lax in that respect.

Follow Short Order on Facebook and Twitter @Short_Order.

Location Info

Route 9

1915 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL

Category: Restaurant


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
24 comments
Hockeyfanatick
Hockeyfanatick

That wasn't an apology. Say what you want. I'll find it difficult to believe anything you ever write again. You've made a major mistake and are laughing it off like the fool we now know you are. Shame on you, your editor for allowing your so called apology to be printed and NT for shoddy reporting. Peoples livelyhoods are on the line and you make light of your error as though it has no consequence. You are some piece of work.I'm certain your wife is very proud of you.

Dwayne Champan
Dwayne Champan

Congrats to Lee.

Bottom line, this place still sucks.

Yak
Yak

It appears that the reviewer and editor manned up to the mistake. The factual errors did not corrupt the "meat and potatoes" of the review so lighten up and move on guys.

Frodnesor
Frodnesor

I've been trying to leave this alone, as enough has already been said, but this sure leaves at least one question still unanswered: if Lee Klein has so studiously avoided writing about Kovaceski's restaurants due to a conflict of interest, why has he written two pieces in the past several weeks about Kovaceski's new restaurant, Trio, which just opened this weekend (the last of which promised still more to follow)?

SteveBM
SteveBM

Well said, Lee. Since I've yet to visit Route 9, I thought I'd check out the photos here on the New Times site. I thought the line below each photo was pretty funny in light of all the brouhaha over the past few days...

"A husband-and-wife team are behind Route 9 in Coral Gables. Chef-owners Paola and Jeremy Goldberg impress critic Lee Klein without falling into trendy trappings."

Alex
Alex

"Had any of my errors had any effect on what I was saying about the restaurant in the review, and therefore had hurt the restaurant in any way, it would be a really bad offense that I'd feel terrible about"

You should be. You said their menu could have been written in 1991, the year you erroneously said they graduated from CIA, the implication being that the menu choices are old and stale.

And I don't think you can make a bulletproof case that Trio and Route 9 don't compete. In this city, diners go anywhere from Coral Gables to the Design District to the 163rd Causeway if a restaurant is well reviewed and has buzz.

The only good option New Times had here was to pull the original review completely and review the restaurant again using somebody other than Klein, preferably a freelancer. It's a small price to pay for the credibility of the paper.

Sorry, apology falls short.

MoveOn
MoveOn

lol @ all of this, it's food at a so-so restaurant, no a freaking wikileak.

Gables Native
Gables Native

What a shame that this is being done to a new business in town.

Jbingha
Jbingha

You guys at the New Times aren't too bright are you? This is a pretty clear cut case of writing without credibility and everytimethey respond with some smart and quippy response they just prove how unethical they are as journalists. Having working in fine dining within this region for ten years i assure you that I have met and taken care of this particular writer, and even though he gave me good reviews on every occasion I found him to be an uneducated pompous ass. He definitley has neither the talent, knowledge or experience in order to execute his duties in an unbiase and professional manner. Singulary the food writer with a napolean complex wrapped up in a confused megalomaniac. I hope teNew times does the right thing and fires him. If they had any dignity they would for sure

Fit for a Queen
Fit for a Queen

I think it's hilarious that nobody points out how much of an ass Jeremy Goldberg made of himself with his antics. Going up to Trio on the Bay and making a scene. How much of an ass Rout 9 has made of itself with its comments on twitter.

Yeah, Lee made some mistakes but its his opinion on the experience of the restaurant. Not everyone else's. Other's share some of the same thoughts as Lee.

Apears like Goldberg used to run to Daddy when he didn't like the NO he got from Mommy and vice versa.

Let it go!

The_lee_klein
The_lee_klein

"Except I like to think that I would do so in a more honest and responsible manner." Are you forgetting that this whole blog that you just wrote is because of lack of honesty and responsibility?

D_Fraser
D_Fraser

The more you guys at New Times respond, the less I believe you.

Credibility is going down the drain. I agree with lhartman...apologize without trying to blame the restaurant. You are the ones who screwed up here

Concerneddiner
Concerneddiner

"For instance, if I followed getting the date of their CIA graduation wrong with a remark that they were too old to be effective"....

you did say that the menu could have been written when the graduated school in '91...

major screw up by new times

Ihartman
Ihartman

Why don't you guys at NT just do the right thing and apologize without trying to blame the restaurant. Both this and the editor's note a couple days ago are almost as bad as the original article.

By the way, I was at Route 9 for the first time this weekend and had one of the better meals in a while (we eat out 4 times a week at Michael's, Michy's, Fratelli, etc.) The place was completely packed and everyone had smiles on their faces.

M5
M5

Goldberg, you are one entitled smug piece of shit! ...GIVE UP!...Your 5 minutes of self created fame are over, OVER!

Thechowfather
Thechowfather

so he should just curl up in the fetal position you schmuck. Not about a bad review. He questioned the shoddy journalism. I'm a Lee fan, always enjoyed his reviews. Sounds like he was there 1x with Klime. Not fair to a new business trying to establish itself in the community He has a staff that depends on customers to fee their families. get a clue queenie

Lee Klein
Lee Klein

Yo, don't be posting under my fake twitter feed, bitch! I'm with Lee!

Guest
Guest

I'm sorry but Route 9 is not up there with Michael's and Michy's...

Youwishyouhadanm5
Youwishyouhadanm5

M5...you must have a very successful life and career...pfffff

Lee
Lee

What makes you think I was there only once? I always go more than once -- and the other visits weren't with Klime. Lot's of assumptions being made here.

djkmia
djkmia

Chow, we all know that that everyone invloved here has made mistakes here including the people who keep commenting.

We can only hope that the New Times writers (not just Lee) and editors as well as the restaurant all benefit and are better off in the short and long run.

PS - Calhoun and Calipari are still dirty. They keep getting caught.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...